A trip to Mendocino inspired Venice native, Tim Rudnick, to explore the local ecosystem of Venice Beach. It made him recognize the need to get people thinking about how the beach functions in its natural environment. A dead baby thornback ray on the beach gave him the idea of trying to bring back seawater flora and fauna through means of a marine museum.
Venice Oceanarium was launched in 1995 to build awareness of the ocean and Venice Beach, specifically, through educating the public and inspiring children. He opted for a “museum without walls” after realizing that an enclosed space was financially impossible.
Tim hosts events at the end of the Venice Pier and on the beach every Sunday for the public to view small exhibits of the marine population. Other educational activities celebrating the ocean have been popular over the years. An annual marathon out loud reading of Moby Dick in a weekend draws a crowd … as does … an annual Grunion Run party that witnesses the spawning of this species at the water’s edge. Nature walks and rides on research vessels are also offered. All are free of charge.
Near and dear to Tim’s heart is inspiring children. School activities and after-school events take place at local schools and the Oakwood Recreation Center with occasional field trips and beach visits. Tim helps students understand environmental issues such as climate change instilling in their young minds the need to make a difference now for future generations.
Plans are in the works for the permanent structure that Tim has long dreamt about. Now
a non-profit with a board of directors, Venice Oceanarium is gearing up for a marine museum.
Please go to veniceoceanarium.org to see museum plans, make a donation or sign up for their docent program.