As a single dad, Del accrued many visits to the Aquarium with his daughter Maddie when she was young. The Aquarium was a way to escape the heat and pass time on rainy days, but it also held purpose far beyond that. It was here that his father-daughter bond with Maddie grew, where they would become lifelong conservationists.
“Many memories were made here,” Del stated. “I knew this was a safe, peaceful place for her and her friends. We felt comfortable here. When Maddie was a little girl, she loved seeing the scuba diver in the Great Ocean Tank, whom she aptly nicknamed Fish Man. She was enthralled with the tanks and what they held – this place grew her yearn for learning and instilled in her a sense of appreciation for the environment.”
Being by water was clearly a bonding factor for them. Through knowledge gained from the exhibits at the Aquarium, Del and Maddie would go out kayaking and spot and identify local wildlife. They located recurring members of the local dolphin population on their treks and would see the occasional sea turtle swimming by. Afterwards, visits to the Sea Turtle Hospital inspired Del and his family to become larger supporters of the Aquarium. “I remember learning about a particular turtle who couldn’t dive, and the creative measures used to care for that turtle and others that followed,” Del says. “The impact of this place goes beyond my personal experiences here and continues to this day.”
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Over 15 years we’ve heard stories about the lives the Aquarium has influenced and now we are asking for your help to capture these amazing stories and share them with the world.
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