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The Florida Aquarium began in 1977 as an educational organization called the Clearwater Marine Science Center. In 1985, the board began discussing the idea of expansion to a nationally recognized educational facility. They knew they would not be able to achieve this goal without a nicer and bigger facility. So they put together a group of people to begin discussing plans for the new facility and location. Ten years later, The Florida Aquarium was finally opened on March 31st of 1995. This not-for-profit organization aims “to entertain, educate and inspire stewardship about our natural environment.” Everyday the organization strives to protect and restore our planet.


  • Florida Aquarium Entrance
  • Shark Exhibit in FL Aquarium
  • The Marine Science Center stingray exhibit before the incorporation of the Florida Aquarium

The expansion of the Clearwater Marine Science Center into The Florida Aquarium began as a project to become a nationally recognized educational facility in the state of Florida. After becoming incorporated as a separate organization in 1986, the new board of directors were fully committed to building a world class facility. The aquarium opened in Tampa in 1995, bringing in $60 million revenue the first year alone. The exhibits, animals, programs, and projects that apart of this facility help them to achieve their goal every day by informing and educating the public on the sea environment that surrounds us.

In the past years many additional exhibits, animals, programs, and projects have become apart of the facility. Each of these helps the Aquarium succeed in "entertaining, educating and inspiring stewardship about our natural environment.” The following timeline includes just a few of the educational opportunities The Florida Aquarium has added since its opening. 
In 2000 the No Bone Touch Tank is added.
In 2001 a DolphinQuest boat allows visitors to learn more about the Tampa Bay.
In 2003 "Dive with the Sharks" is created to allow visitors to swim in the shark tank.
In 2004 an outdoor water zone for kids is added.
In 2006 African Black-footed penguins are added.
In 2011 new sharks are added.  
In 2014 the Carol and Barney Barnett Learning Center is opened. The learning center allows for hands-on educational experiences.

To learn more about the individual projects see the additional links provided.

The Clearwater Marine Science Center still exists as a non-profit today. It is now known as the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, but you may know it as home to Winter the dolphin. Both the Clearwater Marine Aquarium and The Florida Aquarium still have similar visions, but execute their goals in different ways. Where The Florida Aquarium is home to many animals and exhibits, the Clearwater facility is a hospital and rehabilitation center for sea life. They choose to protect our environment by sharing success stories and saving the animals. Their mission is that they "believe in preserving our environment while inspiring the human spirit through leadership in the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of marine life, environmental education, research and conservation." They started gaining publicity after they saved the life of a dolphin (Winter) with no tail. Their is an inspiring movie about the success story.

About Us. (n.d.). Retrieved November 01, 2016, from http://www.seewinter.com/about-us This source is information on the Clearwater Marine Aquarium (formally the Clearwater Marine Science Center). It gives information on what became of what was the beginning of The Florida Aquarium. It is interesting to see how both have a similar vision yet completely different approaches to achieving it. Annual Report 2013 [PDF]. (2013). The Florida Aquarium Annual Report gives an overview on what the organizations goals were for the year of 2013. The document is watermarked with the aquariums logo making it highly reliable. Although the annual report is from 2013, I can use it to track how many of their goals were accomplished for that year. It gives more in depth information on the Carol and Barney Barnett Learning Center that was added to the facility the following year. It would be beneficial to compare it to a report from this year or last year to see how drastic their mission changes each year.
Dive with the Sharks. (n.d.). Retrieved November 01, 2016, from http://www.flaquarium.org/explore-the-aquarium/exhibits/dive-with-the-sharks.aspx Dive with the Sharks was started in the Florida Aquarium in 2003. It is the most popular and exciting addition since the Aquariums opening. The webpage provides information on what the program is, what it does, and how to use it. It is highly reliable because it is written by the Aquarium themselves. It also includes a video about the Shark Dive experience.
The Florida Aquarium. (n.d.). Retrieved October 10, 2016, from http://www.flaquarium.org/ The Florida Aquarium’s website contains a multitude of information that can be used in my research. It is probably the most reliable secondary source there is on the Florida Aquarium. It is very up to date. The website has the companies vision and mission statement. It shares the history on how the Florida Aquarium started and where it is today. There are videos and many other sources that can also be viewed on the website and used as learning tools. The Florida Aquarium
Facebook. (n.d.). Retrieved November 01, 2016, from https://www.facebook.com/floridaaquarium/ Although Facebook may not seem like the most reliable source, this page gives up to date information on the current events taking place at the Aquarium. It is a helpful tool for anyone wanting know more about what is happening today at the facility.