Editor’s Note, August 26, 2013: We were originally excited about the new Austin Aquarium and looking forward to its opening this year. But as news about the Covinos’ questionable business practices continues to come to light, we feel the need to protect our community and our reputation by officially stating that we do not endorse the Austin Aquarium. Since the publication of this article, the Texas Advanced Computer Center has suspended its partnership with the Austin Aquarium. Please stay informed as news continues to unfold, and we will do the same.
This guest blog article is by Vince Covino.
In November 2013, kids of all ages will be able to experience Austin’s first hands-on, interactive aquarium. Several exhibits and thousands of species of animals, from sharks to pythons to kinkajous, will fill more than 22,000 square feet within the Austin Aquarium.
“We’re very excited to offer Austin this family-friendly attraction with many opportunities for hands-on and educational experiences with awe-inspiring species,” said Vince Covino, owner of the Austin Aquarium.
A proposal to enhance the Austin Aquarium with an ultra-high technology exhibit was met with enthusiasm by Austin Aquarium owners. Representatives of the Texas Advanced Computer Center (TACC) at The University of Texas at Austin are in the preliminary planning stages with Austin Aquarium owners to determine the viability of creating a first-of-its-kind outreach and educational facility, which would include a massive, ultra-high resolution interactive touch screen.
Collaborators envision a display unlike any in the country. More than 1,500 square feet have been set aside by aquarium owners for the partnership. “With the advanced technological expertise that TACC brings to the table, we can raise the bar on the quality and effectiveness of our educational program,” Covino said.
Kelly Gaither, TACC’s Director of Visualization, added: “I’m confident in the expertise of the team we have here at TACC. There’s still a lot of work ahead of us to bring this to fruition, but we’re excited to show the Austin community and Texas how technology can improve learning and capture the attention of students.”
Both TACC and the Austin Aquarium share the goal of enhancing community resources and accentuating the importance of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) careers. “The proposed collaboration will bridge the sciences with interactive advanced computing technologies to inspire and engage diverse student groups,” said Rosalia Gomez, TACC’s Education (K-12) Program Coordinator.
The “Aquarium of the Future” team will begin interviewing potential corporate partners from the Austin area this fall, in an effort to help underwrite the significant costs involved in such an undertaking. A “sneak peek” of the exhibit is being created for potential corporate partners on September 5, 2013 at the TACC Visualization Lab in the Peter O’Donnell Building (POB) on The University of Texas main campus.
Those interested should email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Vince Covino is co-owner of Austin Aquarium.