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Making history! First female appointed to oversee displays and conservation at iconic Sydney aquarium

October 23, 2020 Appointments / Movers & Shakers No Comments

For the first time in its 32-year history, SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium has appointed a female in the senior role of Displays Curator to ensure the highest standards of care and welfare of all animals in the aquarium as well as support and spearhead conservation initiatives.

The self-proclaimed “aquarium nerd” with 30 years experience in the global aquarium industry joined the Darling Harbour team this month, making her one of only two female Displays Curators at SEA LIFE Aquariums across Australia.

In the role, Laura will lead the development of amazing habitats and displays as well as a team of over 65 specialists and curators. She will also play a fundamental role in creating and implementing conservation and sustainability projects that align with SEA LIFE Trust charity initiatives and campaigns.

Additionally, Laura will step into the newly created role of Displays Curator ANZ to lead displays, engagement, conservation and welfare practices across Australia and New Zealand.

“I feel so fortunate to be here, to work with such a fantastic organisation at Australia’s largest and best aquarium. We not only want to create great experiences and memories at our attractions, but leave a positive, lasting impact on the world,” said Laura Simmons, Displays Curator of SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium.

“Laura is an expert when it comes to all things systems, welfare, sustainability, logistics and ethics, and we’re excited to have her join us here at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium,” Richard Dilly, General Manager of Merlin Entertainments Darling Harbour Attractions.

“With her enthusiasm, passion, credibility and knowledge, I am extremely confident that she will be an absolute asset to the team and help bring to life innovative ideas and experiences to bring guests closer than ever before to the wonders of the marine world.”

Growing up, Laura was an animal kid, playing in the forests, wetlands and rivers of north Florida. Her aquarium career began at Sea World in Orlando and during her 16 years there, she rose through the ranks to become the manager of the Aquarium Department for Discovery Cove, an immersive, fully interactive theme park.  She later became the Life Sciences Manager at Landry’s Inc., overseeing the development of aquariums for the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

Until recently, Laura lived in Cairns for up to a decade where she was the Curator/Project Manager at Cairns Marine.

Laura’s appointment follows the departure of former Displays Curator Chris Brown. Chris completed his two-year secondment at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium in August this year, during which he oversaw major display renovations including the multimillion dollar revamp of the Great Barrier Reef-inspired Day and Night on the Reef Zone, and implemented several conservation projects such as the critical White’s Seahorse conservation breeding program.

Shortly after his departure, Chris returned to the UK with his family.

Planning a trip to SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium? See more and save more with access to SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo, Madame Tussauds Sydney and Sydney Tower Eye on one Big Ticket. For more information, visit https://www.sydneyaquarium.com.au/.

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