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December 1, 2023
The Florida Aquarium


Tampa, FL (December 1, 2023) – The Florida Aquarium is honored to announce Jeff and Penny Vinik through the Vinik Family Foundation have made a major leadership gift in the amount of $1.5 million to support the Aquarium’s $45M Sea Change capital fundraising campaign.

“We are incredibly grateful to Jeff, Penny and the Vinik family for their generous support of our largest animal/exhibit-centric expansion in our 28-year history. Their endorsement and investment in The Florida Aquarium’s shared purpose inspires our team to do even more on behalf of our community and marine wildlife,” said Roger Germann, President & CEO. “Tampa Bay deserves a world-class Aquarium where residents, school children and tourists can connect with animals, learn about the natural world, and have fun. Their donation ensures we fulfill that promise for future generations.”

Scheduled to open in Spring/Summer 2025, the new state-of-the-art, two-story puffin exhibit will be named in honor of the Vinik Family Foundation. Like several bird’s native to Florida, Atlantic puffins are listed as threatened, and the new puffin exhibit will allow The Florida Aquarium to engage in puffin conservation efforts and tell their story in support of local efforts to protect and preserve native birds in our backyard.

“The Florida Aquarium plays a vital role in our community, inspiring conservation efforts and providing educational experiences for people of all ages,” said Jeff and Penny Vinik. “This new chapter for the Florida Aquarium reflects a commitment to the growth and enrichment of Tampa Bay and a dedication to preserving the natural wonders of our region for future generations. We are elated to be a partner toward that vision.”

In 2022, The Florida Aquarium announced a multi-year capital expansion and renovation project that will transform the guest experience and further the Aquarium’s vision and shared purpose. The first new experience, MORPH’D presented by PAR, opened in July 2023 and groundbreaking on the puffin, sea lion and penguin habitats and gallery addition is scheduled for late spring 2024. The $45M project is scheduled to be completed by late 2025/early 2026.

The Sea Change capital fundraising campaign, chaired by developer and philanthropist Darryl Shaw, remains in the leadership phase and the Vinik Family Foundation announcement is the first of several upcoming major gift announcements in support of the Aquarium.

Contact The Florida Aquarium communications@flaquarium.org

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