Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium is an independent, non-profit research institution based in Sarasota, Florida. Mote Marine is comprised of world-class marine scientists and is home to more than 20 scientific programs dedicated to research, conservation and the sustainable use of marine resources. On February 8, 2018, the President and CEO of Mote Marine, Dr. Michael P. Crosby, announced that Mote will be building a new aquarium in Sarasota County.

Mote is currently located at 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway in Sarasota, Florida. There are a total of five campuses, including field stations in eastern Sarasota County and the Florida Keys.

Mote’s expansion project is being funded by a $130-million capital construction fundraising effort, Oceans for All: Improving Access to Marine Science & Technology. Simultaneously with releasing news about the expansion, Dr. Crosby announced that commitments for more than 20 percent of the facility’s total cost have already been made.

The new center is set to be built on 5 acres of county-owned land in Nathan Benderson Park, just south of University Parkway and I-75. At 110,000 square feet, the new facility will more than double Mote’s existing location. The facility will contain 1 million gallons of exhibit water, allowing more room to feature marine life and displays while also expanding Mote’s capacity for research and education programs. The facility will feature interactive teaching labs and technology, onsite diving programs, and scientific demonstrations with the hope of inspiring its visitors to be more curious about the oceans and wildlife.

Staying true to its theme of “oceans for all,” the new Mote Science Education Aquarium is being designed to serve a greater cross-section of the community. Currently, Mote’s educational programs serve about 30,000 people per year. The new facility is expected to double participation in Mote’s science education programs. Mote’s expansion is also poised to encourage underserved and underrepresented members of the community to participate with marine research and science. Sarasota is set to benefit from the expansion as officials estimate that the new center will produce more than 260 jobs and provide the county an economic impact of $28 million.  In fact, the expansion project is projected to benefit more than three million Florida residents, who will be able to access the new facility by driving 60 minutes or less. Mote is projecting the visitor number for the first year to be near 700,000.

On Saturdays during the month of September 2018, Mote Marine is offering $7 admission to Florida residents of all ages.  Proof of Florida residency is required for at least one person, but not necessary for all party members.

At Wittmer|Linehan, we care about our local waterways and wildlife. All of our attorneys and staff are Sarasota and Manatee residents. We are all involved with and interested in our local community and believe in taking an active role.