Caroline Brady is Executive Director of the Friends of the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium (FCMA) in San Pedro. The Aquarium is operated by the Los Angeles City Department of Recreation and Parks. It began in 1935 as a collection of marine specimens stored in the Cabrillo Beach Bathhouse. In 1949, the late John Olguin, captain of the Cabrillo Beach lifeguards, was appointed director of the museum. He popularized it by giving tours to visiting school groups and starting the popular evening program of viewing the grunion mating practices on the beach.
COVID-19 forced the indefinite closure of the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium in March 2020, but all of the marine animals still need daily care, including the 40-year-old moray eel, doing well after a tumor removal. The staff are still working hard, cleaning, repairing and improving exhibits. There is a new Entrance and Exhibit Hall, and the Marine Animal Interaction Center is improved.
Conservation projects continue, including the upcoming release of Aquarium-raised Giant Sea Bass babies that will be tracked in a research project. The Aquarium’s educational efforts continue, online by Zoom now instead of face-to-face, up to 2,000 students some days. 30,000 students from 1000 schools visit the Aquarium every year. Volunteers donate 31,000 hours per year. The Discovery Lecture Series continues with experts on a wide variety of topics. Check the website at
The Gift Shop is still open. You can shop for ocean-themed holiday gifts including books, T-shirts, and upscale home décor, and help the Friends of Cabrillo Marine Aquarium survive. Friends of Cabrillo Marine Aquarium exists solely to support the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, to inspire exploration, respect and conservation of Southern California marine life. FCMA raises $1.1 to $1.2M per year through its Gift Shop, membership program, the annual Grand Grunion Gala, a Corporate Circle program and by securing grants from foundations and other charitable organizations. The City of Los Angeles and FCMA would like to raise $21M in a capital campaign to dramatically redo the front entrance, upgrade the exhibits, rework the touch tank, the life support system, office space, and provide for a cafeteria space. An extended online auction was held Nov 29 – Dec 7, instead of the Artisan Market.
To donate or to become a member, visit: It needs our help more than ever.