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The Florida Aquarium Announces a $500,000 Gift from Jeff and Penny Vinik for the Rising Tides Capital Campaign

by Staff Writer / Tampa Bay Lightning

The Florida Aquarium announced today that Jeff and Penny Vinik have made a $500,000 donation to the Aquarium’s Rising Tides Capital Campaign. The $15 million campaign, the first in the Aquarium’s 17 year history, will fund the necessary growth and renovation of the Aquarium with the mission based focus of expanding their education and conservation efforts.

“As an ever present staple of stewardship in this community, Jeff and Penny Vinik have once again invested in the future of this area with this generous gift” said Thom Stork, President and CEO of The Florida Aquarium. “Their gracious contribution will play a pivotal role in our conservation and education efforts and represent a true investment in the future of The Florida Aquarium and the Tampa Bay Area.”

Jeff and Penny Vinik’s donation has propelled The Florida Aquarium’s Rising Tides Capital Campaign past the halfway mark. Since the campaign was announced last year, The Florida Aquarium has raised $8 million of the $15 million necessary to successfully complete the expansion and renovation.

“As Penny and I begin to establish our home in Tampa Bay, we are happy to assist the Rising Tides Capital Campaign,” said Jeff Vinik, Chairman and Governor of the Tampa Bay Lightning. “We look to contribute to the greater good of this community and we support the Aquarium’s education and conservation missions because they will positively touch so many people in the Bay area.”

The Aquarium’s Rising Tides expansion plans include 35,000-sq-ft of new space and 10,000-sq-ft of renovated space including the lobby and main entrance. In addition to the Carol and Barney Barnett Learning Center and the Mosaic Center conference/event space, the campaign will include a new traveling exhibit space to showcase aquatic ecosystems and marine animals from around the world.

Groundbreaking for the Aquarium expansion is slated for September 2012 with sequenced and consecutive construction projects to be underway for four years. Construction is slated for completion in the fall of 2016.

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