Southern California Program

Aquarium of the Pacific

Long Beach, CA
June 2017

Founded in 1998, the Aquarium of the Pacific is embarking on its first major expansion.  The new Pacific Visions wing will provide visitors with up-close virtual encounters with animals never displayed in aquariums and the opportunity to explore alternative pathways to sustainability.  Integral programmatic pieces will complement the new galleries and exhibits to engender an interest in science and learning while visitors are at the Aquarium, in a school classroom and/or at home.  Building on past and current programs and in concert with key consultants, the Aquarium will develop an interactive film experience for all visitors that will be shown in the centerpiece of the expansion (a 300-seat theater); produce curriculum modules for middle and high school students that will bring content themes of Pacific Visions into their classrooms; and, create a mobile app for visitors of all ages that will provide a vehicle for further exploration through games and social interactivity.  The W. M. Keck Foundation’s grant will support the development of these educational components.  An external evaluator will assess the content as part of an overall study of the new wing’s exhibits to determine the extent to which visitors’ knowledge of scientific concepts and the connections between ocean issues and their own behavior increased.  Currently, 165,000 students and teachers visit the Aquarium annually and schools are eligible for free admission if at least 40% of their student body is low income.  The Aquarium anticipates that when the new wing is completed, over two million people will visit, including 200,000 students and teachers.

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