Media Relations

Media Policy

Updated September 2020

Media Inquiries

We are excited to share the story of Mississippi Aquarium with our media partners. Please send all media inquiries to press@msaquarium.org. We will answer questions and assist in arranging interviews. Every effort will be made to respond to media requests within a reasonable timeframe.  

The Public Relations and Communications Manager will connect you with designated Aquarium staff for interviews. Media requests made directly to Mississippi Aquarium employees will be routed back to the Public Relations and Communications Manager for consideration.

access inside the Aquarium

Mississippi Aquarium supports an efficient, service-oriented effort to respond to both public inquiries and media requests for information and/or assistance relating to the organization. We welcome the responsibility to keep the public informed and encourage their involvement in their community resources. We acknowledge the vital role the media serves towards this effort.

The goal of this policy is to ensure:
• the safety of the staff, animals and the public
• an efficient and accurate response to media and public inquiries
• response to media requests without negatively impacting our visitor experience
• the timely completion of staff duties

The safety of our animals, guests and staff is always our top priority. The Public Relations and Communications Manager will consult with the VP of Veterinary Services and/or VP of Animal Care to determine what level of access may be allowed under any given set of circumstances. This also applies to public areas that are barricaded to the public during an emergency, animal transfer or other irregular activities.Contact with staff for background information, sound bytes, scheduling, etc. will be made by contacting the Public Relations and Communications Manager to ensure accurate and timely response to media representatives.

Reporting live at The Aquarium

Members of the media are welcome to conduct live broadcasts at Mississippi Aquarium. Locations will be determined by the Public Relations and Communications Manager based on animal, guest and employee safety and other factors. Any cabling run through grounds must be away from high foot-traffic areas and taped down to minimize hazards. The Aquarium’s entry plaza is also available for live shots.

Parking at The Aquarium

CTA Parking Garage
401 20th Avenue Gulfport, MS 39501RATES:
$2 for 1 hour
$4 for 2 hours
$10 for 2 plus hours

There is also free street parking on and around 15th street behind the Aquarium.

Once parked, please meet the designated representative from the Marketing Team on the front entry plaza (near the Sails) and access to the Aquarium will be given.

Unmanned aircraft systems (Drone) Policy:

For this policy, a drone is defined as "an unmanned aerial vehicle" (UAV) or "an unmanned aircraft system" (UAS). This restriction applies to privately owned and media outlet drones and is extended to any equipment affiliated with the drone.For the safety and well-being of our guests and animals, the launching and/or operation of a UAS (drone) from or above Mississippi Aquarium property is strictly prohibited. Mississippi Aquarium does on occasion operate a UAS (drone). This operation is in strict accordance with FAA guidelines and the operator in constant communication with staff members to ensure the welfare of our guests and animals. Any unauthorized operation of Unmanned Aircrafts (Drones) over MSAQ property will be reported to law enforcement and the Federal Aviation Administration.

The Three Pillars: Education, Conservation and Community

Education

Reaching the hearts and minds of all guests by connecting them with the planet’s most precious ecosystems is the driving force behind Mississippi Aquarium’s Education Department. The education programs are designed to inspire, connect and instill not only respect for the marine environment but also empower conservation action and promote sustainable choices for the future.

  • Interactive Classrooms
    Students and teachers alike will experience onsite exploration and hands-on lessons in a state-of-the-art classroom. Interactive programs such as Trainer for a Day will allow guests to build relationships with marine animals just as a certified trainer would.
  • S.T.E.A.M. focused Field Trip Program:
    Mississippi Aquarium will host Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (S.T.E.A.M.) focused field trips that give students and teachers alike an opportunity to experience onsite exploration and hands-on lessons in a state-of-the-art classroom.
  • University Partnerships:
    As partners in education, the University of Southern Mississippi and Mississippi State University have strategic roles in the success of Mississippi Aquarium. With the University of Southern Mississippi, we will participate in saltwater research and education, and with Mississippi State University, we will work together with our veterinary services to provide their students with additional hands-on opportunities and experience.
  • Mobile Marine Unit:
    Mississippi Aquarium’s community outreach vehicle, the Mobile Marine Unit (MMU), will travel across the state and region to provide education about animals and ocean conservation, bringing a little bit of Coastal Mississippi around the state.
  • Educator Support Programs:
    Mississippi Aquarium will provide virtual learning lessons to bring the Aquarium to the classroom and will serve as a resource for teachers by supplying lesson plans and interesting educational materials. Educators can look forward to professional development workshops for teachers to earn credits toward certifications. The Aquarium will also offer supportive services and customized lessons for students with disabilities and special needs.  

conservation

Mississippi Aquarium’s Aquatic Research Center will be the foundation of our conservation efforts. Making the connection with the aquatic world through education and biology inspires individuals, families and communities to “take action” for conservation. The Aquarium’s research and conservation programs will make the maximum contribution to regional science and education while being integrated into the cultural, scientific and educational foundation of Mississippi.      

  • Dolphin Research on behavior, genetics, welfare and health:
    The Aquarium’s dolphin experts have dedicated their lives to the wellbeing of dolphins. The Aquarium will utilize the thriving group of bottlenose dolphins who will call the aquarium home to study behavior, genetics, welfare and health.
  • Seafood Watch Program
    The Aquarium has teamed up with The Monterey Bay Aquarium to join the Seafood Watch Program. This program helps consumers and businesses choose seafood that’s fished or farmed in ways that support a healthy ocean, now and for future generations.
  • One Health Initiative
    An initiative to study the connection between humans, animals and the environment, which is critical to helping restore and preserve our unique Mississippi habitats with the animals who call our oceans, rivers and coastline home.
  • Field Conservation
    We are committed to promoting and enhancing marine research and conservation all while showcasing Mississippi’s diverse native wildlife and the many rivers that create this diversity in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Conservation Programs
    The research and conservation program is based on strengthening ties with local researchers and organizations that share goals for understanding aquatic life.  The research program will have the important direct benefit of increasing animal health and husbandry expertise by building new knowledge about the biology, health and husbandry of aquatic organisms.
  • Chandelier Island Brewing Co.
    Mississippi Aquarium and Chandeleur Island Brewing Company have joined forces to create a series of craft beer promoting the conservation efforts of endangered species. A portion of each case sold goes directly to Mississippi Aquarium’s conservation efforts for various endangered species that call the Mississippi Gulf Coast their home.
  • Conservation Car Tag
    Mississippi Aquarium has created a specialty Mississippi license plate promoting animal conservation. The license plate features an Atlantic bottlenose dolphin and Kemp’s ridley sea turtle with the Aquarium’s iconic sails in the background. Proceeds from the purchase of the plate will support conservation efforts for dolphins and sea turtles along Coastal Mississippi and beyond.
  • Conservation Partners
    Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Program
    Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MDMR)  
    University of Southern Mississippi
    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
    Chandelier Island Brewery Co.

community

Mississippi is a special community, deeply rooted in its culture. Mississippi Aquarium will create lasting memories of our state’s rich cultural diversity. The Aquarium is not only an icon for Coastal Mississippi, but it is also a pillar for the entire state of Mississippi. The Aquarium is committed to working with our aquatic community on research and conservation efforts to improve our waterways for those that call them home.

Mississippi Aquarium is an anchor for economic development in and around the downtown Gulfport area. Nearly 100 full-time jobs will be created by Mississippi Aquarium. Additionally, part-time and volunteer opportunities will also be available after opening. Within the local area, employment growth will be seen due to the number of visitors that are expected to come into the area.

  • Beach and river cleanup programs
  • One-time plastic use reduction campaign
  • Marine Mobile Unit
  • Volunteer Opportunities
  • Recycling Programs
  • Project SAIL: Sponsored Admission for Instruction Learning
    An initiative that ensures that diverse audiences, regardless of economic status, have an opportunity to participate in the Aquarium’s on-site educational programs at no cost to the school. Title 1 schools in the Mississippi Gulf Coast counties can apply for the funds to cover the transportation and admission costs associated with instructor-led or self-guided field trips.
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