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The New Marineland of the Pacific
by Gene Wolfsheimer

Excerpt from the article in Aquarium Journal, Vol XXV, No. II, November, 1954

aquarium journal marineland
November, 1954
My personal experiences at this new oceanarium are many.  Two weeks before the regular public opening, as an officer-member of the Los Angeles Aquarium Society, I attended a field-trip here together with an estimated 400 other members and guests.  We enthusiastically trooped over most of the oceanarium's facilities even though construction was still underway at the time and no living exhibits were to be seen with the exception of the porpoises.  We were divided into two huge groups, one of these under the supervision of Mr. David Brown, my good friend, who is formally of the London Zoo Aquarium and now the Chief Aquarist of Marineland of the Pacific.  It is Dave's job to introduce the new specimens into their confined surroundings and keep them alive.  These few words of explanation hardly justify the herculean tasks involved.  Fortunately, Dave Brown has the assistance of fine maintenance, scientific and diving crews.  All of this staff is overseen by Mr. Kenneth Norris, the Curator of Fishes, and formally from Scripps Institute of Oceanography.  Both these gentlemen I know personally and it is my own opinion that Marineland if fortunate in having procured their talents.   

I had the honor of being invited to the press preview...the day before the regular opening.  At this time, with banners flying, the oceanarium was presented to officials, public dignitaries, scientists, educators, the press and many other honored guests.  All these persons were allowed to wander at their leisure, inspecting the many "ohs" and "ahs" the newly set-up aquariums.  I especially enjoyed examining the tropical "jewel" tanks, for amongst its inhabitants were some old friends.  During the collecting period, before the opening, I had been asked to receive and store some of the many Hawaiian specimens being collected by Mr. Jack Bitterly, president of the Los Angeles Aquarium Society.   Jack was commissioned by Marineland to collect these fishes and he spent 40 days on Oahu, the main island of the Hawaiian group.  About 18 of these days he was assisted in his skin-diving and collecting by Mr. Dick Wilson.  Both of these men collected and sent back a collection of fishes that has yet to be duplicated in Southern California. 

With ample assistance by Dave Brown, Ken Norris and some of the divers, about seven large glass-fronted cement aquariums were set up to contain marine fishes in one of my hatcheries.  For about one month I had an assortment of both beautiful and bizarre Hawaiian fishes to maintain.  This collection included butterfly fishes, wrasses, moray eels, Porcupine Puffers, damsel fishes, tangs and pomacentrids.  My experiences with this collection were dwarfed only by a similar private shipment of Hawaiian fishes made the previous year by Jack Bitterly.  Fortunately, I managed to obtain a photographic record, of many of the fishes in these shipments.