The gigantic, eye-catching blue and yellow tents adjacent to the Santa Monica Pier for tonight’s debut of Cirque de Soleil’s “Totem” stand boldly and have caught the eye of many a passerby.
In light of Cirque de Soleil’s new home in the parking lot north of the pier through March 16, a philanthropic partnership has budded between the world-famous entertainment company and the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium. Alongside this new partnership are coming a variety of benefits to offer to the surrounding community.
This Saturday, Jan. 18 the Pier Aquarium will reveal a brand new exhibit in one of its remodeled rooms.
The Watershed Exhibit, located in the newly renovated Dorothy Green Room, will boast two sections of live animals as well as interactive activities in order to engage visitors with the realities of marine life.
In fact, one of the exhibit’s components includes an exploration of how human activity affects the ocean. This aligns with the goals of Heal the Bay, the non-profit environmental organization that acquired the Pier Aquarium in 2003 and seeks to promote the safety and cleanliness of Southern California beaches through education and awareness.
To celebrate this unveiling, Cirque de Soleil is courteously sponsoring the grand opening and offering free admission to all visitors during the aquarium’s hours from 12:30 pm to 5 pm this Saturday.
In the month of February, the partnership between the Pier Aquarium and Cirque de Soleil will gift to the community free admission on Fridays. And to further educate the public about the relationship between man and marine life, Cirque will be sponsoring five educational field trips to the Aquarium to local, low-income schools.
Students from these schools will likely have very little experience with the ocean, therefore making for fertile teaching grounds. With education and awareness as two significant components of this partnership, locals should take no hesitation in taking advantage of the free admission dates and learning a little more about the titanic body of water they reside so close to.
In lieu of these several upcoming events, Cirque performers visited the Aquarium’s Watershed Exhibit on Tuesday, exploring the exhibit, interacting with marine life, and witnessing firsthand a huge part of what characterizes Santa Monica: the beach environment.
Remaining in character and decked out in colorful, elaborate costumes, the Cirque performers were able to take a breather from their strenuous training. They graciously sacrificed some of their precious time and playfully struck some poses in the Aquarium for the press in order to represent the collaboration between the renowned circus arts company and the beachside city they are now calling home for the next two months.
Needless to say, this looks like the beginning of a beautiful relationship. It’s a smart, valuable, and of course very gracious move for Cirque to invest in the places that they are touring in – fortunately, this partnership will be able to benefit both the surrounding community as well as the Cirque performers and producers, who can hopefully forge a true and lasting relationship with the places they visit and people they perform for.
The aquarium is located a 1600 Ocean Front Walk, underneath the Pier Bridge.
For more information, visit www.healthebay.org/santa-monica-pier-aquarium.