The Aquarium took major steps on its expansion, opened new major exhibits, and welcomed new animals in 2017. The institution also conducted conservation work and public outreach, and served as a convener and facilitator for the local community, scientists, and other stakeholders in the search for sustainable solutions. This important work led to coverage in several national news outlets. Here is a look back at some of the top happenings at the Aquarium in 2017.
1. The Aquarium broke ground on its major expansion project, Pacific Visions, and construction began.
A groundbreaking ceremony was held and construction on the Aquarium’s expansion, Pacific Visions, began in spring. While the layout of some facilities has been adjusted, the visitor experience is unaffected by the construction. Visitors can see the site through portholes located in multiple locations in the fence surrounding it. Pacific Visions will open to the public in early 2019.
2. New exhibits highlighted amphibians, archerfish, and California’s water supply.
In May the Aquarium opened new exhibits, including FROGS: Dazzling and Disappearing, an exhibit tracing the history of amphibians, detailing their life cycles, demonstrating the different environments they live in from deserts to rainforests, and highlighting the diversity of species and their surprisingly uncertain future. Our Water Future is an interactive space to help visitors understand where our water comes from and what conservation issues our supply faces now and in the future. The Aquarium also added an exhibit featuring archerfish on the Harbor Terrace overlooking Rainbow Harbor.
3. New arrivals included penguins and shorebirds.
A male Magellanic penguin chick named Gatz hatched at the Aquarium in late May. This chick represents the fifth generation of Aquarium-born penguins and is the tenth to hatch here. His parents are Roxy and Floyd.
Two baby black-necked stilts hatched in late June in the Aquarium’s Shorebird Sanctuary exhibit. This is the first time this species has successfully reproduced at the Aquarium.
A new adult male Magellanic Penguin arrived at the Aquarium this spring and entered the public exhibit on March 15. The newcomer’s name is Admiral Fancy Pants, and Aquarium staff members have been calling him “The Admiral” for short. This penguin was exchanged with another accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) for Newsom, one of the Aquarium of the Pacific’s original birds, for breeding purposes.
4. Aquarium forums addressed important ocean and environmental issues.
The Aquarium hosted two forums co-sponsored by the American Honda Motor Company. The first forum in February focused on a project called SoCal Oysters run by a group of students at the University of California, Santa Barbara’s Bren School of Environmental Science and Management. SoCal Oysters is working to restore coastal areas and wetland habitats by introducing native oysters. The second forum in November examined a Japanese principle for coastal management and how it might be applied in Southern California.
5. A new film aimed at inspiring viewers to take action in response to climate change.
The Aquarium’s new film The Time is Now, The Future is Here uses examples of people of all ages and various backgrounds around the world developing sustainable solutions in the face of a changing climate. It plays daily in the Aquarium’s Ocean Theater and is included with admission.
6. Outreach efforts worked to help Long Beach become a model of a climate resilient city.
The impacts of climate change already being felt in Southern California are only predicted to increase in frequency and severity in coming years. The Aquarium is helping residents of Long Beach to prepare for increasing numbers of high-heat days, longer and more intense periods of drought, rising sea levels and coastal flooding during storms, and poor air quality during hotter, sunnier days. In 2017 Aquarium educators launched a Twitter feed on climate resilience (@resilientLBaop), traveled to community events with a special booth, and released new quick reference guides.
7. The Aquarium hosted a film screening with Angelina Jolie and Loung Ung.
The Aquarium hosted a private screening of the new Netflix film First They Killed My Father and discussion with the film’s Director, Producer and Co-Screenwriter Angelina Jolie and Co-Screenwriter and Executive Producer Loung Ung. The Aquarium was selected for the event based on its relationship with the Cambodian community in Long Beach.
8. The Aquarium joined a nationwide campaign to reduce plastic pollution in the ocean and waterways.
The Aquarium joined eighteen other aquariums across the country to raise awareness about the problem of plastic pollution in the ocean, rivers, lakes, and streams. As part of this campaign, the participating aquariums pledged to eliminate plastic bags and straws at their facilities as of July 10, 2017, and significantly reduce or eliminate plastic beverage bottles by December 2020.
9. The Aquarium played a major role in several conservation projects, helping to protect endangered species and educate the public.
The Aquarium’s ongoing conservation work is spread across many projects focusing on species such as the endangered vaquita porpoise in the Gulf of California, abalone, corals in the South Pacific, and birds in the Mariana archipelago. To read about these projects and more, visit our Conservation page.
10. The Seafood for the Future program advanced the cause of marine offshore aquaculture, or farming of the sea.
In December the Aquarium’s Seafood for the Future program and other partners were awarded funding to develop of a series of videos, a web-based interactive, and educational content to educate the public about environmentally responsible marine aquaculture. Seafood for the Future also debuted a new film on aquaculture and an interactive story map online.
11. The Aquarium received awards from Miller Children’s Hospital, The Climate Registry, and the American Alliance of Museums.
The Aquarium was presented with the 2017 Friend of Child Life Award from Miller Children’s and Women’s Hospital Long Beach (MCWHLB) in July. The hospital selected the Aquarium for the award in recognition of the resources the Aquarium shares with pediatric patients and the services provided to educate the community about marine life, sustainability, and conservation of natural resources. In May the Aquarium was honored by The Climate Registry (TCR) with a Special Recognition Award as one of its founding members and a participant in Southern California Edison’s Cool Planet Project, which is operated in partnership with TCR. The Aquarium of the Pacific, in collaboration with Cortina Productions, won a 2017 MUSE Award from the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) for a video telling the story of the Aquarium’s first major expansion, the Pacific Visions wing.
12. The Aquarium received extensive media coverage in 2017, including appearances in the Washington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today.
- Even frogs have an uncertain future, so see them while you can / Washington Post
- Photos of the Day, Dec. 1, 2017 / Wall Street Journal (subscription required)
- 5 Destinations for the Thanksgiving Traveler / New York Times
- 11 must-see fall exhibits at U.S. museums / USA Today
- Climate Change Affects Coastal Communities and Beyond / Voice of America
- Ninja immigrants: How big sea turtles from central Mexico found new homes on a Long Beach river / Los Angeles Times
- Climate Change Series: Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 – Univision
- Protecting marine life by shifting how consumers use plastic / KPCC’s Take Two