Behind the scenes at SeaQuest before it opens in October

SeaQuest officials say families will be immersed with 1,500 different animals

By Magdala Louissaint - Lynchburg Bureau Reporter

LYNCHBURG, Va. - Michelle Crheo, of Amherst, and her daughter Carter can't wait for SeaQuest to open. 

"You can read about these things in books, but until you actually get dimensions to be able to feel it, it's a whole different world," Crheo said.

SeaQuest pushed its opening date to October. CEO Vince Covino flew in from Idaho to give us a tour. 

"Very, very few people on this planet will be able to hand-feed a sloth. People that come to Lynchburg will," Covino said.

Because of the construction, the animals are not here yet.

But once they do arrive, SeaQuest officials say families will be immersed with 1,500 different animals from five different continents.

"So now we've entered into the Egyptian desert," Covino said. "So they'll be able to come right here and into this exhibit and hand-feed a giant sulcata tortoise that's 20, 40, 50 years old."

SeaQuest's announcement has come with criticism and questions about the animals' care.

Covino tells 10 news there will be a local veterinarian who will supervise the on-site team and do monthly checks with the animals.

Covino encourages those who oppose the project to check it out.

"I hope they'll come. I hope they'll come and see and I'll tell you why. When someone comes here, they're going to see that these animals are happy, that they're healthy," Covino said.

Copyright 2019 by WSLS 10 - All rights reserved.