On 13 November 2016, the Two Oceans Aquarium will celebrate 21 years of operation. We have put together a series of blogs to look back on the remarkable journey.

David Green 

The Two Oceans Aquarium is owned by V&A Waterfront Holdings (Pty) Limited and Investec Bank. It operates as a private trust governed by a Board of Trustees. The V&A Waterfront CEO, David Green, is the chairperson of our board. 

“Working with the team is a constant reminder of the good we as humans can do, as well as the responsibility we have and the role we can play in conservation," said David. "A beautiful example of this in action was the recent release of the sharks, as well as the continual rescue and rehabilitation efforts of the team. Every creature is worth the effort."

When asked about what he thought about the new I&J Ocean Exhibit, David said: “What was fascinating for me was the formation and installation of the rock art in the new I&J Ocean Exhibit. It was a revelation that this is all South African expertise, developed locally when The Lost City was built in Sun City. The sardine bait ball is like an object of art, orchestrated by nature. The shoals of sardines shimmer and take on extraordinary artistic shapes as they move around the tank."

We couldn’t look back on these incredible times without thanking our corporate partners, whose generosity and shared vision continues to enable us to foster love, respect and understanding of our oceans. Through these associations we are able to offer our visitors world-class exhibits, maintain the high standards of our educational facilities and realise a comprehensive community outreach programme.

I&J

Founding partner I&J is also the naming sponsor for the I&J Ocean Exhibit. The fishing company was the driver in attaining the stringent sustainability Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification for the industry in 2004, and has played a key partnership role with the Aquarium since its opening in 1995. 

“We have partnered with the Aquarium because our vision for the ocean is very much in line with that of the Aquarium’s – we are committed to ensuring sustainability of both the ocean and its bounty, for generations to come. We look forward to being part of the Two Oceans Aquarium’s new era,” said I&J Managing Director Jonty Jankovich-Besan.

Ocean Basket

Ocean Basket has partnered with the Aquarium to bring visitors a “soleful” experience at the Ocean Basket Kelp Forest Exhibit. Ocean Basket is a proud SASSI restaurant supporter and provides its customers with information about sustainable seafood and making ocean-friendly choices.

"Working with the Aquarium team has made us more cognizant, as a brand and as consumers ourselves, of the dangers of plastic and balloons in our oceans. It has also made us appreciate and respect the oceans and what they provide us with," said Ocean Basket Brand Manager Morgan Wanckel.

The City of Cape Town

In partnership with the City of Cape Town, the Two Oceans Aquarium opened the Smart Living Challenge Zone in December 2015. This state-of-the-art exhibit is an interactive, original, playful way to create awareness around biodiversity, water, waste and electricity.

Our partnership goes back much further than that, though:

In partnership with the City of Cape Town, we opened the Children’s Puppet Theatre on 10 March 2003. This fully automated three-act marionette presentation depicted a young boy, Tshepo, who learns about various water-related dilemmas. Using humour and music, a cast of vibrant, colourful characters conveyed important environmental messages to the audience in an unusual and positive manner.

With the City of Cape Town and in recognition of WAZA’S (World Association of Zoos and Aquariums) Year of the Frog 2008, we opened our third large-scale temporary exhibit hall in September 2008. Frogs: Beyond the Pond was a themed and highly interactive gallery which immersed visitors in the world of frogs and invited them to “jump in” to find out more about these quirky yet extremely threatened creatures.

Asked what stands out for her about working with the Aquarium, Head of Environmental Capacity Building, Training & Education of the City of Cape Town’s Environmental Resource Management Department Lindie Buirski said: "The people! I also like that the exhibits are continually changing and evolving. The Aquarium people have become valued friends, as is only right after knowing each other for 20 years." 

Lindie's husband, Jerry Buirski (left, with their daughter), worked as a Technical Aquarist at the Aquarium for about five years. But the family's relationship with the Aquarium did not end there. Their daughter is pictured on the right, with Lindie, at an Aquarium sleepover many years later

The City of Cape Town's Senior Professional Officer: Water and Sanitation Johannes Prins said: "The very first partnership with the Aquarium, installing the puppet show for learners and realising how this will go a long way in changing behaviour, stands out for me. The many other opportunities post that, from launching the Smart Living Challenge Zone to bringing Expanded Public Works Programme workers and learners forming part of the Smart Living Drama Festival there will remain some of my personal highlights.

Johannes Prins

"The journey over the past few years has just been an incredible one, getting to know the passionate and dedicated management and staff and experiencing how they play a vital role in changing people’s attitude and behaviour towards our environment. I firmly believe that this is a world class facility in terms of education and awareness, and will continue to support their efforts."

The Smart Living programme has found additional eduactional outputs thanks to partnerships between the City and our Environmental Education Centre

Africa Organics

In our quest to reduce our impact on the environment, we have partnered with Africa Organics, which supplies us with hand wash for our visitors and staff and shampoo and conditioner for our divers. These products are 100% natural, preservative free, biodegradable and contain certified organic ingredients.

"I visited the Two Oceans Aquarium in early 2015. I was blown away by the amazing displays and information provided. My outstanding memory was seeing the penguins and finding the penguin from Happy Feet – in real life! I think a lot of people assume aquariums are just cages for humans’ selfish enjoyment," said Africa Organics' Karen Ridge. "The Two Oceans Aquarium has done a huge amount to teach people about the ocean, and what we can do as humans to protect the beautiful ocean species and the water. There is so much work to be done to protect our oceans and they are making the effort to teach and educate people about what is out there under that glassy blue blanket."

Bright Weights

Bright Weights provides Aquarium divers with innovative weight belts for use in the exhibits, on collection and research trips and for our Adventure Dive Programme

"We have always been very proud to be affiliated with such a special operation. The quality of dives and dive masters at the Aquarium are exceptional. The experience of diving in an exhibit is one that can never be recreated in nature. All the beautiful animals in one area, being able to watch guests from the inside, through the glass, makes one feel as if they were a sea creature. Unforgettable!" said Bright Weights' Jenna Wessels.  

Reef

Reef Wetsuits provides us with high-performance dive equipment to cater for the demands of our everyday work. From wetsuits, hoodies and booties to gloves and bags, Reef Wetsuits and accessories enable our aquarists to look great while getting the job done!

"We have been involved with the Aquarium for over a decade and our most memorable memory would have to be without a doubt diving in the shark exhibit [temporarily closed]. It is also great to watch all the kids around the Touch Pool and see how they interact and you can just see the joy and amazement all over their faces," said Reef's Grant Stringer. "Being a partner with the Aquarium has definitely influenced us personally and in business. We are constantly trying to decrease our carbon foot print for a more sustainable future for not only ourselves but also our kids."

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