Who We Are
The Florida Aquarium, a 501c (3) non-profit organization, is actively engaged in stewardship of the natural environment as a conservation-based attraction with mission programs that include conservation, research, education and outreach. With a keen focus on delivering world-class animal care to thousands of animals, The Florida Aquarium welcomes visitors to experience a wide variety of aquatic and terrestrial animals with the goal of building awareness and inspiring action for species and habitat conservation. For edutainment, guests will also explore complex ecosystems, engage with interactive and informational exhibits and search for wild dolphins in Tampa Bay. More than a must-see attraction, The Florida Aquarium is working to protect and restore our blue planet through conservation efforts that included ground-breaking research and rescue efforts that help restore Florida’s coral and sea turtle populations.
We are committed to saving marine wildlife.
To be Florida’s leading conservation-based aquarium.
Our three core values of respect, trust and excellence provide the foundation of our culture. It is the defining behaviors within each and the actions we take that help develop our culture.
- everyone through courtesy, fairness and professionalism
- fostering a positive, supportive and encouraging environment
- our collection and the environment with high ethics and standards
- recognizing and appreciating our contributions
- in collaborative teamwork amongst departments
- ourselves to listen attentively and communicate openly
- the integrity, honesty and abilities of each other
- each other to manage all our resources effectively
- by taking accountability for our actions
- by making the best-informed decisions
- by proactively seeking opportunities and solutions to challenges
- through the courage to innovate and change
Meet our executive leadership who are focused on building a world-class conservation-based Aquarium, conservation research leader and strong community partner.Meet the Leaders
Meet our experts! The Florida Aquarium engages some of the most respected and revered professionals in animal health and care, conservation and education.Meet the Experts
Meet our Board of Directors! Their passion and belief that fulfilling our mission is fundamental to our success has helped us become one of the most respected non-profit public aquariums in the nation.Meet the Board
The Florida Aquarium began as the Clearwater Marine Science Center (CMSC), a private non-profit educational organization located on Clearwater Beach, Florida, in 1977. The CMSC Board approved an expansion plan in 1985 that would include the development of a world-class facility to successfully compete in the Florida marketplace. Poised to become a nationally recognized educational facility, The Florida Aquarium, Inc. was incorporated on December 12, 1986, as a separate not-for-profit organization.
After many years of negotiations, planning and design, The Florida Aquarium opened in Tampa on March 31, 1995. Serving one million residents and visitors to the Tampa Bay area in its first year of operation, The Florida Aquarium provided a positive economic impact of $60-million to the community.
Over years, The Florida Aquarium has continued to evolve; regularly enhancing the guest experience with new and engaging animal ambassadors, exhibitry, entertainment opportunities and mission-based programming. Throughout, The Florida Aquarium has embraced its role not only as an educational facility but also as a leader in conservation. Today, visitors enjoy an immersive experience that entertains and inspires.
- The Florida Aquarium was accredited by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA) in March 1997
- In 2003, the Aquarium began the “Dive with the Sharks” program
- In March 2004, a children’s outdoor water fun zone opened
- In 2010, the Aquarium christened its new eco-tour boat, Bay Spirit II, used for private events and daily Wild Dolphin Cruises
- In December 2010, The Florida Aquarium educated its one-millionth child
- In September 2012, The Florida Aquarium, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Tampa Electric created a landmark partnership and announced plans for a brand-new Florida conservation and technology park. Known today as the Florida Conservation and Technology Center
- On October 8, 2014, The Florida Aquarium celebrated the opening of the Carol J. and Barney Barnett Learning Center
- In January 2019, The Florida Aquarium opened the Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Center in Apollo Beach, strengthening its commitment and capacity to save endangered species in Florida and across the country
- On June 8, 2019, the Aquarium premiered Moon Bay, one of only four moon jelly touch experiences in the U.S.
- In August 2019, The Florida Aquarium, in partnership with Project Coral, became the first to successfully spawn critically endangered pillar coral in a laboratory
- In April 2020, the Aquarium became the first organization in history to reproduce and film larvae of ridged cactus coral
- In May 2020, the Aquarium became the first organization in history to induce spawning of grooved brain coral
- In February 2021, a new exhibit “Restoring Florida’s Coral Reefs” opened at the Aquarium, allowing guests to learn more about the third largest barrier reef in the world- Florida’s Reef Tract, the Aquarium’s ongoing and innovative Coral Conservation and the 100 Yards of Hope Project
- In May 2021, the opening of Coral Greenhouse #3 to expand the Aquarium’s capabilities to raise coral in support of Project Coral and the Florida Reef Tract restoration
- In May 2021, a collaborative restoration initiative between scientists from The Florida Aquarium and the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, grooved brain corals rescued from a disease outbreak and maintained in human care have been bred for the first time with wild corals that survived the disease; raising hopes for restoring genetic diversity and increasing disease resistance on Florida’s reefs
- In June 2021, the opening of the Rooftop Terrace after installing more than 1,100 solar panels thanks to a partnership with Tampa Electric and Hillsborough County