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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

29 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

A great afternoon to spend with your kids.

This aquarium focuses very nicely on varieties of animals kids in Utah might not otherwise have an opportunity to see. We've visited this aquarium so many times, I really can't count. We've seen it grow from it's original location in downtown Salt Lake, to it's current location in Sandy, Utah. We look forward to it's continued growth.

Our travels have allowed us to visit very large aquariums in other cities. By comparison, Utah's aquarium is still in its very early stages. However, The Living Planet Aquarium has made a great effort to provide themed settings and appropriate ambiance. There is always the sense that you have stepped into a different world. Local water habitats of the west have not been overlooked, which is greatly appreciated. Marsh settings of the arid west and mountain lake habitats are represented among the many offerings. Overall, the aim appears to be an educational experience with emphasis on children and youth.

My kids always canvas the entire aquarium. They want to visit everything on every visit. By far, they enjoy the penguins exhibit and the opportunity to pet the rays in the open pools. The newer South American exhibits are really fascinating to my kids, especially since they are fond of watching "River Monsters" on TV. The large fish of South America are represented in the aquarium's collection.

We have enjoyed the privilege of invitations to childrens' birthday parties held at the aquarium as well as the opportunity to attend summer camps. It's a nice way for the kids to explore the aquarium with a guide who provides an age-appropriate educational experience.

There is an appealing gift shop with a range of items and a cafe that's nice to have on hand. A longer visit will inevitably lead to hunger and thirst! The outing is complete when we enjoy lunch together in the cafe. There is a somewhat limited choice, but the kids lunch in a basket is enjoyable and healthy. Sometimes we choose to enjoy a soft drink or a bottled water as the refreshment for our visit.

Also, the drinking fountain and restrooms appear clean and well maintained.

I would recommend the aquarium to anyone with kids 12 and under. Older children will enjoy it as well, but the younger kids are very likely to request return visits. It's cool inside in the heat of the summer and a pleasant retreat from cold and gray winter days. The Living Planet Aquarium has held a regular place in our play date repertoire.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Love this aquarium! We never get sick of going and plan to renew our membership agian. The set up is great and I feel like it is an enjoyable learning experience each time my family goes.

1 Amanda Mitchell G.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I love this aquarium! I have 2 young children that are very active and they stayed completely entertained the whole time we were there-nearly 2 hours. The prices are very family friendly and the staff was so amazing! My girls still talk about the "amazing aquarium with the sharks, and penguins and cool stuff!" Such a great family day! We bought a year pass and we'll happily make the hour drive to enjoy it again!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am very impressed with The Living Planet Aquarium! My kids love it every time we go. Ever since the first time we visited with my then 2-year old son, he has been very interested in fish and other aquatic creatures. I love that his interests go beyond Spiderman and Batman, and I believe The Living Planet Aquarium has a lot to do with that.

Tina J.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We love to visit the living planet aquarium. The River otters, and the penguins are our favorite to watch. When ever you have a question there is always someone knowledgeable to help. This is a great place for indoor family fun!!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This acquarium is wonderful. The people who work there are knowledgeable and courteous. There is such a wide variety of sealife and opportunities to learn new things. I have a membership and go often.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have been to the aquarium with my grandchildren several times. And it doesn't matter how many times we go, they still enjoy going. The exhibits never get old. they love watching what they animals do and could stay all day. They love to play in the play area. I can hardly wait to see what the new aquarium will be like. I know my grandshildren will enjoy that one even more.

Stephanie88

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I love to visit the Aquarium. I took my 13 year old Nephew with me the first time we went and he begs me to take him there every time he comes to stay with me. Now he is 15 and we still love to go to the Aquarium to see all of the amazing things there are to see. I think that is pretty awesome for a teenager. Great job, TLPA. I would love to volunteer, but my declining health makes that impolsible, but that would be so much fun.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My two boys and I are big fans. Since we live in land-locked Salt Lake City, marine life is not part of our normal day-to-day experiences, and an afternoon at the aquarium is a real treat for us. My boys both like the hands-on ray tank where they can touch the rays (like a petting zoo, but for fish). I like the sharks, especially the ones in the big tank. The fresh water stuff is pretty interesting as well (I get to point to a rainbow trout and say something like "those live in the river by the cabin.").

Anitra R.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 3

Hello,
i find my experiences at the aquarium allot of fun. I have my membership so I can bring my three year old to look at the animals and hopefully learn a little bit about them. For the purposes of my young child this meets my expectations. However, being a visually impaired individual I think that a way you could make this more accessable to people with a vision issue is to find a way to put what is said about the animal in brale without disrupting the print that is there of finding a way to make a booklet of the discriptions of the animals in braile and in large print so that people with a form of visual impairment can also learn about all the animals because it is difficult for a blind parent or blind child to learn about the animals there when we can not read about them at least.

Steve73

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I would like to thank the LPA for letting us hold our Salt water Club meetings there!!! They rock!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

What a fun place to visit with my grandsons. I first visited The Living Planet Aquarium on a whim due to cold weather and wanting to take my grandsons someplace. It was so happily surprised. Although currently in a small building (they will be moving this summer to a very large location) there is a great use of space and many wonderful exhibits. There are always some aquatic animals who are active. The shark tank has a wide variety of critters to watch. The penguins are always active and entertaining. The octopus (if one is lucky enough to be there at feeding time) is amazing to watch. After our first visit we decided to become members and although we live about 35 miles away we visit 3 times a year, often taking additional people with us. We are excited for the new location and new animals. I have recommended to many friends that this is a fun place to visit.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 3

Staff is always friendly. Some days parking is practically non-existent. Otters are almost always asleep when we come, so we never get to see them. The 'petting zoo' is exciting for all ages. A bit much forcing everyone to walk through the gift shop on exiting. This is an emotional hardship on the children of parents or other adults who cannot afford to buy them anything on each visit, and is definitely something I dread when it's time to leave. ( Please locate it elsewhere in the new location. )

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

As a biology teacher, and a parent, I feel the Living Planet Aquarium is an amazing resource for people of all ages. The displays are engaging, hands-on, and well-presented. I take my daughter there every time we visit Utah. I grew up in Salt Lake City and only wish something like this was available in the Salt Lake area when I was a child. I teach in Nevada and am always amazed at how little children who don’t live near the ocean know about aquatic life. Facilities like the Living Planet Aquarium allow people of all ages to experience and learn about aquatic life in a variety of ways---I recommend it highly!

mick002

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

The Aquarium is a great excursion for young children. I especially like to visit when the weather is poor and I want to get out of the house. There is a surprising amount of aquatic life at the current/temporary location and numerous interactive exhibits. The price of a season pass is inexpensive and my two years old daughter's entry is free. Can't wait to see the new location!

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.

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