Texas State Aquarium wins first Bizzy Award
The Texas State Aquarium was awarded best Non-Profit Business of the Year at the 2016 inaugural Bizzy Awards on Dec. 6. The awards dinner and cocktail reception is hosted by the United Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce, which created the event to recognize outstanding businesses and community leaders in the Coastal Bend.
Other winners were Marry Zimmerman Afuso, Linda Reyes Benavides, Lisa Cooper, Lauren Martinez, Silvia A. Martinez, Reese Rocha and Charlie Zahn. Businesses awarded along with the aquarium were Radiology and Associates, Hurricane Alley Waterpark, C.C. Staples Management and Rita’s Ice Custard.
The Texas State Aquarium was chosen because of the difference it makes in the Corpus Christi community and the world, announced the chamber. The aquarium focuses on education for a healthy ocean and society and supports clean-energy choices, trash-free coasts and beaches, sustainable seafood and more.
Daily presentations teach visitors about marine life and conservation. The aquarium also hosts events such as World Oceans Day, Party for the Planet and Green Halloween, where it shows films, hosts scavenger hunts and plays games with an underlying message about environmentalism.
Each year, the aquarium hosts beach clean-ups for the Texas General Land Office, specifically adopting the beach at Packary Channel Park. Employees clean North Beach, where the aquarium is located, several times a year.
On Earth Day this year, the aquarium ditched plastic water bottles and made a switch to the brand Boxed Water is Better. At the gift shop, restaurant and during events, thirsty guests can purchase water in easy-to-recycle paper cartons. The aquarium wants to encourage visitors to take a pass on plastic.
BEHIND THE SCENESAlso this year, the aquarium brought two new dolphins into their family. The trainers are dedicated to bond with the dolphins, assist in their medical needs and provide an array of toys and exercises for enrichment. Trainers spend up to 12 hours a day with their animals.
A few miles away from the aquarium, the Second Chances Wildlife Rehabilitation program has helped more than 4,000 animal patients since it opened in 2005. Wildlife care specialists and a full-time veterinarian treat injured animals, including shore birds, raptors, turtles and other marine life, in a fully equipped surgical suite at the center. The animals are cared for until they are ready to be released or placed in a new home.
In addition to its full-time staff, the Texas State Aquarium runs on volunteer power. Since its inception in 1990, volunteers have logged more than 500,000 hours at both the aquarium and Second Changes. Today, there are more than 200 active volunteers greeting visitors, answering questions and caring for the animals.
SEE IT TO BELIEVE ITThe Texas State Aquarium is a must-see spot for visitors and locals alike. Exhibits include an underwater viewing room at Dolphin Bay, soaring hawks and other animals at the Hawn Wild Flight Theater, divers feeding fish in the Flower Gardens tank, sting ray and shark touch tanks, an otter show, sea turtles, alligators and more.
Tentacles, one of the newest exhibits, opened in July. It features various jellyfish, cuttlefish, a giant Pacific octopus and a jellyfish touch tank.
Currently, the Texas State Aquarium is making progress on its new Caribbean exhibit, which is set for completion in early 2017. The $50 million project will double the size of the aquarium and is expected to bring in an additional 150,000 visitors a year.
The Texas State Aquarium is located at 2710 N. Shoreline Blvd. on North Beach in Corpus Christi. Admission is $23.95 for ages 13 and older; $21.95 for seniors and military members; $16.95 for ages 3-12; and free for ages 2 and younger as well as aquarium members. Parking is $5.For more information, call (361) 881-1200 or (800) 477-GULF (4853). Visit the website at texasstateaquarium.org.
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