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Aquarium of the Pacific Hosts 21st Annual African American Festival Saturday and Sunday, February 25-26, 2023

Aquarium Festival Celebrates African and African American Cultures During National Black History Month

African American Festival logo with Marci Gras dancer holding umbrella

February 23, 2023

The Aquarium of the Pacific will host its twenty-first annual African American Festival, which features music, dance, storytelling, historical displays, and the annual Heritage Award presentation. This year, the Aquarium will honor Dr. John Hamilton of California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) with the Aquarium’s Heritage Award. The Aquarium will also announce and celebrate the recipients of its 2023 African American Scholar Program. The festival will take place on Saturday and Sunday, February 25 and 26, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Guests can experience presentations, including storytelling, hip hop and break dance, drum circles, and live bands. They can also visit participating booths with displays. The African American Scholar Program awards ceremony will take place on Saturday, February 25, at 1:00 p.m. Pacific Time and can be attended in person in the Honda Pacific Visions Theater or via a free live stream by visiting the Aquarium’s African American Festival webpage.

The Heritage Award will be presented on Sunday, February 26 at 1:00 p.m. in the Honda Pacific Visions Theater to Dr. Hamilton in recognition of his dedication to equity and strengthening communities. Dr. Hamilton is associate vice president of Student Success & Equity at CSULB, co-chair of CSULB’s President’s Commission on Equity and Change, and is also an executive board member of the Long Beach Branch NAACP.

During the festival, visitors can discover the wonders of the Pacific Ocean at the Aquarium as they meet more than 12,000 animals.


Saturday and Sunday, February 25-26, 2023, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.


Aquarium of the Pacific, 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, CA 90802

How to view the African American Scholar Program award ceremony virtually:. On Saturday, February 25, at 1:00 p.m. Pacific Time, the public can visit the African American Festival webpage to watch the live streaming awards ceremony announcing the 2023 African American Scholar Program recipients.


Included with general admission: $36.95 per adult (ages 12+), $26.95 per child (ages 3-11), $33.95 per senior (ages 62+), and free for Aquarium members and children under age three


(562) 590-3100 or African American Festival

African American Scholar Program

The Aquarium of the Pacific will announce the recipients of its third annual African American Scholar Program. The award ceremony will take place at 1:00 p.m. Pacific Time on Saturday, February 25 during the Aquarium’s annual African American Festival. The African American Scholar Program provides a financial award of $10,000 to support each recipient’s studies and exploration of fields related to the work of the Aquarium. The 2023 scholars include five undergraduates, two masters students, and three PhD students from eight different schools throughout California. Beyond the financial award they receive, each scholar has the opportunity to engage with the Aquarium to explore their career interests and learn more about the education and conservation efforts of the Aquarium. The newly named cohort joins a community of program alumni with which they can connect, share resources, and further feel supported in their marine science trajectory. Past recipients have volunteered, interned, and been hired as paid staff at the Aquarium. Others have published in the Aquarium’s member magazine, created one-minute film clips for early childhood educators, met with the Aquarium’s Teen Climate Council, and coordinated a tour for students in The Diversity Project through the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). This year’s cohort, along with program alumni, are invited to participate in the annual African American Scholar Symposium in November.

This scholar program is possible thanks to funding from individuals, foundations, and corporate supporters. Major program supporters for this year include The Boeing Company, The Ahmanson Foundation, Lori Prince and Robert Hum, Kathie Eckert, David Cameron with City National Bank, Bob Foster, and the Schulzman-Neri Foundation. The public is also invited to support the Aquarium’s African American Scholar Program. To make a donation, please visit

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