On February 2, officials from the Aquarium of the Pacific will join with Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia to celebrate the groundreaking of the Pacific Visions expansion - the first major addition to the South Bay institution.

The project will increase the Aquarium's footprint by approximately 29,000 square feet, adding on a two-story building clad within a undlating glass fa├žade.  Inside, the new building will contain a 300-seat theater, featuring a 180-degree screen and a flexibile layout designed to host screenings, lectures and other performances.  Plans also call for a changing exhibits gallery, highlighted by an interactive wall.

San Francisco based architecture firm EHDD is designing the Pacific Visions wing, which is described as the Aquarium's largest addition since opening in 1998.

The $53-million project is expected to open in 2018.