Former aquarium director gets air time
What ever happened to former Waikiki Aquarium Director Bruce Carlson?
Answer: Carlson was on all the network morning shows and CNN last week for the opening of the Georgia Aquarium, where he is vice president for life sciences.
He is responsible for all the new exhibits and research programs for the new facility.
Carlson left Hawaii in April 2002 to become the second hire of the Georgia Aquarium project.
"I hated to leave Hawaii, but the opportunity for creating an aquarium like this is a once-in-a-lifetime," he said.
The $290 million project is all paid up thanks to Home Depot co-owner Bernie Marcus' $240 million donation and another $50 million in fundraising, Carlson said.
The facility contains a 6 million-gallon, 284-foot-long, 84-foot-deep whale shark aquarium -- the largest fish aquarium ever built.
It also boasts the largest living coral exhibit in the country; some of the corals originated at the Waikiki Aquarium.
A beluga whale exhibit is contained in an 800,000-gallon aquarium.
"In the last three years, I've learned a tremendous amount about creating large exhibits," he said. He has had no free time in the last month, working seven days a week.
He has returned a few times to Hawaii with his wife, who is from here, and visited the Waikiki Aquarium, as well as gone scuba diving.
He says that in Atlanta he is a five-hour drive from the ocean.
He has also traveled extensively for his work to Cancun, Florida, Taiwan, Japan and Belize.
Carlson worked at the Waikiki Aquarium for 26 years. He started in 1976 as a graduate student and was appointed director in 1990.
This update was written by Star-Bulletin reporter Leila Fujimori.
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