Stevenson and Cochran Hired at SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
U.K.-based Merlin Entertainments has hired Jack Stevenson to serve as Marketing Manager and David Cochran to serve as Curator for their upcoming SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium located at Concord Mills.
Stevenson joins SEA LIFE after nine years in marketing and promotions positions with Cedar Fair Entertainment Company’s Carowinds theme park in Charlotte. As the Marketing and Promotions Manager at Carowinds, he was responsible for management of the park’s Season Pass, website, promotional and special event programs that leveraged the launches of the intimidator rollercoaster, Snoopy’s Starlight Spectacular, WindSeeker, Dinosaurs Alive!, and Carowinds’ Halloween Haunt. A graduate of Winthrop University with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications, Stevenson has over 15 years of cumulative experience working in the attraction and entertainment industry.
“How exciting it is to be a part of a project that brings something brand new and engaging to our region,” said Stevenson. “The addition of SEA LIFE places the wonder and mystery of the ocean right in our backyard for a one-of-a-kind immersive experience. With over 5,000 underwater creatures, this attraction will be a perfect destination for families of all ages and sizes in an entertaining and educational environment.”
Cochran brings 12 years of animal husbandry experience to his position as Curator for the attraction. He comes to SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord from SEA LIFE Kansas City where he served as Senior Aquarist for the location since its 2012 opening. At SEA LIFE Kansas City, Cochran was responsible for overseeing the aquarium’s day-to-day operations, managing water parameters and health of the animals, and caring for exhibits including octopus and jellyfish. His previous experience includes aquarist positions with the Georgia Aquarium, Oklahoma City Zoo, Omaha Zoo and Tulsa Zoo.
“I am excited to bring the SEA LIFE educational experience to the Charlotte area,” said Cochran. “The aquatic environment is a passion of mine, and I look forward to teaching SEA LIFE visitors about our world’s fascinating marine creatures. As North Carolina is a coastal state, it also will be a great opportunity for me to get involved in the local aquatic conservation community.”
Construction for the 36,000-square-foot aquarium began earlier this month and is expected to open in early Spring 2014. For the latest updates and to follow the progress of SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord, visit www.VisitSEALIFE.com/Charlotte-Concord or www.facebook.com/SEALIFECharlotteConcord.
From Antarctica to Florida, 93 Wildlife Projects Receive More Than $1.2 Million from the SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Conservation Fund
Fund Surpasses $10 Million in Giving in 10 Years
Wild animals in need around the world – from Antarctic penguins to sea turtles hatchlings on Florida’s beaches – will benefit from more than $1.2 million in grants awarded this year by the non-profit SeaWorld® & Busch Gardens® Conservation Fund. Ninety-three wildlife research, habitat protection, animal rescue and conservation education projects will receive the grants.
These grants will support researchers studying migration movements of Antarctic penguin species, provide safer passage for turtle hatchlings making their way from the nest to the water, and help monitor the long-term health of dolphins in one of Florida’s vital eco-systems.
Since its inception 10 years ago, the Fund has given more than $10 million in grants to protect wildlife and wild places.
Additionally, SeaWorld and Busch Gardens provide direct support to the Fund by placing zoological staff into the field to work alongside researchers on projects supported by the Fund.
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment™ provides all administrative and development costs as well as staffing and infrastructure. Because of this, 100 percent of donations go to on-the-ground wildlife conservation efforts.
Just a few of the wildlife projects and organizations the funds will help include:
- Tracking Penguin Migrations – Where do penguins go for the winter? Researchers with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution are using geolocation (GLS) tagging and stable isotope studies to identify the winter diets and migration movements of Adelie and chinstrap penguins in the Antarctic Peninsula. The data will be of critical importance in defining future management priorities for these species.
- Sea Turtle Lighting Project – Lights on turtle nesting beaches can disorient turtle hatchlings and lead them away from the ocean. To help make a safer passage, Sea to Shore Alliance has created a method of measuring, mapping and recording beach lighting levels. This data enables wildlife managers to quickly and easily compare, observe and locate areas with excessive beach lighting. By identifying these illumination “hotspots” managers can better protect sea turtle hatchlings.
- Long-term Monitoring of Dolphins – The Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute is conducting a long-term study to monitor the abundance, population and habitat structure of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins that inhabit Florida’s Indian River Lagoon. The data being collected will help to make animal management decisions and better evaluate risks facing this species.
“No animal is immune to the threats that face wildlife today,” said Brad Andrews, president and executive director of the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund and Chief Zoological Officer for SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment. “The on-the-ground work from researchers, animal rehabilitators and educators is vital to help our planet’s animal inhabitants not only survive, but thrive.”
For more information on the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund visit
Tourist Attractions & Parks eNewsletter Feature
Top Tips for Selecting Outdoor Furniture (Part II of Two Parts)
No matter the composition, aesthetics is another factor to bear in mind when selecting outdoor furniture. Opting for furniture rendered in colors and/or styles that match or complement existing accoutrements, from facility logos and fixtures to locations such as snack bars, restaurants and themed areas, often works well. This was the strategy used by the Krantz family, owners of Adventureland Park in Altoona, Iowa, according to Spokesperson Molly Vincent. Outdoor seating for the park’s Petunia Pig snack bar, which is housed in a pig-shaped building, has a rustic look, as does that for its Rathskellar saloon-type restaurant. By contrast, the River City food court, adjacent to the Raging River attraction, features bright yellow tables to complement its shore-like ambiance.
Similarly, Adventure Island in Tampa, Fla., opted for white extruded aluminum tables for a foodservice area. The white matches many of the waterpark’s buildings. Instead of a traditional round shape, management chose a rectangular style that looks distinctive; the tables have matching rectangular benches. At the Houston Zoo, in Houston, Texas, custom metal chairs in the foodservice area feature giraffe cutouts. The tables are round rather than rectangular or square, to create a more intimate setting for dining.
Finally, there are a few miscellaneous factors to consider. For instance, it may pay for operators to make a larger up-front investment in a certain type of outdoor furniture to save money later. The key here is to weigh the cost of the outdoor furniture in question against its expected lifecycle. “You need to ask yourself whether you want to spend “x” dollars on wood furniture that you’ll need to replace in five years, or significantly more to get something that will last for 25 years,” Gray said.
Providing sufficient seating for guests is equally important; as is true with indoor furniture, having an inadequate number of benches and/or tables can be perceived as poor customer service. Gray offered a rule of thumb for benches and bleachers, a six-foot bench, she said, comfortably accommodates three adults or four children.
Operators may also want to think about sustainability and environmental responsibility in their choice of at least some outdoor furniture. Many operators reportedly are gravitating towards pieces made from recycled plastics for this reason.(See the Nov. 12, 2013 TAP eNewsletter for Part I.)