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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

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.


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.


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 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.