Science Center Trustee Delores Kerr and Ben Kerr with their granddaughter Jade enjoy â€œIsland Zoneâ€ experience in the â€œExtreme Cocktailsâ€ reception at the Opening Gala.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley â€“ Thomas, California Science Center Foundation Board Chair Paul Madison and Science Center President Jeffrey Rudolph chat about the Ecosystems potential for helping everyone become better stewards of the environment. Roosevelt Madison and Paula Madison, California Science Center Foundation Board Chair, enjoy the festivities with Edna Anderson Owens, Board of Directors Vice Chair, and Curtis Owens. Roosevelt Madison, Al Roker of NBC News Today, Science Center Foundation Board Chair Paula Madison and Science Center President Jeffrey Rudolph greet each other in front of a â€œpolar ice wallâ€ which replicates one of the Extreme Zones in Ecosystems. Gala Guest Roni Faida Clark observe life in the Island Zone Tropical Reef Tank. BOARD OF DIRECTORS: Vice-Chair Edna Anderson Owens and Science Center Senior Vice President of Development and Marketing William Harris, say hello before enjoying dinner and entertainment in the â€œenchanted kelp forestâ€ setting.
CITY COUCILMEMBER: Herb Wesson and Fabian Wesson talk about the fabulous dÃ©cor in the â€œenchanted kelp forest,â€ which featured giant jellyfish hanging from the ceiling. POPULAR NBC BROADCASTERS: Al Roker and Fritz Coleman collaborated in raising nearly $100,000 through a live auction at the gala, including an opportunity to appear on the Today Show.
On Saturday, March 20th, the California Science Center celebrated a major milestone in its 25-year Master Plan with the Ecosystems Grand Opening Gala, which featured a first look at the new Ecosystems, a unique exhibit on the ecological sciences.
The feature of a major expansion which nearly doubles the amount of exhibition space at the Science Center, Ecosystems is an unprecedented blend of live animals and hands-on science exhibits in 11 immersive environments - unique among science centers in the United States.
The California Science Center's annual black-tie gala has steadily gained prominence and respect over its 12-year history. This year the event attracted more than 700 guests comprising community and business leaders and elected officials at local, state and federal levels. Gala Committee co-chairs are Wallis Annenberg, The Annenberg Foundation, and Suzanne Wright, Ibrahim El Hefni Technical Training Foundation.
Among the many community and business leaders present were Former Governor George Deukmejian, Senators Curren Price, Rod Wright and Gloria Romero, Assemblyman Mike Davis, Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Greuel, Councilmember Herb Wesson and his wife Fabian, who is Vice Chair of the Science Center Board of Directors, and Councilmember Jan Perry.
The event has been dubbed "a virtual who's who of the Los Angeles business community" by the Los Angeles Business Journal. Adding to the accolades, BizBash has named the Science Center gala among Southern California's Top 100 Events.
President, Jeffrey Rudolph notes that, "The proceeds from this fundraiser will help to provide a steady foundation while we raise the balance of Campaign funds necessary to pay for the expansion. Ecosystems will dramatically expand our ability to excite and empower people of all ages to become better stewards of the environment and will further expand the Science Center's role in our state's educational system. The generous support will move us closer to our goal of creating a national model for science learning and education."
Guests began the evening feeling like leading ecologists as they checked-in and were greeted at a "base camp field station". They enjoyed "Extreme Cocktails" in food and bar stations echoing the Extreme Zones before they proceeded on to exploring Ecosystems. Later, they dined on a three-course dinner in a tented "enchanted kelp forest" setting, where an auction and live entertainment took place.
The Ecosystems Grand Opening Gala was hosted by popular broadcasters Al Roker and Fritz Coleman. Al Roker, a nine-time Emmy winner, is a host and weatherman of NBC's TODAY Show. In addition to also being an accomplished television producer, Roker is a bestselling author with four acclaimed books to his credit.
Southern California broadcasting icon, Fritz Coleman is NBC4's weathercaster on the weekday editions of "Channel 4 News." Coleman, well known for his sense of humor and extensive knowledge of weather, has been named "Best Weathercaster" in nearly every major paper in Southern California. He is a long-time stand-up comic and has also written, produced and starred in three one-man plays.
Steel drums beckoned party-goers to an "Island Zone" gallery which, for one evening only, became a tiki-culture dance club complete with towering palm trees, a live dance band and lounge area. There were also private screenings of the new IMAX films "The Ultimate Wave Tahiti 3D" and "Hubble 3D".
Gala vendors of special note include: Blakeney Sanford - Fine Art for generously donating the use of her installations Surge and Blue Tube - 7.85 featured in the evening's dÅ½cor.
The "Too Hot Tamales", Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger and their team from Border Grill and Ciudad Catering which provided fanciful and delicious interpretation of Ecosystems' Extreme Zones for the evening's cocktail reception.
Located just south of downtown Los Angeles in Exposition Park, the California Science Center is one of Southern California's premier family destinations.
The Science Center's mission is to stimulate curiosity and inspire science learning in everyone by creating fun, memorable experiences and has welcomed over 16.5 million visitors since its grand opening in February of 1998