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News, Santa Monica, Pier

Heal The Bay’s Santa Monica Pier Aquarium Turns 10 Years Old

Heal the Bay's Santa Monica Pier Aquarium celebrates is 10th birthday today, March 1.
Courtesy Image
Heal the Bay's Santa Monica Pier Aquarium celebrates is 10th birthday today, March 1.

Posted Mar. 1, 2013, 6:00 am

Mitch James / Mirror Contributor

Ten years ago to the day, UCLA handed Heal the Bay the keys to the university’s Ocean Discovery Center, along with scores of fish, invertebrates, and other marine life.

This small teaching aquarium beach level beneath the Santa Monica Pier continued to run field trip programs without interruption throughout the transition, as it became the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium – a public face for Heal the Bay, the longtime Santa Monica-based environmental organization.

A decade and more than half a million visitors later, the Aquarium continues to evolve, introducing new exhibits and new animals constantly finding new ways to utilize the 4,800-square-foot space creatively for exhibitory and education.

In honor of its 10-year birthday, the Aquarium will kickoff a three-day celebration with a cake and ice cream party at 3 pm today, March 1.

The party continues Saturday, March 2 when elected officials will be on hand at 3 pm to present a proclamation of congratulations for the Aquarium’s 10 years as a community resource and field trip destination for thousands of students from LA County and beyond. Council member Terry O’Day and Assemblymember Richard Bloom are expected to attend the festivities. Families will want to stay for a 3:30 pm story time with special guest Ed Begley, Jr.

Face painting and special crafts projects with a birthday theme will round out the afternoon. 

The festivities will continue Sunday, March 3 including a presentation and feeding at the shark tank beginning at 3:30 pm.

Local restaurants will join in the celebration, offering special marine themed libations throughout the month of March.

Mention the Aquarium’s 10th year anniversary, and some will be donating a percentage of the tab back to the marine science center.

Participating restaurants include The Basement Tavern; Beachy Cream Ice Cream Shop; The Hungry Cat; Lago Santa Monica; The Lobster; Mariasol; and Rusty’s Surf Ranch.

The Aquarium is open Tuesday through Friday from 2 pm to 5 pm; weekends from 12:30 pm to 5 pm.

Admission for children 12 and under is free. For all others, the suggested donation is $5 per person, or a $3 minimum entry fee.

For more information, visit or call 310.393.6149.

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