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Texas State Aquarium receives major donation from AEP Foundation

by on June 11, 2015
This is an artist’s rendering of the $50 million Caribbean Journey addition (foreground) that will introduce Texas State Aquarium guests to the sights, sounds, and vibrant wildlife of the Western Caribbean. Its construction will complete the final two phases of the aquarium’s original master plan and will transform the Texas State Aquarium from a leading regional aquarium to one of the top aquariums in the nation.

(Story by Andy Heines)

A $50 million expansion to the Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi, Texas, is predicted to transform the facility to one of the top aquariums in the nation. Last week, the American Electric Power Foundation awarded $500,000 to the Aquarium to help fund the Caribbean Journey addition.

Tom Schmid, Texas State Aquarium president and chief executive officer, noted that AEP Texas supported the Aquarium even before its doors opened 25 years ago.

“Since 1987, AEP Texas has been consistently generous in helping us advance our mission of connecting people with nature and inspiring conservation of the Gulf of Mexico,” Schmid said. “This latest investment affirms the AEP Foundation’s commitment to environmental education, wildlife conservation and economic development in this community and throughout Texas.”

Wade Smith, AEP Texas president and chief operating officer, echoed Schmid’s sentiments about the partnership between the two organizations and noted that Tom Shockley, former AEP vice chairman, was president of the Texas State Aquarium Board of Trustees in 1989. Smith currently is on the Aquarium Board of Trustees.

On hand for the check presentation ceremony were (left to right) AEP Texas President and COO Wade Smith, Texas State Aquarium President and CEO Tom Schmid and AEP Texas External Affairs Manager Ken Griffin.

“The AEP Foundation supports projects that enhance quality of life and educational opportunities within the communities we serve, especially projects that are related to the sciences,” he said.

The major gift will sponsor the Shark & Stingray Touch Exhibit in the new Caribbean Journey building. The habitat will house coastal Caribbean sharks and stingrays that visitors can see and touch, in a thematic exhibit featuring limestone structures and a sandy bottom.

The addition will introduce aquarium guests to the sights, sounds, and vibrant wildlife of the Western Caribbean. Its construction will complete the final two phases of the aquarium’s original master plan.

In late 2012, the Texas State Aquarium launched the leadership phase of Campaign Caribbean, a capital campaign to raise the necessary funds for construction of the Caribbean Journey wing. At 65,000 square feet, the new Caribbean Journey wing will be significantly larger than the original Gulf of Mexico exhibit building, thus more than doubling the aquarium’s indoor exhibit space. The building will feature immersive, state-of-the-art exhibits, as well as the first 4D theater south of San Antonio.

From → News From AEP

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