Atlantic City Aquarium at Historic Gardner’s Basin to Unveil New $25,000 Cape Bank Sponsored Traveling Touch Tank Exhibit
Looking back, Lisa Schall will tell you that the call she received on that spring morning two years ago was not wholly unexpected. On that day, the Atlantic City Aquarium’s “makeshift” Traveling Touch Tank Exhibit (then called “Oceans In Motion”) was on its way to a school in Mays Landing, NJ. The call informed Schall that the exhibit would not reach its destination or, for that matter, any other ever again.
Recently, thanks to a $25,000 Sponsorship Agreement reached last spring with Cape Bank, the Aquarium unveiled its new Traveling Touch Tank Exhibit. Atlantic City Mayor Donald A. Guardian and children from Atlantic City’s Public Schools will be on hand at Historic Gardner’s Basin to take part in rolling out the spectacular new exhibit, which is bigger and better than anyone could have imagined.
“The Traveling Touch Tank Exhibit is an integral part of our mission to educate people throughout the region,” said Schall, who is Assistant Executive Director/Chief Financial Officer for the Atlantic City Aquarium at Historic Gardner's Basin. “It’s designed to teach them about the wonders of marine life, much of which can be found right here in South Jersey.
“Our Traveling Touch Tank Exhibit also plays a key role in helping market the Aquarium, encouraging people throughout the region to visit and experience all that the Aquarium and our Gardner’s Basin neighbors have to offer,” Schall continued. “Cape Bank’s willingness to sponsor our new exhibit really got us out of a big bind. We will always be grateful for their support during what was truly a time of need.”
The New Traveling Touch Tank Exhibit is housed within an enclosed trailer that has been wrapped with colorful Aquarium images that are sure to catch everyone’s eye as it travels throughout Southern Jersey. The trailer, which is generally towed by a flat bed truck, is an impressive 18 feet in length and 8 1/2 feet in width, with an inside height of 8 feet (exterior 10 feet top to bottom) – literally dwarfing the old exhibit.
The touch tank itself is accessed by lifting a large panel on the side of the trailer, which then serves to shield visitors from the elements. The inside additionally houses half a dozen display areas for educational materials.
“Cape Bank has always believed our biggest investment should be in the communities in which we live and work,” said Michael D. Devlin, President and Chief Executive Officer of Cape Bank. “The Aquarium was in need in terms of educating our children and helping promote the Aquarium and Historic Gardner’s Basin, both key resources in attracting visitors to Atlantic City and the region. When we were asked to sponsor their new Traveling Touch Tank Exhibit, we didn’t hesitate for a moment. We are proud to have the Cape Bank name associated with such a wonderful and important educational and tourism program.”
The Atlantic City Historical Waterfront Foundation (ACHWF), which operates the Atlantic City Aquarium, has been committed to providing educational Marine and Environmental Science out-reach programs throughout the state of New Jersey since 1979.
The Traveling Touch Tank Exhibit has been in great demand since its inception 15 years ago. The exhibit programming offers personal attention and close contact with Aquarium animals and artifacts, while also supporting New Jersey State Core Curriculum Standards.
The Traveling Touch Tank Exhibit provides an understanding of the tidal environment in which we live and the organisms that populate our waters. Its supporting equipment is specially designed to safely transport the organisms, which can include Horseshoe Crabs, Purple Sea Urchins, Forbes Sea Stars, Spider Crabs, Channeled and Knobbed Whelks. This hands-on program encourages touching the animals to enhance the understanding of the important role they play in the environment.
The exhibit travels throughout the state to schools, summer camps, festivals and community events educating children and adults, alike, and encouraging them to appreciate the importance of the waters and ecosystems within, and surrounding, our state. Beyond the educational value, the exhibit seeks to create lifelong stewards of our coasts, oceans and bays, and the marine life within them.
With superior graphics, all weather capabilities and improved appearance, the new Traveling Touch Tank Exhibit will provide even greater opportunities to engage students in science and increase public awareness the Atlantic City Aquarium and Historic Gardner’s Basin.