The "Come SEA the future" event took place on Oct. 18 at Pier 22 Restaurant.
In February, Mote Marine Laboratory announced plans for a $130 million aquarium at Nathan Benderson Park.
Now, the mission is being shared with community leaders.
On Oct. 18, Mote President and CEO Michael Crosby addressed Manatee County leaders at an invitation-only reception at Pier 22 Restaurant.
Crosby explained that his vision is for Mote’s City Island campus to turn into an even larger world-class research institution, but to do so, the aquarium needs a new home.
Crosby and Mote staff are working to make that new home Nathan Benderson Park, where the Mote Science Education Aquarium, or Mote SEA, will become a tourist destination and educational environment.
“When you walk into this aquarium, science will smack you in the face or formally embrace you,” Crosby joked with the crowd.
Crosby continued by explaining the Oceans For All campaign that will make the new aquarium accessible to every school in the region at no cost.
The new aquarium will have three state-of-the-art teaching labs to be used for students from kindergarten to 12th grade.
Crosby said to the crowd that $130 million is a lot of money, but that money will come from three sources: philanthropy, public entities and corporate partnerships. Of that total, Mote requested $20 million from Sarasota County.
“It’s a big number, but we can do it,” he said.