1998 to 2018 – 20 years of passion for the marine environment and its wonderful inhabitants!
SEA LIFE Bray Aquarium is celebrating its 20th anniversary, having opened its doors in 1998 on the Seafront in Bray on the site of the former National Aquarium.
A 20th Anniversary party was held on Monday evening (26 November) for local businesses, local representatives, marine sector partners and current and former staff to celebrate the occasion and to thank the local community in Bray for its support.
Government Minister and local TD, Simon Harris joined the business community to mark the occasion and commented:
“I want to take this opportunity to congratulate Bray Sea Life on a very successful 20 years in business in our county and wish them well for the many years to come. Bray Sea life is an integral part of our business and tourism industry here in Co Wicklow and its wonderful attractions has helped bring visitors to our county from all over. I know the entire community is delighted to come together to make such a significant milestone for Bray Seal Life Aquarium.”
In the 20 years that it has operated in Bray, SEA LIFE has welcomed over 1.8 million visitors. Commenting on this number, Pat Ó Súilleabháin, who has been General Manager for the last 16 years, said: “These visitors, both domestic and international, have made such a fantastic contribution both to the development of the aquarium, and to the local economy. Their admission fees have allowed us to deliver world-class animal welfare, engage in research, develop educational programs, and carry out marine conservation work. We are so grateful to each and every one of them for their support over the past 2 decades”
The past 20 years have seen some huge changes in the aquarium, both in terms of appearance and the make-up of the animal collection. Initially, the aquarium displayed only native animals. But as the appetite for knowledge about global species grew, so the collection changed.
“Through this change” said Pat, “we had the opportunity and privilege to care for some amazing creatures down through the years: Giant Japanese Spider Crabs (2002), Black Tip Reef Sharks (2005), Giant Pacific Octopus (2010), Leafy Sea Dragons (2011), and Golden Puffer Fish (2016)”
Today, SEA LIFE Bray has 26 Displays which are home to over 70 different species of freshwater and marine animals from all over the world.
“We are so grateful to the community of Bray for its support over the past 20 years, and we look forward to caring for our animals, seas and oceans over the next 20 years!”