April 24, 2018
This summer the Aquarium of the Pacific is celebrating its twentieth anniversary with special programs, events, exhibits, and contests highlighting the institution’s history and future. Learn about and meet some of our original animals, such as Charlie the sea otter and Theo and Lou the sea turtles. Visitors will also have the chance to meet some new residents that have arrived just in time for the celebration, including a baby harbor seal born in April to Shelby, one of the Aquarium’s original animals.
Most seals give birth to young starting at four to five years of age. At twenty-two years old, Shelby is considered a mature mom, and this is her third pup Troy, the Aquarium’s only male harbor seal, is the father of all three pups and has lived at the Aquarium since 2007.
The Aquarium is also opening a new cephalopod exhibit in the Tropical Pacific Gallery called Tentacles and Ink. This exhibit will feature species of cephalopods, which include squid, octopuses, and cuttlefish. When the exhibit opens on May 25, it will house a day octopus. Unlike most species of octopus, which are nocturnal, this species is most active during the day, hence its common name. It frequently changes the color and texture of its skin to blend in with the reef environment as camouflage. This species lives on coral reefs and in shallow waters in the Indo-Pacific Ocean, from Hawaii to the eastern coast of Africa. It feeds on fish, crabs, shrimp, and other small prey.
Several contests, scavenger hunts, and community challenges will be offered, including daily opportunities to win prizes. Look for the platinum Bob the Diver statue hidden in a different exhibit each day and take and post photos at designated selfie stations with the hashtag #AOPandme and have the chance to win prizes. In addition, the Aquarium’s costumed characters, including a new octopus mascot named Gigi, will be celebrating with new photo-ready party accessories.
A short film highlighting the Aquarium’s conservation work will play daily in the Great Hall, and art exhibits celebrating the Aquarium’s anniversary will be displayed on the second floor. The first art exhibit will feature five original pieces by Brian Kesinger, the Official Artist of the 20th Anniversary. Kesinger is an award-winning story artist, author, and illustrator whose 20-year career at Disney spanned both hand-drawn and CG animated films. He is a longtime Aquarium fan and member who has also created a series of books about a character named Victoria and her octopus friend, Otto. Our gift store will be featuring his set of four limited-edition pins featuring charter animals from the Aquarium. Prints of Kesinger’s exhibiting artwork will also be available for purchase. Kesinger’s art exhibit will be up through September 2, 2018, followed by a commemorative quilt exhibit on September 15, and a display of 20th anniversary art contest winning pieces starting December 15.
Special anniversary events include a panel discussion on June 6 with an original board member and city officials who helped make the Aquarium a reality and a lecture on August 30 by Vice President of Husbandry Sandy Trautwein on the Aquarium’s husbandry and conservation achievements over its twenty-year history. The Aquarium’s anniversary programs launch on May 25.