SCRANTON, Pa. -- There was a lot of pointing, poking and splashing going on as folks ventured through the Electric City Aquarium and Reptile Den in Scranton.
"This is very exciting and it's a beautiful aquarium," said Calli Patitsas of Drums.
Aquarium staff says the new attraction at the Marketplace at Steamtown is almost complete and now open to the public.
This soft opening allows for employees to get their feet wet.
After one day, they are thrilled to see such excitement from visitors, hoping it will inspire a passion for marine life.
"A young child that could be a future marine biologist, a future conservationist, somebody that gets a good experience growing up with these animals they normally don't see. So that's a huge reward for us," said Gary Walker, director at the aquarium.
People visiting the aquarium tell Newswatch 16 they're especially excited for the opportunities to get a hands-on experience with the wildlife.
"Like the snakes, the alligator and you get to touch the alligator," said Angela Shreve of Scranton.
Shreve says the aquarium provides a unique opportunity for children with special needs like her daughter Everlee.
"It was a really good learning experience in texture especially for children with autism. They should definitely come here," said Shreve.
The variety of animals and experiences added to the awe of the aquarium's first audience.
Calli Patitsas says she's excited to have another option when looking for indoor activities to do with her boys this winter.
"It was fun. The kids got to pet little crocodiles and lizards. So it's great again to have classes like this so this is like a ballpark this aquarium, so we'll be here a lot," said Patitas.
There is a fee to get into the Electric City Aquarium and Reptile Den. The fee varies based on whether you're a student or even a veteran.
The aquarium will be open during regular Marketplace hours.