The Pier Aquarium, Inc., operating as the Marine Exploration Center of St. Petersburg, Florida, will serve as the epicenter and public face 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 in the Southeast. The new marine attraction will engage visitors through interactive experiences, combining real-time scientific research, hands-on experiments and vibrant marine animals into fun exhibits that encourage visitors to solve the intriguing mysteries found in the waters of our planet.
From 1988 to the closing of the St. Petersburg Pier in 2013, over 4 million visitors participated in The Pier Aquarium’s formal and informal marine science educational experiences - discovering the wonders of marine life from the local to the global. The 2,000 sq. ft. facility provided community marine education and special events and built incredible public interest in the ocean environment during a time of increased awareness and concern about our planet and man’s relationship to it.
To continue its mission beyond the closure of the pier, an expansion was planned by The Pier Aquarium Board of directors. The organization would become The Secrets of the Sea Marine Exploration Center and Aquarium, and move to John’s Pass Village in Madeira Beach, Florida - but this was ultimately not to be the new home for The Pier Aquarium. The Port of St. Petersburg, located on Bayboro Harbor and adjacent to the USF College of Marine Science, provides unique opportunities for the Marine Exploration Center to offer fresh, exciting, and diverse marine-centric experiences to the public. The family-friendly attraction will bring the public, particularly students, into the Bayboro district, sharing the beautiful and currently underutilized waterfront location with the St. Petersburg community.
ABOUT THE ST. PETERSBURG OCEAN TEAM:
The St. Petersburg Ocean Team is 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.
The Marine Exploration Center of St. Petersburg will be the public face for the research being conducted by The Ocean Team. Our facility will translate complex scientific information on the oceans, aquatic animals, conservation and up-to-date environmental issues into fun, easy-to-understand marine exploration stations, which will delight residents and visitors.
Members of The Ocean Team include the Marine Exploration Center of St. Petersburg Florida, NOAA-National Marine Fisheries Service, USF College of Marine Science, Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission, United States Geological Survey, Florida Institute of Oceanography, U.S. Coast Guard, City of St. Petersburg, SRI International, IOI-International Ocean Institute, USF St. Petersburg, USF-Research & Innovation, Eckerd College Marine Science Department, and the Tampa Bay Estuary Program.
Many of The Ocean Team agencies have found a home in St. Petersburg's Bayboro Harbor. The Marine Exploration Center will offer these agencies even greater exposure for their research in a fun, family-centered environment.