- $12.9 million project funded through State Government contribution and Lotterywest grant
- Major upgrade features 13 aquariums, interactive exhibits and children's activity centre
- Premier and Regional Development Minister open new-look Dolphin Discovery Centre
- Redevelopment forms part of a wider project to create a thriving waterfront destination - generating local jobs and boosting the local economy
Premier Mark McGowan, Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan and Bunbury MLA Don Punch have today joined staff, stakeholders and members of the community to officially reopen Bunbury's freshly revamped iconic tourism destination, the Dolphin Discovery Centre.
The upgrade and expansion, made possible through a $12.3 million State Government contribution and a $600,431 Lotterywest grant, has created Western Australia's freshest tourism experience in the heart of the South-West region.
Bunbury-based head contractor Perkins Builders completed the project within nine months, with 46 local contractors and suppliers - which resulted in more than 200 local jobs during construction.
Housed in a landmark building which tells a local Noongar story, the new-look facility includes an interpretative centre incorporating 13 aquariums, interactive exhibits, children's activity centre, a 360-degree digital dolphinarium, as well as a café and function rooms.
Visitors can learn about dolphins and the local environment, have fun in the interactive display area, enjoy a close encounter with wild dolphins in the beach interaction zone, and take a dolphin eco cruise or swim tour.
Thousands have already taken up the chance to visit the new and improved centre since its staged reopening began in December, with reviews from visitors and residents overwhelmingly positive.
Celebrations to mark the official opening of the new Dolphin Discovery Centre will continue with a Dolphin Festival tomorrow (February 16), complete with a host of family friendly activities.
The revamp completes stage one of the Transforming Bunbury's Waterfront project.
Stage one included development of a world-class precinct stretching from the Dolphin Discovery Centre to the eye-catching Koombana pedestrian bridge that connects to the city. It incorporates the recently revitalised Koombana Foreshore, which was today further enhanced with the official launch of the Wardandi Boodja public artwork - a five-and-a-half metre steel bust which pays respect to local Noongar people.
The sculpture, which was commissioned by the City of Bunbury and funded by the State Government, was created by local artists Nicole and Alex Mickle of Safehaven Studios alongside the local indigenous community.
Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:
"Australia's premier wild dolphin experience is now even better. People can visit the Dolphin Discovery Centre, check out the interpretative centre - where you can learn about bottlenose dolphins - and then head to the beach or out on the water to hopefully see them in their natural habitat.
"Congratulations to everyone involved in creating this extraordinary experience, which will continue to attract visitors from around Australia and across the world.
"It's been terrific to see the redevelopment completed with local content, which created hundreds of local jobs to give Bunbury a boost to the local economy. The wider work being undertaken to enhance the waterfront is transforming Bunbury and if you haven't already done so recently, it's time to rediscover this city."
Comments attributed to Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan:
"This is not only a great place to visit, it's a showcase of local business capability. The project was delivered by Bunbury contractor Perkins Builders from designs by Bunbury practice MCG Architects, with local contractors and suppliers working on the project.
"Breathing new life into this premier regional tourism attraction has also seen employment at the centre more than triple.
"This is a fantastic demonstration of the McGowan Government's commitment to ensuring local businesses get a slice of the action on government-funded projects, and that local workers see the benefits."
Comments attributed to Bunbury MLA Don Punch:
"I have been down to the Dolphin Discovery Centre quite a few times this summer and seeing huge numbers of locals, tourists and families playing on the beach, engaging with the displays and enjoying the great food, leaves me in no doubt that the redevelopment of the centre has been a fantastic investment that has delivered our community's premier attraction.
"It has been a long journey from Mrs Smith feeding the dolphins from her jetty to the amazing facility we have today but it absolutely cements Bunbury's connection to the ocean, our pride in our place in the world and our willingness to share our experiences with others. I have nothing but praise for everyone who has been involved.
"I am really proud to have been a part of this project from the beginning and to be here now to see this fabulous new facility being embraced by the Bunbury community."
Premier's office - 6552 5000
Regional Development Minister's office - 6552 6200