Aquarium of the Pacific to celebrate 10 years in Long Beach

photo-_3-aquarium-story.jpgBY NICK DIAMANTIDES
Staff Writer

Strolling past the exhibits at Aquarium of the Pacific is like visiting marine ecosystems throughout the far reaches of the Pacific Ocean, while being introduced to a variety of sciences. For the next several months, the Aquarium will be celebrating the ten-year anniversary of its opening on the Long Beach shoreline. Special events, seminars and banquets are scheduled, and all of them are aimed at highlighting the vital importance of preserving the ocean’s ecosystems.
Last Thursday, the Aquarium hosted a press preview to publicize the facility, its programs and the special events planned for the next 12 months. The two-hour preview began with a press conference, which included comments by various local officials. “I can’t tell you how excited the City of Long Beach is to help our Aquarium celebrate its 10th anniversary. It is one of the icons of our community,” said Long Beach City Manager Pat West. “It truly is a crown jewel for Long Beach.”
Jerry Schubel, the Aquarium’s president and CEO, spoke next. “It is hard to believe that just a little over a decade ago, Southern California’s largest aquarium was born,” he said. “Today the Aquarium is filled with life, excitement and ideas. It is filled with the hope that each of us can make a difference in protecting the environment no matter what our age.”
Schubel explained that the facility has contributed to the effort to save endangered species and has worked hard at reducing its own impacts on the environment.
“From 1998 to 2008, the Aquarium has reinvented itself and the concept of an aquarium,” Schubel added. He explained that the next generation of aquariums must go beyond exhibiting animals, field research, and conservation of species to also focusing on people and their changing relationships with the Earth and the world ocean.
“One way we are tackling pressing environmental issues is by joining forces with international, regional and local partners,” Schubel said. “We most recently joined forces with the World Wildlife Fund, the largest international conservation organization in the world, to help conserve Mexico’s Gulf of California, one of the most important marine areas on the planet.”
Schubel explained that pressures from unsustainable tourism, real estate development and commercial fishing are severely damaging the Gulf’s ecosystems and threatening the way of life for the people of that region. As part of its effort to educate the public, the Aquarium recently opened an exhibition focusing on ecological problems in the Gulf.
Schubel added that the Aquarium is also dedicated to increasing the public’s awareness of current pressing ocean issues throughout the world. “Our new ‘Ocean on the Edge’ exhibition focuses on the top 10 ocean environmental issues,” he said. “By introducing these important issues during our year-long anniversary, the Aquarium hopes to shed light on challenges facing the ocean, its inhabitants and ultimately all of us who rely on our ocean planet for essential ecosystems services.”
Schubel explained that the Aquarium is conducting an “Ocean on the Edge” guest speaker series through May 2009, which will culminate in a major national conference.
After Schubel’s comments, Steve Goodling, president and CEO of the Long Beach Visitors and Convention Bureau (LBVCB), took the podium. Goodling told the audience that the Aquarium enhances Long Beach’s international prestige and greatly benefits the local economy by drawing visitors to the city who spend money on lodging, restaurants and many other businesses.
Aquarium curator Sandy Trautwein took the podium. She talked about some of the species of animals that live there including sharks, seals, jellies, sea dragons, exotic birds, reptiles and many other species of fish. She also mentioned some of the events of the 12-month anniversary celebration including guest lecture, upcoming festivals and special events as well- including prize giveaways such as tickets for two on Jet Blue Airways, or free admission to the Queen Mary, the Museum of Latin American Art and Harbor cruises.
Afterwards, Aquarium guides took small groups of reporters on tours of every exhibit in the facility. The event was capped off with brief comments from 2nd District Long Beach City Councilwoman Suja Lowenthal. “It gives me great pleasure to congratulate the Aquarium of the Pacific on its 10th anniversary of serving children and families from our local, regional, national and even international communities,” she said.
To find out more about the Aquarium or upcoming special events, visit

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