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and all for their future.

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The SEA change has begun!

On Nov. 13, 2020, Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium broke ground for our new Mote Science Education Aquarium (Mote SEA) at Nathan Benderson Park. Together with federal, state and local leaders, Mote Trustees and supporters, we put shovels in the dirt and got ready to realize our vision for this cultural, educational and economic gem.


At Mote SEA, we will empower more of the youngest inhabitants of our blue planet to discover and protect the ocean that sustains us all.

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Educating tomorrow's marine researchers

Only through exposure, hands-on experiences, and education can people truly understand the impact of marine science. That’s why Mote is embarking on an ambitious campaign, Oceans for All: Improving Access to Marine Science & Technology, to create Mote SEA.

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A stronger focus on accessible science education.

We’re breaking ground in fall 2020 on the construction of the new, state-of-the-art Mote SEA in Nathan Benderson Park, a nexus site for Sarasota and Manatee counties in the heart of a rapidly growing community. This planned rebirth of our public Aquarium on the mainland will transform our ability to provide informal science education and enhanced levels of ocean literacy to much larger and more diverse populations from around the world. Notably, Mote SEA will serve as a regional hub for expanding marine science and technology education and inspiration to every K-12 student in our community—Oceans for All.

Creating Mote SEA in its new home will allow Mote to transform our primary campus on City Island, Sarasota, into an enhanced International Marine Science, Technology & Innovation Park.

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For our community, our children, and the world.

With your help, our new Mote SEA will:

Reach A Larger Audience

Double the attendance of the current Mote Aquarium and provide a more accessible location, where three million Florida residents will be within an hour's drive.

Expand Our Research Facilities

Grow our public Aquarium space from 66,000 to 110,000 square feet.

Support New Exhibits

Expand our ability to feature amazing marine animals and scientific displays from oceans around the world with 1 million gallons total of animal habitats.

Offer A More Immersive Adventure

Deepen visitors’ experiences through three stories of hands-on teaching labs, onsite diving programs, scientific demonstrations and creatively interwoven, interactive technology.

Strengthen and Diversify The Economy

Mote SEA will provide an annual economic impact of $280 million from construction alone and $28 million annually to the State of Florida.

Advance Science and Research

Above all, provide informal science education to a larger, more diverse audience, including 70,000 students from Sarasota and Manatee county schools free of charge.

Science is the attraction.

The spectacular new facility will embody our vision of Oceans for All, doubling the number of visitors whose lives are enriched by marine science each year and providing no-cost opportunities for schools to utilize specialized teaching labs to ensure that every child has the opportunity for hands-on marine science and technology experiences. Renderings are subject to change.

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New Aquarium Features

Local by Design

The building’s iconic design, by architect firm tvsdesign, will evoke the region’s natural beauty and the unique experiences offered at Mote SEA, stirring curiosity just as our oceans do.

Truly Immersive

Inside, exhibits totaling more than 1 million gallons will feature a stunning array of sharks, Atlantic and Pacific coral reef species, manatees, sea turtles, otters and myriad other wildlife. Visitors’ horizons will expand, with glimpses of the deep sea or other remote habitats, including Mote research sites from around the world. Renderings subject to change.

Community Driven

Interactive labs and hands-on classrooms will be accessible to every school in this region, including no-cost opportunities, so that each child has the chance to discover marine science and technology, first-hand. Strategically collaborating with schools and community groups where needs are the greatest, Mote will continue to educate children who might not otherwise have access to aquariums and marine science education.

Learn More: FAQ

Read our frequently-asked questions to learn more about Mote SEA, its features, the process of creating it and the exciting benefits it will bring to our region and communities.

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Inspiration is the foundation of a future in marine science.

When I was a child, my family would visit our local aquarium, which was somewhat similar to Mote. My mom could not get me away from the tropical reef tanks. I just wanted to sit there for hours and watch the underwater world. Now, my job is to do just that and I couldn't be happier!

Dr. Erinn Muller

My passion for marine science stems from the many summers I spent fishing and crabbing with my grandfather. Our time together helped instill my love for the ocean and inspired me to pursue a career in marine science. Now I am fortunate to have the opportunity to make a difference through my research and hope that my work will inspire the next generation to continue to serve as a voice for ocean conservation.

Dr. Phil Gravinese

Help us ensure Oceans for All.

We are already halfway through our goal of $130 million for the new Mote SEA. To cross the finish line, we need your support through these three avenues:

See Our Case for Support
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Philanthropy

Partnering with individual, family and foundation donors who seek to invest in healthy oceans and a prosperous community.

Partnership

In-kind support and investment of organizations and corporations whose missions will be strengthened through collaboration with Mote.

Public support

Local and State support to significantly expand unique hands-on science and technology opportunities for all students, enhance ocean literacy for every resident, and attract visitors to a novel, immersive ocean science experience.

Get Involved Today

We cannot achieve these critical goals alone. You can be part of this important new era for Mote, our community and our region. The oceans serve us all. It is time to give back and fuel the science and public education required to achieve lasting impact for our shared marine resources. Please join us in making this vision a reality.

Contact Mote’s Development Department at (941) 388-4441 ext. 309 to learn more about how you can help today.

We are truly grateful for your help in advancing the important work of bringing marine science education to all.