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Viniks give $1.5M to Florida Aquarium in Tampa for major expansion

A new puffin exhibit will be named for the Vinik Family Foundation
 
The Florida Aquarium in Tampa is working on a major expansion.
The Florida Aquarium in Tampa is working on a major expansion. [ ANGELICA EDWARDS | Times ]
Published Dec. 1, 2023

As part of a major expansion of the Florida Aquarium, Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and wife Penny have donated $1.5 million to the aquarium’s $45 million fundraising campaign.

“We are incredibly grateful to Jeff, Penny and the Vinik family for their generous support of our largest animal/exhibit-centric expansion in our 28-year history,” said aquarium president and CEO Roger Germann in a news release.

A new two-story puffin exhibit, which will allow the Tampa aquarium to work on puffin conservation efforts, will be named for the Vinik Family Foundation, according to the release.

Groundbreaking is scheduled for next year for the sea lion, penguin and puffin habitats as well as a gallery addition. The $45 million project is scheduled to be done by late 2025 or early 2026.

The Viniks said in the release that they were “elated to be a partner” in the aquarium’s future.