Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Mote Aquarium Rebirth Planned

Preliminary rendering of lobby space.

Preliminary rendering of lobby space.

Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium’s President and CEO, Dr. Michael P. Crosby, has announced that Mote will build a spectacular new aquarium on mainland Sarasota County.

The new Mote Science Education Aquarium will be designed and located strategically to serve a much greater cross-section of Florida residents and visitors. There have been discussions with Sarasota County for the use of approximately five acres of county-owned land within Nathan Benderson Park, a highly accessible location adjacent to Interstate 75.

Powering this major advance is Mote’s new, $130-million capital construction fundraising effort, Oceans for All: Improving Access to Marine Science & Technology. Mote leaders aim to begin construction in 2019.

An evening light display on the exterior of Mote Science Education Aquarium. Submitted Renderings

An evening light display on the exterior of Mote Science Education Aquarium. Submitted Renderings

“At Mote Science Education Aquarium, science is the attraction, as it is the heart of our mission,” Crosby said. “This spectacular new facility and campus will embody our vision of Oceans for All, doubling the number of visitors whose lives are enriched by marine science each year, and providing no-cost opportunities for all schools to utilize specialized teaching labs to ensure that every child has the opportunity for hands-on marine science and technology experiences.”

With 110,000 square feet of space and 1 million gallons of exhibit water, Mote Science Education Aquarium will: more than double the size of Mote Aquarium on City Island; expand the ability to feature marine animals and scientific displays; deepen visitors’ experiences through interactive teaching labs, onsite diving programs, scientific demonstrations and interactive technology; and above all, provide informal science education to a larger, more diverse audience. More than three million Florida residents will be able to access Mote Science Education Aquarium by driving 60 minutes or less, and the projected visitor number for opening year is near 700,000.

The new facility is expected to double participation in Mote’s award-winning, informal science education programs. From pre-K children to retired adults, Mote tailors marine science education for myriad audiences, true to Oceans for All.

Mote’s education programs serve over 30,000 people annually. The expected growth will benefit those underserved or underrepresented in marine science and technology. Mote will be poised to encourage more girls to excel in scientific fields, involve more atrisk youths in ocean science and technology, and involve more community members in volunteer citizen-science projects.“The rebirth of Mote Aquarium on the mainland will not only help us grow our informal science education and outreach programs and develop a more ocean-literate society; equally important, it will lead to the next step in the evolution of our City Island campus into an enhanced International Marine Science, Technology and Innovation Park,” Crosby said. “This will provide Mote researchers, science and technology entrepreneurs and their international partners much-needed facilities for expanded intensive research and allow Mote’s best and brightest to excel in addressing the significant threats facing Earth’s oceans.”

Robert Essner, Chairman of Mote’s Board of Trustees says, “We are now taking the next and biggest step in becoming a truly world-class marine research laboratory. Our new aquarium, when completed, will be a spectacular venue for our educational endeavors and will create an incredible regional visitor attraction.”

To learn more about how you can help, contact Mote’s Development Department at 941-388-4441, ext. 309 or visit moteoceansforall.org.

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