April 2008

My Cause Promotion at SunTrust Puts Money in Our Bank

Through "My Cause," SunTrust Bank's charitable giving campaign, our friends can donate funds for aquarium programs such as fish feeding through Aug. 15.  Bank clients can support us by opening a checking account, making a purchase with the bank's Visa Check Card and filling out a redemption form designating The Pier Aquarium as the charity of their choice. We receive a $100 donation

From 3,000 to 10,000 sq. ft.: Getting There from Here

For the past 20 years, we’ve provided award-winning hands-on experiences in ocean science and marine life highlighting the local advances in technology and marine research to more than 4 million visitors.  And if you’ve visited us lately, you’re aware that almost every inch of our second floor facility is used for our ocean aquariums or exhibit space.

We’re literally bursting at the seams. Months ago we reached this conclusion:  our current location is not big enough for growth. We need to find another home.

This realization has resulted in meetings within the marine science community about the changes that we see in our future.  The vehicle that drives our mission “to enhance the public’s understanding of the value and fragility of the local and global marine environment through research, education and personal experiences” will change.  It will evolve from a small aquatic zoo to a multi-faceted, multi-media marine discovery center relocated to a space that is five times greater.  Simply put, we have the opportunity to move to a larger complex.

During our planning phase, we are still operating as an aquarium and will continue to offer the daily Touch Tank Experience, FISH-ful Saturday programing and  annual events such as Spa Beach Splash and our extremely popular Kids’ Fishing Tournament. 

We’re examining the discovery center concept in tandem with our day-to-day activities.  We have an ongoing discussion with our friends, partners and others who indicate a desire to help us move and, as time goes on, you might notice some changes as we incorporate this thinking into our operations.

What will this new space hold for us? Our new marine discovery center will have an expanded exhibit space, designated classroom area and administrative offices that allows us to better serve this community and increase the impact of our mission with “more science and more fun.”

More science means current, real time information provided about our ocean and how it impacts us. With nearly 1,000 scientists and researchers that work and study in St. Petersburg, and the connections they have with researchers all over the world, it would behoove us to make  this cutting edge information accessible to the community in a way that’s engaging and easy for them to understand.

E. Howard Rutherford
Executive Director