Oct. 2-3: Aquarium’s Baja Splash Festival celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month

Photo credit: Aquarium of the Pacific
Please note: This photo was taken prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, the Aquarium of the Pacific will host its annual Baja Splash Cultural Festival on Saturday and Sunday, October 2 and 3, 2021, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Last year this celebration was a virtual event, but this year plans are underway for an in-person event for the 20th anniversary of the Aquarium’s first cultural festival. These plans include having bilingual (English/Spanish) environmental educational programs, traditional dance, live music, and booths as part of the celebration.

Folk dancers and musicians representing cultures in Mexico and countries in Central and South America, including Aztec drummers and dancers, will share songs and dances in two locations this year—the Aquarium’s Honda Pacific Visions Theater and in front of the Aquarium’s tallest exhibit, the Honda Blue Cavern. The Aquarium will feature Mexican and Central and South American music programs for all ages. Some of the groups have been involved with this festival since it began two decades ago, including Danza Azteca Cultural Ketzaliztli, Folklorico del Mar, and Martin Espino.

The festival will include an award ceremony in its Honda Pacific Visions Theater on Saturday, October 2. This year the Aquarium will present its Heritage Award to longtime festival participant Martin Espino. Espino is a musician and teaching artist who for more than fifty years has been engaging community members of all ages, including those with disabilities, to explore music, languages, musical instruments, and cultures from ancient Mexico and beyond. To further cultural preservation, he has also worked with directors in incorporating his ancestral instruments in movies. He has led interactive performances at the Baja Splash Festival since it started twenty years ago. Last year for the Aquarium’s first virtual Baja Splash festival, Espino presented a free online workshop to engage children and adults at home during the pandemic by teaching them to create a musical instrument using recycled materials and other household items.

The Aquarium of the Pacific gives special thanks to the Bernadett Family for supporting the Little Ocean Explorers programming for its youngest learners during the festival. This special program will be offered in the Aquarium’s Ocean Theater. Also, as part of the festival, everyone can participate in a bilingual (English/Spanish) seaweed-themed loteria game with prizes in connection with the Aquarium’s Seafood for the Future program in the Ocean Theater on Saturday, October 2, at 3:40 p.m. You can also experience a seaweed touch tank from the California Seaweed Festival and learn more about the importance of sustainable seaweed as a source of food that can also combat climate change. Attendees can stop by the booth to take home recipes when they visit the front plaza of the Aquarium that weekend. Visitors can also explore booths from organizations like Caracol Museo de Ciencias (Science museum in Ensenada), Mujeres de la Tierra (environmental nonprofit), the Museum of Latin American Art, and Girasoles en Marcha (cultural organization for youth).

The name Baja Splash was inspired by Baja California, Mexico’s Gulf of California, which is one of the most important wildlife havens in the world. Visitors can learn more about this important ecosystem and how people can help protect it by exploring the Aquarium’s Gulf of California exhibition created with World Wildlife Fund Mexico. The festival is included with Aquarium admission. General admission is $36.95 per adult (ages 12+), $26.95 per child (ages 3-11), $33.95 per senior (ages 62+), and free for Aquarium members and children under age three. All festival elements are subject to change. Capacity is limited. Advance reservations are required for everyone. No walk-ups. Safety is the Aquarium’s top priority. Masks are required for everyone ages two and older. For the most current safety information, please visit aquariumofpacific.org/visit/aquarium_safety . For more information on the festival and for reservations, please visit aquariumofpacific.org/events/info/baja_splash_cultural_festival/.  


On Saturday, October 2, at 2:30 p.m. Pacific time, the Aquarium will broadcast a 20-minute presentation by Danza Azteca Cultural Ketzaliztli (Aztec drumming and dance) live on its Facebook page. This Baja Splash Cultural Festival program will be transmitted live from the Aquarium’s Honda Pacific Visions Theater. To view this free virtual program online, please visit this Aquarium webpage: pacific.to/bajasplash

Credit: The Aquarium of the Pacific.

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