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Making a splash: 2012 in review

By Stuart Buchanan / 31 December 2012

It’s been an eventful year at the Two Oceans Aquarium. We’re all really looking forward to a successful 2013, but before we do, let’s take a moment to reflect on some of the highlights of the past year.

By far the biggest event this year (and probably the biggest we’ve ever held) was the 8th International Aquarium Congress. For one week in September, the IAC gathered aquarium thought leaders from around the world, to share their best ideas and experiences and collectively inspire change. The event was a resounding success and we look forward to seeing the results of such great collaboration playing itself out over several years to come.

Dr Pat Garratt with Derek van Dam at the opening ceremony for the 8th IAC Dr Pat Garratt with Derek van Dam at the opening ceremony for the 8th IAC

We also got involved in this year’s TEDx Sea Point, titled Who Moved My Sushi? With a number of Aquarium staff giving presentations, TEDx Sea Point brought together interesting speakers from a variety of fields to talk about ocean matters. Due to popular demand, we’ll be seeing another TEDx Sea Point event happening in 2013.

Ocean conservationist Mike Markovina. Image courtesy <a href='http://tedxseapoint.com/gallery'>TEDx</a>. Ocean conservationist Mike Markovina. Image courtesy TEDx.

Aquarium staff took part in another Waddle for a Week this year. The 130km journey from Gansbaai to Simon’s Town is in support of the endangered African penguin, and we saw a huge amount of support from people who joined in, or simply hooted as they drove by in their cars. Stay tuned for information about next year’s Waddle!

There was some ghoulish fun to be had at the aSCAREium this year! On Halloween weekend the Two Oceans Aquarium was transformed into a trick-or-treat funhouse for kids, and a night of entertainment was enjoyed by the little ones and their parents!

Our sponsors made some bold moves in 2012, too. Hi-Tec came forward as the new sponsors of our Microscope Exhibit, which offers visitors a chance to learn more about the tiniest sea creatures that normally pass us by. The Hi-Tec Microscope Exhibit is a great way for both Hi-Tec and the Two Oceans Aquarium to promote a strong environmental message, important to both brands.

I&J demonstrated their commitment to sustainable seafood this year by signing a landmark agreement with WWF/SASSI. The agreement details the ways in which I&J is working towards every single one of its products being produced from a sustainable seafood source. This is the strongest statement any fishing company in South Africa has made towards such ends, and this certainly bodes well for the future of our oceans.

Ronald Fasol (I&J CEO) and Morne du Plessis (WWF/SA CEO) Ronald Fasol (I&J; CEO) and Morne du Plessis (WWF/SA CEO)

Two Oceans Aquarium managing director Dr Patrick Garratt’s published his memoirs this year. Crazy: Adventures of a Marine Biologist was launched at the Aquarium in August, and contains some pretty amazing stories. Aquarium staff and friends and family of Dr Pat attended the launch.

A cake, decorated with the cover image of Dr Pat's book, was presented at the launch A cake, decorated with the cover image of Dr Pat's book, was presented at the launch

Lastly, we decided to spread the membership love in 2012 and created the Happy Hoppers Kids’ Club, the Aquarium’s first kids-only membership club. With several exclusive events already held for Happy Hoppers this year, we’re looking forward to growing the group and welcoming more little sea fans in 2013.

And between our Valentine’s event, seal rescue, penguin release, beach clean-up and Young Biologists’ course, it has been a very busy year indeed! Thank you to everyone who has supported us this year. Here’s to 2013!

Stay in touch: For daily Aquarium updates, follow us on Twitter (@2OceansAquarium) and become a fan on Facebook.

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