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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

6 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


Client Served

Rating: 5

With its touch tide pools. interesting and informative exhibits, and creative layout, The Living Planet Aquarium is a fun and educational place for families.

Chantel G.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I love going to visit the Living Planet Aquarium. I have two children who are 10 years apart in age and they both love going. Our favorite areas are the shark tank and ray exhibit where you can actually get a chance to touch the rays. We also like the penguins and other exhibits. Overall, it's an excellent place to visit!


Client Served

Rating: 5

We LOVE to visit the Living Planet Aquarium! I have 3 children, two of which have special needs. We first went to the aquarium in 2011. We weren't sure what to expect but thought we would give it a try. I'll never forget watching my kids eyes light up at the sight of the jelly fish, and the sharks. Every exhibit is well maintained, and every animal there is, you can see moving about actively. The animals all seem very happy and content. As the years have gone by, and more and more animals are put on display, my kids seem to enjoy it just as much as the first time we went. The paths are very wide, and it is easy for someone with a stroller, wheelchair, or walker, in our case, to get through easily to see every exhibit. There are steps up for smaller children to stand on so they can independently view each tank, and a children's area where the tanks are down on the floor. It's such a great place with lots to see, and plenty of hands on activities.

Client Served

Rating: 5

As a child I grew up by the ocean. It is amazing watching fish and other sea creatures live. The Living Aquarium is an wonderful place to enjoy the sea and all of the creatures in it. I love to take my 3 year old grandson and share my knowledge with him. I have also had the pleasure of having experts from the aquarium teach my 4th grade students about the water cycle. I love having The Living Planet Aquarium in Salt Lake City and I hope they continue to grow both in size and in our community. Thank You,
Rachel Summers

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.


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.