Hawaii & Alaska
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News

AK - Alaska SeaLife Center's Mission Makes It More Than an Aquarium

When donors rallied to save the Seward institution, they extended a lifeline to valuable research, educational programs, and wildlife rescue and rehabilitation.

Since opening its doors in 1998, the Alaska SeaLife Center has become a favorite destination for visitors to Seward, much-loved by Alaskans and tourists alike.

How well loved? When the Center went public with a fundraising plea earlier this year, supporters came through with pledges that so far total more than double the institution’s emergency funding target.

“Our original goal was ‘$2 million or we close,’” said Alaska SeaLife Center President and CEO Tara Riemer. “Now we’re looking at $4 million definitely pledged. That is amazing.”

To the Center, that extra $2 million represents the difference between merely keeping the doors open and continuing to pursue the work in education, research and wildlife rescue -- much of it happening out of public view -- that is central to the organization’s mission.

Not just an aquarium

About 160,000 people visit the Alaska SeaLife Center every year to get up close and personal with seals and sea lions, marine birds, fish, and other Alaska ocean life. But the Center is much more than an aquarium.

Even if you’ve explored every square inch of the public viewing areas, you’ve only seen about half of what the organization does. Behind the scenes, Center teams are constantly at work on programs that advance the institution’s mission of education, wildlife response, and scientific research.

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