A new attraction may be in store for the low-key Venice Fishing Pier if plans from the Venice Oceanarium come to fruition.
The nonprofit organization sets up free marine biology exhibits at the end of the pier every Sunday, but ran plans for a longer term structure by the Venice Neighborhood Council last week.
“It’s been a goal since we started 20 years ago to get a permanent facility,” Venice Oceanarium founder Tim Rudnick tells Curbed.
In decades past, a bait shop greeted visitors at the end of the beach’s popular fishing pier, but today there are no permanent structures on the pier. Rudnick wants to install a pavilion on the footprint of the old bait shop to house displays on local marine life, oceanography, and water quality.
Founded in 1995, the Oceanarium is known both for its informational displays about marine animals and for its annual readings of Moby Dick on the beach. Rudnick says the organization’s museum-like facility would serve as a free-of-charge educational center for children, tourists, and locals who fish off the pier to learn about marine life in the area and to discuss issues affecting the ocean and its inhabitants.
Sketches of the project show that it would have an octagonal design, with double doors that would open outward during hours of operation, revealing exhibits. Features would include a touch tank and fountain, with solar panels on the roof.
To build the project, Rudnick says he’ll need to obtain a lease from the city to use the pier. He’s working with the Department of Recreation and Parks to make that happen, but says that a required structural analysis of the pier is holding things up a bit.
Initially, Rudnick had ambitions to construct a museum at the Venice Pavilion, but those plans were dashed when the city tore down the outdoor amphitheater in 2000. He says he set his sights on the pier after the Oceanarium’s weekly events there proved successful.
The organization, which is now soliciting donations for the project, also has plans to set up stations at other parts of the beach to educate visitors about the marine environment.