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2013 Top-Rated Nonprofit

The Living Planet Aquarium

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animals, Centers to Support the Independence of Specific Populations, Education, Elementary & Secondary Schools, Environment, Human Services, Literacy, Natural Resources Conservation & Protection, Zoos & Aquariums

Mission: We inspire people to explore, discover and learn about Earth's diverse ecosystems.

Results: The Living Planet Aquarium has been committed to education from the beginning, and has created two unique educational outreach programs: The Utah Waters Van and the Rainforest Van. With support of the Utah State Office of Education and other key donors, 20 trained education team members visit nearly every elementary school in the state (over 650 schools annually) and impacts over 51,000 students and teachers with curriculum based educational programs and workshops. Over 15,000 students and teachers visit the Aquarium for curriculum oriented field trips. TLPA is committed to being a quality resource for science and math education initiatives throughout the state and offers professional development workshops for fourth grade teachers. The goal of the program is to support effective science instruction in the classroom by training teachers to engage students with important, relevant science content, equipment and resources. In all, over 500,000 students statewide have benefited from quality supplemental science-based programming that has been shown to improve year-end test scores. Since 2004, TLPA has interacted with over 1.6 million visitors. Attendance numbers have shown impressive growth each and every year, with a 178% increase in attendance over the past 5 years. TLPA currently has over 28,000 annual members. The Aquarium is committed to growing in a fiscally responsible manner and has successfully funded operations completely from earned revenue (gate receipts, gift shop sales, and facility rentals) since 2004. Therefore, support from individual donors, corporations, and foundations have been allocated to the growth and expansion of the facility, education outreach, and exhibit enhancement. As the aquarium’s attendance has increased, the operating budget has matched, growing each year as staff and programs have expanded.

Programs: Exhibits, education presentations, education outreach, Teacher Professional Development, School field trips, Scout workshops

Community Stories

46 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I love the aquarium! We bought passes this year and take my kids regularly. It has grown so much in the last few years since I was in college. There are Loy's of great animals and exhibits to se. Definitely great for all ages. My favorite are the river otters and penguins.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

My (almost) 2 year old daughter and I love going to the aquarium! The annual pass is extremely affordable and the exhibits are really fun for both of us to see. I really like the "talks" they do for each of the different animals because they offer great info and allow visitors to ask questions. My daughter loves climbing up on the various platforms to get a good look at the animals and I appreciate the easy flow from one exhibit to the next.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My husband and I love to scuba dive and see the wonderful sea creatures in their habitats. The Living Planet Aquarium has been a wonderful getaway for us and our kids/grand kids to go see some of these marvelous creatures even though we live in Salt Lake and are at >4,000ft. altitude. They do a wonderful job of the habitats for the fresh and salt water life. They have remarkably good variety for our location and it's a great chance for the kids to be exposed to sea life, which they don't come in contact with on a day to day basis. I wish I'd been able to experience something like this when I was a kid. I had NO idea what the ocean was like until I was 16 and how extraordinarily beautiful that world is. I'm so grateful that we have this wonderful aquarium and I've been able to see it grow and become more impressive over the last 5 years!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My two kids and I LOVE going to the aquarium. We have a yearly pass so we never have to wait in line and we go about once a month. We also take advantage of the early admission every 3rd Monday of the month.

Brittanie P.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Last year in May we booked my son's 2nd birthday party at the aquarium. Not only was the party reasonably priced, the staff was amazing and helping us set up everything, clean-up, and they were super friendly. The only thing I would love more is to have more time in party rooms without having an extra fee. But anyways, after the party our entire family was able to go through the aquarium which was amazing because here in Utah we don't have very many indoor family activities to do, especially learning activities such as learning about our wildlife and their habitats. I am excited for the new facility to open up and I just hope there will be more facilities like this one that will open in Utah over time.

Betty O.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I brought my 6 year old grandson for a outing with grandma. I was very pleasantly surprised and educated about sea animals that we don't often get to see here in Utah. I had a wonderful experience and I know my grandson did, becasue about halfway through looking at the animals he just yells out
"This place is Awesome." So we will be back for sure.
Betty Olson
West Point, Utah

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I love that we have such an amazing learning experience here in Utah. I take my nephew and niece there a lot and cannot wait to be able to take my son here. It's been a place my husband and I have gone to just to 'escape'. There is something calming about watching the beautiful creatures move. Watching the aquarium evolve over the years has been great. The staff are friendly and enthusiastic and I feel like I still learn something new each time I go.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My family went for a visit to the living planet aquarium and loved it. My grandson and daughter loved the shark pool, they couldn't get enough of feeding and petting the little sharks.

Marie38

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

I first came here in 2010 for my 3 year old, who absolutely loved it, and now my family each gets a pass every year! The secret is that I love it just as much as my kids! I am amazed every time that there are tons of exhibits! And our favorite thing is that you can actually touch stingray and a shark! Love, love, love this place!

Rob_18

Client Served

Rating: 5

My kids love this place!
Sure, we like the zoo, but it's hot and the weather is unpredictable. Because of this, the aquarium is one of our favorite rainy-day or crazy-hot-day destinations.
It's educational, fascinating, and down-right pleasant.
They've also packed in the attractions, so we can even take grandparents and not worry about having to make them walk too far to enjoy themselves.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

I love visiting the aquarium and so does my 2 year old son. The aquarium is just down the street for us, which makes it very convenient to stop by and visit. The membership cost is a wonderful deal, so we frequent often. We love the aquarium and can't wait for the new location to open and have more spaces to explore.

The form wasn't quite working properly, so I would likely volunteer and I believe this organization is life-changing for the state of utah.

Donor

Rating: 5

The residents of Utah are so lucky to have such a unique place to go for entertainment and learning. Many of the things at The Living Planet Aquarium are only found by traveling miles away, such as penguins from the Antarctic, sharks, rays, sea horses and an adorable sea turtle to name a few. It's unique in that it showcases ecosystems which provides visitors with a number of diverse exhibits for visitors to experience.

I can't wait for the new Aquarium and how much more it will have to offer the residents of Utah and those coming to visit the area!

1 Ronnie4

Donor

Rating: 5

The Living Planet Aquarium is a wonderful place for a family adventure. My kids love seeing all the animals and learning about where they come from. Where else in Utah can you pet a shark? I love the Aquarium!

1 Karli H.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have worked at the Living Planet Aquarium for almost a year now and I love it! I get to talk to people every day who are interested in the animals at the aquarium. I always get to see smiling faces and happy children who love sharks, otters, penguins, and colorful fish (just to name a few!) People who come to visit often tell me how much they love the aquarium and how well they think we have done with it. I am happy to be a part of such an amazing organization and would encouage anyone to come visit at least once.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Living Planet Aquarium is a wonderful place where people who can't normally interact with aquatic and marine animals (being that we are landlocked here in Utah) can explore and learn all about the wonderful oceanic life in this world. You feel as if you are actually there in that environment with beautiful murals and so many different species of animals. It helps to inspire people to learn more about the natural world and how we can do our part to help and change its current situation.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Living Planet Aquarium is a great place for families to visit. There are all sorts of amazing animals to see and even some that you can touch. The staff are friendly and knowledgeable, and there is always something going on during the day. The afternoon feeds are worth watching as well.

1 Kimberlee T.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This aquarium is community in all sense of the word. Since its creation the area in which I grew up became more active and involved than I have ever seen it. I got an annual pass just so I could drop by at any time and I know a number of people who do otherwise. Going to the aquarium is as entertaining and enthralling, and as easy, as going to the park but with the perk of animals. Children love it. Parents love it. Our community loves it. Thank you!

1 DeeAnn L.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We love going there. It is great for all ages. The penguins are our favorite. I don't have money to donate unless paying for our admission to get in is donating.

1 Elizabeth98

Volunteer

Rating: 4

It is a grate way to learn and aprishate the animals and sealife and the evorment and it is good mind teropy

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I did a husbandry internship there. They make everyone feel super welcome, like a family member there. I love it there, it's like my second home.