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Charleston Business

South Carolina Aquarium Honored With National Award For Exhibit Design

Oct 04, 2018 11:45AM ● By Kathleen Maris

Photo: Willow Melamet, sea turtle care center manager, and Karen Monahan, director of marketing and strategic communications, accept the exhibit design award at AZA's annual conference in Seattle.

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) announced that the South Carolina Aquarium has been recognized with AZA’s 2018 Exhibit Design Award for its significant achievement in creating the Zucker Family Sea Turtle Recovery hospital and exhibit. South Carolina Aquarium received this national award during AZA’s September conference in Seattle.

“This award is the highest honor in exhibit design and honors South Carolina Aquarium for designing a novel, immersive habitat that ensures high-quality animal care and welfare as well as meaningful guest experiences,” said AZA President and CEO Dan Ashe. “Zucker Family Sea Turtle Recovery goes above and beyond AZA’s rigorous standards for animal management, safety, conservation, and education.”

With its annual Exhibit Award, AZA recognizes excellence by an AZA-accredited Institution (U.S. or international) or Related Facility member in the areas of exhibit design and providing visitors with the opportunity to engage in observing and learning about the animals.

The South Carolina Aquarium is leading the way in the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of sick and injured sea turtles. For 17 years, a dedicated team of staff and volunteers operated a behind-the-scenes sea turtle hospital out of public view. Now, both a fully-staffed hospital and an interactive exhibit, Zucker Family Sea Turtle Recovery makes the rehabilitation of sick and injured sea turtles visible to every guest who visits the Aquarium.

“We hope to inspire care for endangered sea turtles by exposing our guests to the sophisticated care we provide to sick and injured turtle patients,” said Kevin Mills, South Carolina Aquarium president and CEO. “Zucker Family Sea Turtle Recovery resides at the intersection of our conservation, education, and guest experience mission. It’s at once a learning laboratory and interactive exhibit where sea turtles are brought back to life in full public view.”

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources was a collaborative partner on this project.