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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

4 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters



Rating: 5

There are few things in life so amazing as to be worth not only doing them for pay, but doing them for free, even paying to do them. This is how I felt about my time at the aquarium. There are some jobs that when you leave, you never want to see them again. This is not so with TLPA. I chose to go back and volunteer for the aquarium AFTER working for them. I enjoyed every moment of while I was there and would recommend it to anyone. The aquarium is like a box of swimming jewels comprable with aquariums I have seen around the world.

1 Elizabeth98


Rating: 4

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



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.



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!