The Two Oceans Aquarium celebrates its 25th anniversary today, Friday November 13.
The aquarium opened its doors in 1995 and has since welcomed more than 10 million visitors of which six million have been locals.
CEO Michael Michael Farquhar, said it was incredible to think that the Two Oceans Aquarium is a quarter of a century old.
“It has grown into a much-loved and well-respected facility with conservation, education and research at its heart. We have many achievements to celebrate and these achievements have been made possible by our visitors, our members who have chosen to become part of the aquarium family, our partners who have assisted us in growing the aquarium’s reputation locally and internationally, and our staff and volunteers who have dedicated themselves to saving the ocean.
“Thank you for all your support over the years and we look forward to even greater achievements in the next 25 years.”
In 2018, the aquarium established the Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation to further facilitate and grow its education, conservation and research efforts. This work incorporates marine science education programmes, the turtle rehabilitation programme, and the Marine Wildlife Management Programme.
As a for-profit organisation, and receiving no funding from government, the Two Oceans Aquarium relies on income generated through footfall and other income streams such as functions and conferences.
Partnerships such as those with the Save Our Seas Foundation, Skretting and I&J (a founding partner) enable the aquarium to further its mission to take action and protect and conserve the ocean and the marine environment.
The aquarium primarily houses animals and plants found in the waters off the southern African coast and focuses on highlighting this diversity of life, some of which is found nowhere else in the world.
It also exposes some of the negative human impact on the ocean, such as plastic pollution and overfishing, and strives to educate about ways to mitigate these impacts.
Over the years, an average of around 45% of the aquarium’s visitors have been from outside of South Africa. This number has decreased dramatically as a result of the current Covid-19 pandemic, but the aquarium looks forward to welcoming international visitors back soon.
In 2019, the aquarium won the Gold Award for “Best Responsible Attraction” at the African Responsible Tourism Awards at World Travel Market, and also walked away with a Silver Award in the “Best for Global Goals Reporting” category.
Marketing manager Ingrid Sinclair said the aquarium means different things to different people, which makes marketing and operations both a joy and a challenge.
“On the one hand, we are a familiar, loved and trusted space for local families – as exhibited by our large annual membership base. On the other hand, we are seen as a world-class tourist attraction known for its values and educational messaging. In between, we are a place where you can scuba dive, receive a classroom lesson, see a puppet show, watch live music or attend a corporate function. Above all, our goal is that every single person who visits the aquarium, leaves with more love and respect for our life-giving ocean.”
Maryke Musson, the CEO of the Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation, said: “Today, they were celebrating the next 25 years of ocean passion, turtle rescues, underwater exploration, marine education, aquatic stories and blue planet inspiration while proudly looking back at 25 years of making a difference and connecting people to our world, right here at our home, our fishy family, our aquarium.
“Happy Birthday Two Oceans Aquarium!”
For more information, visit www.aquarium.co.za
– additional information by Tamlynne Thompson