For Santa Monica residents and visitors, the beach and Heal the Bay’s Santa Monica Pier Aquarium are unforgettable landmarks.
Heal the Bay acquired the aquarium in 2003 and has been operating it ever since, which helped expand its efforts to spread awareness about its initiatives such as its beach clean up days.
Heal the Bay is currently wrapping up its 30th year of effective, passionate, science-driven environmental advocacy.
As part of the celebrations, there is one last opportunity to visit its aquarium for free: Wednesday, Dec. 2 from 2 pm to 5 pm. Free admission has been offered on the first Wednesday of each month in 2015 courtesy of a sponsorship by Wells Fargo.
As part of Heal the Bay’s ongoing efforts, the non-profit holds monthly coastal cleanup days to help the community understand the importance of unified action.
In its infancy, Heal the Bay’s founder Dorothy Green led the charge to require L.A.’s Hyperion Treatment Plant to stop dumping barely treated sewage into the Bay.
Today, sewage pollution levels have decreased by more than 90 percent, resulting in a cleaner, healthier Santa Monica Bay for everyone who enjoys the coastal waters – and for the local marine life.
“It’s hard to imagine a Santa Monica resident who hasn’t come in contact with Heal the Bay in this 30-year span,” said Randi Parent, Santa Monica Pier Aquarium Outreach Manager. “Our volunteers who work with the Speakers’ Bureau Program give talks in schools and to community groups; our trademarked Beach Report Card gives beach goers weekly information on water quality at all Santa Monica beaches – and at nearly 450 other beaches along the coast; and the community always turns out for monthly beach cleanups and the annual Coastal Cleanup Day (the biggest volunteer day on the planet), which Heal the Bay coordinates for all of LA County.”
When Heal the Bay acquired the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium in 2003, another Heal the Bay touch point became accessible to all Santa Monicans.
“The Aquarium sees thousands of Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District students each year who visit for marine science field trips,” Parent said. “And residents visit during the Aquarium’s public hours as well, often becoming members who return for the Aquarium’s special themed weekend events, or just drop by to visit on a weekday afternoon to check out the more than 100 local marine species on exhibit.”
For anyone who has never stepped foot in the aquarium, it is a learning experience for all ages, and tailored to the needs of each age group. Elementary school children can take field trips to learn about marine life while three to five year olds are able to take marine science classes. There are themed weekends, and more than 100 local marine exhibits.
People have been so deeply affected and fascinated by what they’ve learned at the aquarium, they’ve become volunteers.
Heal the Bay is always welcoming new volunteers – and there are many levels of involvement available through Heal the Bay and at the Aquarium, which is located on 1600 Ocean Front Walk on the beach level, which is beneath the historic Carousel at the Pier.
Aquarium hours: Closed Mondays; Tuesday – Friday 2 pm to 5 pm; Weekends: 12:30 pm to 5 pm.
Admission: Free for kids under 13 when accompanied by an adult. All others: $5 per person. Groups of 10 or more: $3 per person, regardless of age.
For more information on Heal the Bay, the aquarium, and volunteer opportunities, visit http://www.healthebay.org/get-involved-2.