Six years and $216 million later, the Museum of Nature dazzled many Saturday with a grand re-opening multicultural parade through the streets of downtown Ottawa, featuring marching bands and belly dancers.

Thousands of visitors were led right up the stairs of the newly renovated building on Metcalfe Street in central Ottawa.

"Honestly, we're just itching to open the doors and we can't wait to show it off," said Joanne Dicosimo, president of the Museum of Nature.

The two new, blue water and vale earth, galleries open this week, as well.

The blue water gallery features the big blue whale, while the vale earth gallery showcases more than one thousand rocks and minerals.

Fans were excited and amazed to see the new exhibits.

"Wow, this is great, quite the renovation," said one attendee.

"It's beautiful, so nice to be here," said another.

It is free admission for the first day, and the building will stay open until midnight for a special night at the museum.

The renovation project was funded by the federal government.

With files from CTV Ottawa's Joanne Schnurr