Aquarium Director

Heal the Bay Santa Monica, California
Job Type Paid permanent

Director of Heal the Bay’s Santa Monica Pier Aquarium

The Santa Monica Pier Aquarium offers school groups, families and visitors a unique view into the ocean world just outside its doors and is home to hundreds of organisms native to the Santa Monica Bay.  The interactive displays, touch tanks filled with tide pool animals, a shark tank, Kids’ Corner, and a scientific microscope lab are some of the main features of the Aquarium.  Our field trip education programs, educational birthday parties, children’s marine biology classes, education programs for the public and volunteer opportunities are all ways the public can be involved in the Aquarium experience. As the public learning center of Heal the Bay, the Aquarium also educates visitors about the importance of environmental stewardship and marine conservation.

The Santa Monica Pier Aquarium Director is responsible for overseeing the management of and fundraising for the facility and the staff.  Staff is comprised of aquarists, educators, public outreach and administrative personnel, augmented by 120 active volunteers.  The position is part of Heal the Bay’s management team.

The Aquarium is open seven days a week; business hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Some evening and weekend work will be required as well.  This position reports to the President of Heal the Bay.


  • Secure funding for programs, operations and staff through both earned revenue and donations
  • Manage annual operating budgets
  • Provide strategic vision and leadership with the Aquarium’s staff/volunteers
  • Provide strategic vision and leadership within the Santa Monica Pier community as well as with the City of Santa Monica, representing the interests of the Aquarium and Heal the Bay as the City develops a master plan for the Pier and moves forward with land use and infrastructure projects in the surrounding area
  • Inspire, support and maintain the highest quality and standards for staff, incorporating Heal the Bay’s mission in all efforts
  • Develop new fundraising relationships and maintain existing relationships to secure funding for programs, operations, and staff, including a future capital campaign
  • Maintain an active presence in the local community, especially with funders/sponsors and the tourism industry
  • Collaborate with staff to execute strategic plans, budgets, project planning and human resource issues
  • Develop strategic marketing and advertising opportunities and partnerships throughout the region
  • Collaborate with staff to bolster programming through exhibit design, public experience, classroom/program education and regional partnerships
  • Create and maintain interdepartmental projects of Heal the Bay’s mission and priorities
  • Provide leadership as a member of the management team of Heal the Bay, which includes interacting with the Aquarium Advisory Board and Heal the Bay’s Board of Directors
  • Serve as the Educational Programming Curator for the Santa Monica Pier curating large-scale educational events on the Santa Monica Pier
  • Additional responsibilities and projects as required

Qualifications, Experience & Skills:

  • Experience managing a public aquarium, museum, or education facility
  • Proven leadership skills and ability to maintain a creative and supportive work culture
  • Proven background in fundraising and development
  • Experience managing and communicating with multiple departments with creative, enthusiastic and dynamic staff from a variety of disciplines/backgrounds
  • Able to work in a shared space in close quarters
  • Organized, multi-tasker with strong decision-making skills
  • Strong writing and public speaking skills and familiarity with social media as a marketing tool
  • Passion for and an understanding of Heal the Bay’s mission, the ocean, and environmental health


  • Strong science and education background in the environmental field, marine biology or related fields
  • Existing relationships with local and state decision-makers, foundations, partner agencies, museum or science facilities
  • Previous experience in leading a capital campaign

Full time including some evenings and weekends required

Salary: commensurate with experience, full benefits

Start Date: ASAP


Please send a cover letter and resume by applying online at

Heal the Bay is an equal opportunity employer and actively recruits to promote diversity in our workforce.

When you apply, please indicate that you are responding to the posting on Conservation Job Board.