Sea Turtle at The Living Planet Aquarium

Welcome to Our Blog

The Living Planet Aquarium inspires people to explore, discover and learn about Earth’s diverse ecosystems. We are dedicated to cultivating public interest in the environment, conservation, and the enhancement of our planet and its creatures through adoption, education, research and recreation.

Join us while on our blog where we explore the Earth’s many inhabitants- some of which reside at The Living Planet Aquarium and some that don’t- but all of which are important to our ecosystem.

The Living Planet Aquarium is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, dedicated to inspiring people to explore, discover and learn about Earth’s diverse ecosystems.

Loveland Living Planet Aquarium Opens commercial

Here is our latest commercial. Come Explore, Discover and Learn with us!

Song: Smiles for Life 

Artist: Alex Boye'

Loveland Living Planet Aquarium makes a splash on Fox News Channel!

It’s not every day a Fox News reporter walks up to you to do a news segment, but that’s what happened when the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium was up at the Sundance Film Festival!

James Rosen with Fox News Channel was interested in Zali, our Bredli Carpet Python. Ari Audd, our Special Events Coordinator, was holding Zali. Rosen asked how we train to work with the animals and how they become accustomed to being handled. Audd explained that we learn all we can about a particular animal and then practice handling them until we are comfortable. Our staff members work with the animals until they no longer seem nervous while being handled.

The Loveland Living Planet Aquarium was at Sundance to let people know about all our new facility has to offer, including Utah’s only 4D theater, which can be used as a screening room for films. We also have a large banquet room for special events, with floor to ceiling windows into the shark tank!

The Aquarium can also be used as a filming location. Our Journey to South America exhibit has over 500 living plants and simulates a tropical rain forest. There are even tropical birds free flying in the exhibit.

Watch for more media coverage as we get closer to our opening. Thanks for following The Loveland Living Planet Aquarium!

International Coastal Cleanup a Success

Coastal Cleanup a Success

The Loveland Living Planet Aquarium recently participated in the International Coastal Cleanup,a global event that mobilizes hundreds of thousands of people to help keep our waters clean. The coastal cleanup is led by Ocean Conservancy, which helps bring people together to find solutions for protecting the world’s water.


 Clean water is important for the health and safety of all the animals that live in our oceans, lakes, rivers and streams. Our efforts focus on keeping Utah’s waterways clear of trash.


 So far this year, Loveland Living Planet Aquarium has had 568 volunteers who have cleaned up 1,790 pounds of trash at 18 locations around Salt Lake City. This included the participation in the International Coastal Cleanup. 


 We greatly appreciate everyone who participated in the cleanups, and we look forward to working with you again during future cleanups.


 Have you participated in one of our cleanups? Tell us about your experience.


Blue Poison Dart Frogs

Blue Poison Dart Frog @ The Living Planet Aquarium 

Common Name: Blue Poison Dart Frogs 

Scientific Name: D. azureus

Variant of: Dendrobates tinctorius

Other names: okopipi 

If you've ever seen our blue poison dart frogs you'll agree that they're very brilliantly blue.  The beautiful color of their skin serves as a warning to predators that they're poisonous and if you eat them you will soon regret it. 

These frogs grow to be about 0.3 ounces and about two inches long.  They live about 4-6 years in the wild and up to 10 years in captivity.  They have four toes with suction cups on the ends for gripping.

Female frogs are larger and longer than males but males have longer toes.  The tips of the toes are also different shapes with females having round tipped toes and males having heart shaped toes.  The black dots are different on each frog and are used for identification purposes. 

Habitat: These frogs live in the tropical rain forests in South America.  Their toes are not webbed so they aren't good swimmers and don't live in the water- but stay near it for moisture.   

Diet: In the wild these frogs eat spiders and small insects like ants and termites. They use their tongue to capture their prey.  In the aquarium we feed them fruit flies.  

Reproduction: They have a loud mating call that the males use to attract females. The female will lay the eggs on the forest floor and the male will continue to visit the eggs and watch them until the tadpoles hatch.  Then the tadpoles will swim up onto  sticky spot on the males back and he will carry them to a safer place to grow, like little holes in a broken tree or another small place where water collects. It takes three months for the tadpoles to develop into tiny little frogs. 

Protection Status: Poison frogs are protected and their biggest threat is the depletion of the rain forest (habitat).  The best way to ensure their survival is to advocate for protection of their habitat.  

Interesting tidbits:  While Blue Poison Dart Frogs are poisonous in the wild they aren't poison in captivity.  Scientists think that it's because of something in their natural diet that isn't reproduced in captivity.  

They are obviously named for their color, but also for the practice of the native people traditionally using the secretions from their skin in blow darts for hunting. 

We hope you'll come visit our Blue Poison Dart Frog at The Loveland Living Planet Aquarium in Draper when we open at the end of the year!


Loveland Living Planet Aquarium supports STEM program

A new program aims to educate and prepare Utah students for careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The media launch was held Thursday, January 29 at the brand new Neil Armstrong Academy in West Valley City, and The Loveland Living Planet Aquarium was there to support the program.

Utah Governor Gary Herbert and Stan Lockhart, Government Affairs Manager for IM Flash Technologies, are supporters of the campaign. Astronaut Charles Precourt, Miss Utah 2012 Kara Arnold, and BYUtv’s American Rides star Stan Ellsworth were also at the launch.

Recognizing the importance of STEM, the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium sent Douglas Mauck, Teacher Programs Manager at LLPA, to the event. LLPA fully supports the STEM initiative and has many school outreach programs geared toward STEM. LLPA has partnerships with STEM through iSEE (Informal Science Education Enhancement) and a new STEM partnership through iUTAH (Innovative Urban Transitions and Arid region Hydro-sustainability).

The theme of the media campaign is “STEM Utah: Curiosity Unleashed.” Supporters are hoping to inspire students to get excited about the possibilities they have in these career fields.

During the construction of our new facility in Draper, our education team is still traveling to schools across the state every week day. We have two outreach programs – the Rainforest Van that travels to 2nd grade classes, and our Utah Waters Van that travels to 4th grade classes. Our programs correlate with the Utah State Core Curriculum, so students can really absorb the information they are learning with hands on, interactive lessons by our talented team members.

These vans are how the Living Planet Aquarium got its start. Our founder Brent Andersen wanted to bring the ocean to school children to teach them about science, the earth’s diverse ecosystems, and inspire them to learn. The Loveland Living Planet Aquarium will feature an Education Center, which will support onsite education programs reaching K-12 and university students.

Meet Gabi- The Loggerhead Sea Turtle

Gabi getting ready to come to Utah


In late September Gabi the loggerhead sea turtle flew from the Georgia Sea Turtle center into the Salt Lake Airport to make the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium her new home.  

Age: about 5 years old- it's hard to know an exact age since she was rescued from the wild, but this is a very close estimate. 

Health diagnosis:  Gabi had some spinal deformities and bubble butt from injuries.  While these prohibit her from being reintroduced into the wild she is still very healthy and expected to live a long life here at the aquarium.  

Her rescue:  Gabi was found off the coast of Florida in October 2008 tangled up in a clump of seaweed. She was brought to the Sea Turtle Center on Jekyll Island in Georgia where she was examined by a turtle specialist.  She was found to be emaciated with lesions and with exposed bone on her shell.  Her wounds were treated and she was given fluids and a feeding tube and she healed with about a month of treatment.  

After she healed she was moved to Sandy Creek Nature Center in Athens, Georgia where she was on display for educational purposes. In August of 2011 she was re-evaluated to see if she was a good candidate for release and the specialists found that her buoyancy was still off, causing her bottom half to be more buoyant than the rest of her body and even with weight therapy she was not a proper candidate for release. 


Because Loggerhead Sea Turtles are endangered only rescued turtles that can't be released into the wild are available to aquariums where they are ambassadors for other sea turtles to encourage education and conservancy.   

“The Loveland Living Planet Aquarium is extremely excited to bring an endangered loggerhead sea turtle to our facility,” said Eleasha Grossman, associate director of education at the aquarium. “Gabi will be a wonderful addition for our field trip guests, our on-site programming and our special events. Loggerheads are great spotlight animal for our conservation efforts and public awareness pieces. Sea turtles are beautiful animals with remarkable life cycles that help our desert guests care about the oceans with one swim past their delighted eyes.”

Gabi has been here for several weeks now and is settling in nicely.  She will continue to thrive in the new Loveland Living Planet Aquarium in Draper.  Brian Marquez, a member of our husbandry team, has been caring for Gabi since she arrived.   “She likes people. Every morning when I walk up to her pool she swims over and checks me out. Mostly she’s begging for food but she’s definitely curious and wants to see what’s going on.”

In Utah we can do our part to help protect  endangered sea turtles like Gabi by protecting our environment.  A lot of trash ends up in the ocean and turtles can mistake it for food- so by making sure we’re not littering and that we recycle whenever possible we can help keep sea turtles healthy- even in the desert.  



The Cuttlefish

We’re excited to announce a new exhibit that will be at the Draper location of The Living Planet Aquarium when we open.  We’ve been raising baby cuttlefish and one of our interns, Cami McKellar, has even conducted some training with them.  (See her videos on YouTube)

Cuttlefish are marine animals that belong to the class Cephalopoda, which means they’re related to squid, octopuses and the nautilus.  There are over 100 species of cuttlefish in the world and they are pretty amazing animals.

Cuttlefish have eight arms that come out of the front of their body and are used to catch prey.  They eat small mollusks, crab, shrimp, octopuses and each other. Cuttlefish are extremely smart and have evolved with some really cool ways to capture prey.

They are sometimes referred to as ‘the masters of disguise’ because of their ability to blend in to match their surroundings almost instantaneously.  When camouflage doesn't work to catch dinner they instead start flashing different colors, which seems to hypnotize other animals in the ocean. 

 Cuttlefish have large, W shaped eyes that are very sophisticated and have no blind spot. They also have three hearts that pump their copper rich, green-blue blood.  Like other cephalopods they have ink that they can use to help evade predators. 

 We’re excited to show off our cuttlefish in a few short months! We look forward to seeing you in Draper!