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The Pier Aquarium animals to be relocated | Events

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The Pier Aquarium animals to be relocated
The Pier Aquarium animals to be relocated

St. Petersburg, Florida --After 25 years and 14 million visitors, The Pier Aquarium, located at The Pier in downtown St. Petersburg since 1988, will close its doors on May 31, 2013.

Construction has begun on a new 13,500 square foot attraction in John’s Pass Village in Madeira Beach, Florida, called Secrets of the Sea Marine Exploration Center and Aquarium, scheduled for grand opening in the fall of 2013. In the interim, The Pier Aquarium staff is making arrangements for temporary housing for these marine animals while the new tanks and exhibits are being designed and constructed.

“We are sending our animals on a much-deserved vacation before their big move to Secrets of the Sea,” said E. Howard Rutherford, President and CEO of Secrets of the Sea. “These are the final days for our members, supporters and friends in the community to visit us at The Pier and see our beautiful marine collection in this setting one last time.”

All of the approximately 60 fish of different species and more than 200 invertebrate animals including snails, hermit crabs, sea stars and coral will relocate to their new home at Secrets of the Sea, where they will join new animal acquisitions that will triple the number of animals currently on display at The Pier Aquarium.

According to Butch Ringelspaugh, Curator of Exhibits at The Pier Aquarium and Secrets of the Sea, The Pier Aquarium animals will be located in temporary homes until Secrets of the Sea nears completion. Most of the animals will be housed at a new 1,100-gallon tank located on the USF St. Petersburg campus. The remaining animals will be housed at the USF College of Marine Science, Madeira Beach Recreation Center and Suncoast Aquarium Supply. The aquarists will have approximately 45 days to complete the move to the temporary locations after The Pier’s closure.

“The most challenging aspect is moving the tanks,” Ringelspaugh said. “Transport of the animals is a relatively easy process because many of our fish come from all around the world, so a short trip down the street or across town is nothing to them. Our goal is to make the move as less stressful for them as possible.”

The Secrets of the Sea aquarists will continue to care for the animals in their temporary locations while they await their big move to Madeira Beach. Ringelspaugh will oversee the construction and purchase of 13 new tanks for Secrets of the Sea to be in place for grand opening. The Pier Aquarium’s longtime aquarium manufacturer, Suncoast Aquarium Supply of Clearwater, is building many of the tanks.

Secrets of the Sea will continue the mission of The Pier Aquarium and will serve as the epicenter for marine research, technology and innovation in the Southeast United States through its partnership with The St. Petersburg Ocean Team, the premier consortium for marine science, oceanographic, and environmental research agencies and institutions in the Southeast and one of the top such industry clusters in the nation. Secrets of the Sea is the “public face” for the research being conducted by The Ocean Team, translating scientific information about the ocean, aquatic animals, conservation and up-to-date environmental issues in an engaging and entertaining way to students, teachers, residents and visitors.

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