Facing the Future
Understandably proud of this phase of the renovation, Meier is sincere in saying he hopes to include the equipment room as part of his behind-the-scenes tours. But that’s just one small component of a truly ambitious set of long-term plans for the facility.
There’s no question that the Clearwater Marine Aquarium’s wonderful programs touch every human emotion and serve a wide range of needs in a positive way. Despite tremendous growth and development, however, the aquarium remains a working, “neighborhood” facility – a place where children and adults alike can visit any time to wonder at the never-ending diversity, grace and beauty of creatures of the sea.
The filter project for the marine mammal pool is now complete, and the renovation to the turtle hospital is underway. As part of its ongoing fund drive, the aquarium received a $100,000 grant from the city to pay for renovations to the habitat for Mo, an endangered loggerhead turtle, as well as an expanded deck over the lagoon that surrounds the facility.
It’s slow work, said Meier, but with a combination of community support and corporate sponsorship, it’s all coming together. The filter project for the dolphin pool was an early step in the right direction, but there are many more habitats that need new filter systems – so it looks as though I’ll be back in Clearwater several times in the next five years and will have the opportunity to watch this whole, soul-satisfying renovation project unfold.