Jeff and Penny Vinik have made a $1.5 million donation to the Florida Aquarium via the Vinik Family Foundation.
The donation was made in support of the Aquarium’s $45 million Sea Change capital fundraising campaign.
“The Florida Aquarium plays a vital role in our community, inspiring conservation efforts and providing educational experiences for people of all ages,” said Jeff and Penny Vinik. “This new chapter for the Florida Aquarium reflects a commitment to the growth, and enrichment, of Tampa Bay and a dedication to preserving the natural wonders of our region for future generations. We are elated to be a partner toward that vision.”
Scheduled to open in the Spring to Summer seasons of 2025, the new two-story puffin exhibit will be named in honor of the Vinik Family Foundation.
“We are incredibly grateful to Jeff, Penny and the Vinik family for their generous support of our largest animal/exhibit-centric expansion in our 28-year history. Their endorsement and investment in The Florida Aquarium’s shared purpose inspires our team to do even more on behalf of our community and marine wildlife,” said Roger Germann, president and chief executive officer of the Aquarium.
In 2022, The Florida Aquarium announced a multi-year capital expansion and renovation project. The first new experience, MORPH’D presented by PAR, opened in July 2023 and the groundbreaking on the puffin, sea lion and penguin habitats, and gallery addition, is scheduled for late spring 2024. The $45 million project is scheduled to be completed by late 2025 to early 2026.
The Sea Change capital fundraising campaign, chaired by developer and philanthropist Darryl Shaw, remains in the leadership phase. This Vinik Family Foundation announcement is the first of several upcoming major gift announcements in support of the Aquarium.