Join a penguin, comedian, musician, and others for the Aquarium’s largest fundraising event

Musician Kodi Lee
Photos courtesy of the Aquarium of the Pacific

For the first time, the nonprofit Aquarium of the Pacific’s Blue Whale Gala is going virtual. Everyone is invited to join comedian Iliza Shlesinger as she gets up-close with Fern the zebra shark, Gatz the Magellanic penguin, and Groot the giant Pacific octopus. Then, you can experience surprise cameo appearances by animal ambassadors, discover how the Aquarium is contributing to the recovery of endangered species, and celebrate with a toast. The Aquarium is also proud to present Charles Annenberg Weingarten, founder of, with its Ocean Conservation Award during this program. The evening will close with a musical performance by Kodi Lee, winner of America’s Got Talent Season 14. Lee has been a long-time participant in the Aquarium’s Festival of Human Abilities that celebrates the creative talents of people with disabilities, getting his start there when he was just 9 years old.

The Aquarium’s virtual Gala takes place on Saturday, June 12, 2021, at 6:30 p.m. Pacific Day Time (PDT) with the virtual cocktail reception, followed by the evening program at 7:15 p.m. Fully tax-deductible tickets for the evening program are available for $50, giving you exclusive access to stream the show from your home. You can visit to purchase tickets. All proceeds support the Aquarium’s education, conservation, and animal care programs.

HONOREE:    As founder of, Charles Annenberg Weingarten’s multimedia organization is the world’s largest live nature network with a mission to inspire life-long learning and champion the selfless acts of others. Thanks to Weingarten, the Aquarium of the Pacific installed its first two live web cameras in exhibits in 2010. Since then, the Aquarium has continued to strengthen the partnership with and currently has seven webcams in various exhibits from its 350,000-gallon Tropical Reef Habitat to its June Keyes Penguin Habitat. While these cameras have always been a great way to learn about the Aquarium of the Pacific’s animals, has given Aquarium members, donors, educators, and students the ability to connect with the animals throughout the pandemic and the temporary closures. Annenberg also serves as the vice president and director of the Annenberg Foundation, which has been a generous donor of the Aquarium for over twenty years. “With live cameras, the real essence is the selfless nature of individuals who are dedicated to making this place a better place to live in. As a philanthropist, you take care of what you love,” said Weingarten. 

WHEN:  Saturday, June 12, 2021, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. PDT

WHERE: Online (link to be provided after ticket purchase)

COST: $50 ticket (fully tax-deductible)

INFO: (562) 590-3100 or visit


Blue Whale Sponsors

  • Esther S.M. Chui Chao
  • Don Temple Family Charitable Foundation

Humpback Whale Sponsors

  • Bank of America
  • Johnny Carson Foundation
  • Pepsi
  • Port of Long Beach
  • Ed Feo
  • Michael and Millie Sondermann

Credit: The Aquarium of the Pacific.

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