Rochester, MN (KROC AM News) -  One of Rochester’s crown jewels was a busy place Saturday as hundreds turned out to check its newest look.

The Quarry Hill Nature Center held a grand re-opening of its Exploration Hall, which was closed for several weeks as it underwent a major overhaul and upgrade. In fact, it was the most comprehensive renovation in the Nature Center’s 45-year history.

It came about after 5 years of planning and a fundraising campaign that had a goal of $2.6-million. As of Friday, the goal was short by just $70,000.

According to Nature Center PR and Outreach Coordinator Lori Forstie, the Exploration Hall is ”appropriate for all ages and provides tools for visitors to explore and inform while also providing tools for the staff to interact with students and extend classroom learning to a new level as students put STEM skills into action.”

Perhaps the most eye-catching addition is an 1800 gallon aquarium that cost nearly $100,000 and gives visitors “a fish’s eye view of their watery home. On weekends, visitors can feed minnows to the fish (10 for a buck).

Another new feature is the Oak Savanna and Prairie Ecosystem. Also on exhibit are live animals that include snakes and turtles.

Read more here.

Another busy day is expected Sunday, which is Earth Day.

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