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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

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

While this certainly isn't the largest and most diverse aquarium out there, it gives off the feeling of community every time you walk in. As a volunteer, I look forward to the time I spend in the aquarium as a joyful and relaxing break from my busy life. The staff is wonderful to work with, as well as all those who volunteer with me. It's very exciting to watch this wonderful place grow into a larger facility that is even more capable of meeting the needs of the community!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We only visited Living Planet Aquarium for the first time a few weeks ago but we will be going back. It is a very unique place for the kids of Utah to have hands on experiences with animals they don't often get to see. We are very much looking forward to the new expanded location. This aquarium is a huge asset to Utah.

1 Deana Y.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Living Planet Aquarium is a great place to learn about the variety of ecosytems in our world. The staff is well trained to share their knowledge about the collection at the Aquarium. They also strive to create a more hands-on experience for visitors of all ages. There is always something to do or see that will add value to your visit, whether its feeding the stingrays or meeting the penguins, all are available as an enhancement to your visit. I have visited numerous zoos and aquariums and feel that the Living Planet Aquarium is a great value both educationally and entertainment wise.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Living Planet has been a part of Salt Lake County for many years now, first at their tiny space in the Gateway, and now at the larger Sandy location. Each time I visit I see the care and concern they put into their animals and the facility. Their staff is friendly and helpful as well as knowledgable about the aquarium. I've interacted with their educational staff in my capacity as a classroom teacher and a science methods instructor. My daughter liked the Living Planet so much that she now regularly volunteers for them. My husband and I just bought a year long membership for ourselves. We're looking forward to seeing their new facility. We've been able to donate small amounts of money to them over the years and we're hoping to make a larger conribution to help with the new building. They are a much needed educational and recreational landmark in our area. Way to go, Living Planet!

1 Matthew22

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have enjoyed my experiences at the Aquarium. The staff is very friendly and helpful. They have a great knowledge of the animals they are talking about. I enjoy bringing my 2 year old son to the aquarium because he loves fish. He will run all over the aquarium. The facility is great I enjoy the new exhibits they will bring in. The change in the touch pond was awesome I love being able to interact with new animals. I am so excited for the new aquarium to open it is going to be an awesome place to visit. I tell everyone to go and see the aquarium. My family bought the 2 year pass last year and we have gone so many times to the aquarium. One of my favorite places to visit.

1 Janet K.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have been taking our children to the Aquarium for several years now. We recently renewed our membership, and I was so pleased and excited to see how much it has grown this year! The wide variety of animals has grown, as has the facility, but the "personal touch" of the staff has grown even more personal with the scheduled shows led by the staff. To be able to ask questions of someone instead of just reading the descriptive plaques enhanced our experience. The Bio Station seems to be continually staffed, too. I appreciate the generosity of the Benefactors of the Aquarium as well-- the Living Planet Aquarium is a very top-notch facility, and we as a family look forward to many years of membership. (Hooray for those adorable penguins, too!)