Santa Monica Lookout
|Bank Sponsors Free Admission to Santa Monica Pier Aquarium|
By Hector Gonzalez
February 24, 2015 -- Starting on Saturday, admission to Heal the Bay’s Santa Monica Pier Aquarium will be free once a month, thanks to a year-long sponsorship by Wells Fargo in celebration of Heal the Bay’s 30th anniversary, officials said.
“Wells Fargo has been a longtime supporter of Heal the Bay and the education programs at the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium,” Paul Stimpfl, executive vice president at Wells Fargo Capital Finance Inc. and a member of Heal the Bay’s board of directors, said in a news release.
“Sponsoring the 30th anniversary of Heal the Bay with a once a month free day at the aquarium recognizes the long time environmental work of Heal the Bay and its positive impact on the communities that we both serve. Congratulations to a great 30 years.”
To kick of the celebration this Saturday from 12:30 to 5 p.m., the aquarium at 1600 Ocean Front Walk -- beneath the Pier’s carousel building -- will feature two special wildlife exhibits, said Randi Parent, the aquarium’s outreach manager.
The nonprofit Nature of Wildworks Wildlife Center in Topanga will bring in a barn owl, a kestrel, a skunk and an opossum.
And the aquarium will unveil a new exhibit, the “Exhibition Table, Catch of the Day,” featuring four 5- to 15-gallon tanks outfitted with cameras and microscopes that allow visitors to get a close-up view of tiny sea creatures collected that day in the Santa Monica Bay, Parent said.
“These are invertebrates that are too small to be put in the larger tanks. They can now be exhibited in these smaller tanks, right next to our touch tank,” said Parent.
In addition, the Library Store on Wheels will be parked alongside the aquarium Saturday so that visitors can purchase books and literary gifts, she said. Proceeds will benefit the Los Angeles Public Library’s Central Library and 72 branch libraries, she said.
There also will be a face-painting station and a cookie decorating station where visitors can create a commemorative confection (while supplies last).
After Saturday’s kickoff celebration, Wells Fargo will sponsor one free admission day to the aquarium each month -- on the first Wednesday of the month - through the end of 2015, Parent said.
“This partnership will help thousands of students to not only receive impactful, hands-on science experiences and curriculum but also to cultivate the next generation of environmental stewards,” said aquarium Director Heather Doyle. “We sincerely appreciate their support.”
Every year, some 100,000 people visit the aquarium, which Heal the Bay acquired in 2003 from UCLA. Since then, more than 140,000 schoolchildren have visited the aquarium on field trips, Parent said.
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