Downtown Aquarium Restaurant

In 1998, I did extensive murals for a Denver aquarium called Colorado’s Ocean Journey. The largest mural was 60′ by 300.’ It went bankrupt a few years later (not because of the murals) and was bought by the Landry’s Group, which owns the Joe’s Crab Shack franchise, Rainforest CafĂ© and others. However improbable it sounds, they kept the COJ’s fish and animals, including two tigers, and converted the aquarium into a multilevel restaurant. The concept was so successful that they decided to build another one from scratch in their own back yard, Houston, Texas.

The Downtown Aquarium Restaurant is actually several restaurants in one multistory building. Most of the tanks and exhibits fill the ground floor. The variety of murals needed was boggling: cypress swamps, tropical rainforests, a coral reef with sharks, ancient Mayan tomb frescoes, a beach sunset, the New England coast, an Eastern waterfront with cargo ships, and the interior of Captain Nemo’s Nautilus complete with giant squid looking in the window. Coherence and probability aside. the restaurant has been a wild success (probably because of the murals). I heard they’ve since added a Ferris wheel and a miniature train ride.