Sea Turtle at The Living Planet Aquarium

Welcome to Our Blog

The Living Planet Aquarium inspires people to explore, discover and learn about Earth’s diverse ecosystems. We are dedicated to cultivating public interest in the environment, conservation, and the enhancement of our planet and its creatures through adoption, education, research and recreation.

Join us while on our blog where we explore the Earth’s many inhabitants- some of which reside at The Living Planet Aquarium and some that don’t- but all of which are important to our ecosystem.

The Living Planet Aquarium is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, dedicated to inspiring people to explore, discover and learn about Earth’s diverse ecosystems.

The Loveland Living Planet Aquarium

The biggest Aquarium topic on all of our minds right now is the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium being built in Draper, Utah, and opening in December of 2013.  To help keep you up-to-date on this exciting development, this blog will focus on news from the construction site and preparations being made for moving day from now until the grand opening.

 

Aquarium dignitaries at the groundbreaking ceremony

 

A successful groundbreaking ceremony was held in October 2012.  Jim Loveland, generous contributor and board member, and Brent Andersen, founder and CEO, along with several other dignitaries were the first to dig into the new site.

 

Jim Loveland and Brent Andersen

 

Now, construction is well underway.  Time-lapse cameras were installed at the site to capture the progress – check out some of the footage below.

 

 

For more information on this project, visit the Aquarium's website.

Meet our Aquarists

 

Trevor Erdmann and Danielle Guest are two of the aquarists for The Living Planet Aquarium. Aquarists are part of the husbandry team. Their duties include cleaning tanks, monitoring water quality, feeding the animals, monitoring animal health, and taking care of the filtration and plumbing systems. They are also involved in the design of new exhibits. Aquarists work mainly behind the scenes, but they do have a public role. The animal feedings that visitors can watch, such as the shark feeding and the octopus feeding, are done by aquarists.

 

Trevor feeds brine shrimp to the sea jellies

Trevor has been working at the aquarium for two months, but his first experience with the aquarium was as a husbandry intern when he was in high school. Trevor also has experience working as a volunteer aquarist at a salmon hatchery. He went to school in Alaska and has a degree in Marine Biology. Working as an aquarist is a busy gig. Trevor says that one of the biggest challenges of the job is “getting everything done in time.” Trevor's favorite job duties are food preparation and animal monitoring. “I love to watch the animals,” says Trevor. “It's so relaxing and rewarding.” For those aspiring to work as an aquarist, Trevor suggests interning and volunteering in high school. He also recommends a degree in a related field. “This might lead you to the coast for your education,” says Trevor. Trevor emphasizes the importance of having a flexible schedule. “These animals don't take a day off,” says Trevor. “They need care every day. Everyone here is all about making sure these animals are healthy and happy.” Trevor's favorite animal at the aquarium is the white-tip reef shark. “It was a baby back when I was an intern,” he says.

 

 

Danielle checks on Toukee the aracari in his

behind the scenes enclosure

Danielle started at the aquarium about a year ago. Before that, she interned at a zoo and two wildlife rehabilitation centers. She also worked in a seasonal position as a snowy plover monitor. She attended college in California and has her bachelor's degree in Animal Science with a minor in Biology. There are many parts of the job that Danielle enjoys. “I love feeding,” says Danielle, “and enrichment.” Enrichment is when a new object or element is introduced into an enclosure that the animals can interact with. This helps the animals stay active – physically and mentally. Danielle says that the most challenging part of the job is when she must say goodbye to one of the animals. Although animals in captivity have much longer lifespans than those in the wild, they don’t live forever. “This is something that everyone who works with animals has to learn to deal with,” says Danielle. If you are up to the challenge and wish to pursue a career as an aquarist, Danielle has some advice. “Start getting as much experience with animals as you can,” she says. “Also, a degree helps. It sets you apart from many others who want a job in this field.” Among the animals at the aquarium, Danielle has “lots of favorites,” but she especially loves the penguins, the Boreal toads, and Toukee the aracari.

 

For more information about employment opportunities at The Living Planet Aquarium contact Tannen Ellis at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or visit our website at http://thelivingplanet.com/index.php/jobs.

Behind the Scenes: Designing a World Class Aquairum

 

 

The Living Planet Aquarium is in the process of building a new 136,000 square foot aquarium, located in Draper, Utah, just off 12300 S. and I-15. Along with many more animals, the facility will include themed galleries, interactive exhibits, spaces for educational programs and events, and more. The construction team broke ground on October 24, 2012, but that was by no means the beginning.

 

 

It had always been a goal of CEO Brent Andersen to create a world class aquarium for Utah. Early in the process, Brent and the designers had to determine what the new building and its exhibits would look like. Senior Digital Media Specialist Ari Robinson and Art Director Chris Barela began developing concept art to bring some of the design ideas to life several years ago. The inspiring images you now see started out as nothing more than sketches in notebooks or on white boards. Some images could not be fully realized on paper and were made into physical 3D models. Some were transformed into computer graphics. Ari and Chris collaborated with and gathered feedback from staff, designers, architects, donors, and visitors. The ideas went through many iterations before the team made final renderings to share with the public and blueprints for construction.

 

Sketch of Discover Utah exhibits

 

Slot canyon cross section 

Sketch of cave exhibit

 

The exterior of the building is designed for both visibility and to convey a theme. “We wanted the building to be easy to spot, to become a recognizable landmark for visitors,” Ari said. “We designed a flowing shape and curved structure to give a fluid and aquatic feel without being literal. We wanted to avoid using specific ocean-related objects. Instead, the curve could evoke the fin of a shark, a crescent moon, or something else, leaving much to the visitor's imagination.”

 

 

Once the size of the aquarium was determined, the shape of the exhibits and the exterior evolved together. The designers have created a plan to best utilize the space. There will be several exhibit galleries, including Journey to South America, Discover Utah, Ocean Explorer, Deep Sea Gallery, and a Changing Exhibits Gallery that will host new exhibits every year. “Each gallery focuses on telling a story, and each exhibit within that gallery helps to tell it,” said Chris. All of the animals from the current aquarium will all be moving to the new aquarium, and part of the designers' work involved re-using much of what is in the current building. The current penguin tank will become the new caiman tank, while the caimans' old tank will become the new anaconda tank, each animal getting an upgrade in the process. For the penguins, sharks, and otters, new larger tanks have been designed as the centerpieces of their galleries.

 

 

Model of bridge in Discover Utah gallery

 

Discover Utah gallery

 

According to Ari and Chris, the biggest challenge in the design process is scope. “The project is almost overwhelmingly large,” said Ari. “The space is huge, and for each design element, we have to consider all of the details.” Chris shared an example. “The Discover Utah gallery will contain a slot canyon that visitors can travel through. Where exactly in the gallery will it be located? What will its twists and turns look like? All of this must be mapped out beforehand.” The process of imagining these elements continues behind the scenes, while digging begins on-site. The physical building has just begun, but the plans needed to realize it are well on their way to completion.

 

Ari and model of South America gallery

 

Rendering of South America gallery