OKALOOSA ISLAND, Fla. (WKRG) — Construction is underway for the new Dolphin Oasis exhibit at Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park on Okaloosa Island.

Gulfarium staff held a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday with board members and the design team for the new park layout.

Dolphin Oasis will be built closer to highway 98. The biggest change for the animals is bringing the dolphins together at one side of the park where they can roam from pod to pod.

Gulfarium staff says they are bringing in a cutting-edge filtration system to make the exhibit more natural and lower their carbon footprint.

“The defender filters are actually being used on human swimming pools where people are swimming, and it is new to the zoological field as far as the defender filters and it will enable us to cut down on the oxidants in the water and be a 50% reduction in energy as well for the facility.”

Patrick Berry, COO Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park

The new filtration system will also allow for live fish in the bottlenose tanks to enhance the experience for animals and visitors. Gulfarium staff says the wide exhibit will create a better birthing tank opportunity for marine mammals.

Dolphin Oasis is scheduled to open in the spring of 2023. In the meantime, the current dolphin shows and encounters are staying the same.

MORE ABOUT THE EXPANSION PROJECT:

The Gulfarium is set to expand the complex in the northwest portion of the property bringing the full facility to more than 31,000 square feet.