Krista Montez had heard about the new Austin Aquarium on the news.
"I'm curious and worried a little at the same time,” Montez said. “I just want to make sure it's all for a good cause."
It's a view shared by many at the Austin Aquarium open house. They're here just to see what all the fuss is about.
"I want to see what it's going to look like,” Roger Bradlau said. “If it's going to be like it's hyped up to be. We hoping it's going to be good."
Marc Gottlieb, of the Austin Aquarium, said the open house was arranged to give visitors a look at the business before it opens. The project has had some less-than-positive publicity about city permit problems and connections to other aquariums that are under fire for the care of their animals.
“In light of some of the speculation about what's happening with the aquarium, we wanted to open this up to the public to come and actually see inside our doors," Gottlieb said.
The public seemed ready to check it all out on Saturday. Even with the ongoing construction, the event made a splash.
"We love fish,” Craig Phelps said. “We love fishing and we love to talk about fish."
"We like it. We look forward to seeing it when it's open," Lisa Bui said.
Aquarium owners say they've cleared up their permit problems with the city, a claim a city spokesman could not confirm Saturday.
"Anything that's worthwhile in life is going to have challenges," Gottlieb said. "You always do things first for the right reasons. Not for financial reasons, but for the right purpose, which is bringing children and families together."
They say that's the mission of the new aquarium.
"There are literally tens of thousands of families in Austin that can't wait for the doors to open,” Gottlieb said. “And when we do open, people will see how well our animals are cared for."
Aquarium owners say they will have another open house in about a month. Their plans are to have the aquarium open in December.