TAMPA, Fla. (AP) – As the Florida Aquarium in downtown Tampa is prepares to mark its 20th anniversary, officials say the attraction is thriving.

The Tampa Tribune reports that attendance has climbed since the aquarium opened back in 1995. Attendance topped 750,000 for the first time in 2014.

In its early years, the aquarium’s success was uncertain. The city had to make an unexpected $2.5 million payment on finishing touches before the aquarium opened and the aquarium lost $300,000 its first year.

The city still pays $6.7 million a year on construction debt for the project. But Tampa leaders say the aquarium has been a good thing for the city and has helped to jumpstart other developments in the downtown district.

The aquarium plans a series of anniversary celebrations through August.

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