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Tampa Bay-Lakeland
Business Observer Friday, Apr. 3, 2020 1 year ago

Tourist attraction marks 25th anniversary amid crisis

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Temporarily shuttered because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Florida Aquarium has served 17 million visitors since it was founded in 1995.

TAMPA — The Florida Aquarium celebrated 25 years in business last week with — because of social-distancing guidelines — a guest list consisting of a sea turtle, octopus and some otters and penguins. 

The Florida Aquarium's 25th anniversary celebration was a muted affair, with just a few staff members and animals in attendance. Courtesy photo.

Opening its doors on March 31, 1995, the aquarium has been a bedrock tourist attraction in Tampa’s Channel District, which is in the midst of a transformation into Water Street Tampa. However, the institution, like so many others, is temporarily closed to the public due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

More than 17 million people have visited the Florida Aquarium over the years, according to a press release, which says the venue tentatively plans to reopen on May 11. 

“The Florida Aquarium has served as a pillar of the community and catalyst for change over the past 25 years,” states Roger Germann, president and CEO of The Florida Aquarium, in the release. “Unfortunately, we mark this milestone anniversary in challenging times. Being temporarily closed to the public is certainly not how we envisioned celebrating our 25th anniversary, but we didn’t want this historic day to pass by without taking a moment to thank the community for its long-standing support, thank our founders and civic and community leaders for their vision, and thank our staff and volunteers for their dedication since opening day.”

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