Today, 13 November 2020, we're celebrating our 25th birthday! On 13 November 1995, the Two Oceans Aquarium opened its doors to the public for the very first time, and we've since welcomed more than 6 million South African visitors and 4 million tourists - firmly becoming a favourite attraction with both local and international travellers.

“It is incredible to think that the Two Oceans Aquarium is a quarter of a century old. It has grown into a much-loved and well-respected facility with conservation, education and research at its heart. We have many achievements to celebrate and these achievements have been made possible by our visitors, our members who have chosen to become part of the Aquarium family, our partners who have assisted us in growing the Aquarium’s reputation locally and internationally, and our staff and volunteers who have dedicated themselves to saving the ocean. Thank you for all your support over the years and we look forward to even greater achievements in the next 25 years,” said Michael Farquhar, CEO of the Two Oceans Aquarium.

It all began here at the V&A Waterfront, 25 years ago.

Our vision of “abundant and healthy oceans”, and mission “to inspire action for the future well-being of our oceans” have always been at the heart of our organisation's drive to be a force of positive conservation action and environmental education. In 2018, to further grow this vision, the Aquarium established the non-profit Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation to grow our education, conservation and research efforts. This work incorporates the already well-established and respected marine science education programmes, the turtle rehabilitation programme, and the Marine Wildlife Management Programme.

Our newest partner, and sponsor of an old-favourite, the Save Our Seas Foundation Shark Exhibit, helps us continue our work in creating awareness around the issues affecting our ocean.

We have always chosen to primarily house animals and plants found in the waters off the southern African coast and to celebrate this rich diversity of life, some of which is found nowhere else in the world. To aid us in communicating, sharing and instilling a love and appreciation of the local marine environment with others, we've always relied on a strong relationship with our visitors, who are at the heart of everything we do, and with strategic partners, such as founding partner I&J, the Save Our Seas Foundation and Skretting.

Isn’t it hard to believe that the Aquarium has been part of South Africans’ lives for a quarter of a century already? For us, time has flown. The best part of our job has been watching you, your children and your grandchildren grow up in front of our eyes. Some of you came here as children – with your parents, or as part of a school group visit – and now you are bringing your own children to experience and explore the magic of Southern Africa’s underwater world. We are incredibly proud to be a part of these personal journeys.

The ever-popular I&J Ocean Exhibit started as a place where visitors could see the life that inhabits South Africa's subtropical seas but has become so much more - a temporary home to turtles being rehabilitated by the Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation, a safe space where many people have learned to scuba dive for the first time, and a place where tens of thousands of school children have learned how their lives are connected to the ocean.

“The Aquarium is many different things to many different people, which makes marketing and operations both a supreme joy and a challenge. On the one hand, we are a familiar, loved and trusted space for local families – as exhibited by our large annual membership base. On the other hand, we are seen as a world-class tourist attraction known for its values and educational messaging. In between, we are a place where you can scuba dive, receive a classroom lesson, see a puppet show, watch live music or attend a corporate function. Above all, our goal is that every single person who visits the Aquarium, leaves with more love and respect for our life-giving ocean,” said Ingrid Sinclair, Marketing Manager of the Two Oceans Aquarium.

It's difficult to imagine the diversity of South Africa's oceans, and our Kelp Forest Exhibit offers an incredible look into one of our most unique ocean habitats, the Great African Sea Forest, in the Southern Hemisphere's only living kelp forest exhibit.

Looking forward, there is always room to grow and to be innovative in finding ways to communicate the Aquarium’s messages of education, conservation and research. Whether it is through its exhibits, the Aquarium Foundation, public talks or its highly informative website and social media networks, the Aquarium will continue to strengthen its footing within Cape Town, South Africa as well as the international aquarium and tourism communities. We're looking forward to sharing another 25 years with you!

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