Our Conservation Practices

The Texas State Aquarium has a long standing history of excellence in interpreting the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean, and its inhabitants, but we do much more than that.

Environmental Sustainability Program

As part of our overall mission of conservation and education, the Texas State Aquarium formally launched its “Going Green” program in 2009. While many of the activities that we are engaged in have been ongoing for years, this year marks a formalization of the program. Our “Going Green” program is led by our operations team, but involves members from virtually every department within the organization.


Energy Conservation


  • Installation of automatic light switches in a number of areas to eliminate lights being left on for extended periods of time.
  • Extensive use of compact fluorescent light fixtures through the facility helps conserve electricity, and a transition towards LED lighting will further reduce energy use.
  • New programmable thermostats have been installed in office spaces so that areas can be cooled more efficiently and only when needed.
  • Purchased an electric golf cart to replace a gasoline powered truck for parking and security operations, and have installed photo voltaic cells on the carts for recharging.
  • Installation of timers on vending machines that previously ran 24 hours per day.
  • Purchased and installed a solar array with a grant from Green Mountain Energy.

Water Conservation

  • Automatic faucets and waterless urinals have been installed in all high use public restrooms to reduce water use.
  • Implementation of a new cleaning and filtration system on waterfall basins, which has eliminated the need for weekly dumping and refilling.


  • TSA staff has long recycled paper, cardboard, and plastic.
  • New recycling containers have been installed in public locations to encourage guests to recycle whenever possible.
  • A new recycling container specifically designed for guest’s maps and program schedules has been installed near the Aquarium’s exit.

Restaurant Operations

  • Offering reusable trays rather than non-reusable plastic bags for meals in the food court.
  • Switched to offering our guests biodegradable paper straws, which are also not harmful to our animal collection or local wildlife.
  • Switched to using biodegradable bamboo plates at our annual fundraising gala.

Education and Public Outreach

  • Developed a new “eco tip” newsletter that is emailed to all staff.
  • Dramatically reduced the amount of bottled water purchased, and installed new on-site tap water purification systems to replace bottled water.


  • Several of our larger landscaping beds have been converted to xeriscape beds, using drought-tolerant plant species and crushed granite material instead of plant-based mulch.

We partner with the following conservation-minded organizations:

For more information on the Aquarium Green Team, or how you can contribute to our conservation efforts, email [email protected]

Electric Car Charging Station & Nissan Leaf

In September of 2012, Ed Hicks Nissan has generously donated a Nissan Leaf – since custom wrapped with the Aquarium’s logo and educational information – to the facility, a nationally recognized not-for-profit AZA-accredited aquarium. Additionally, Nissan North America, Inc. has donated an electric car charging station to the TSA, which was the first of its kind at a cultural attraction in South Texas and helped further the facility’s ongoing efforts to operate as sustainably as possible.

At the time the donation was announced, Dealer Principal of Ed Hicks Nissan Charlie Hicks stated, “Our family is proud to be a part of the TSA’s sustainable operations efforts and recognize the Nissan Leaf as a true zero emission vehicle that symbolizes the electric vehicle movement as a viable alternative to gasoline-powered automobiles. From the seats made of recycled water bottles to the Leaf’s regenerative braking system, this five-star safety rated vehicle provides the equivalent of 106 miles per gallon without using a single drop of gas.”

The electric car charging station at the Texas State Aquarium is a high-voltage, high-current charging system which can completely recharge the Nissan Leaf in less than eight hours while saving on energy costs by scheduling off-peak charging through its intelligent power management system.

Texas State Aquarium President & CEO Tom Schmid commented, “The Nissan Leaf is another wonderful gift from a wonderfully generous family. For over 25 years, the Hicks family has supported the Aquarium, making significant investments to grow our education and exhibit programming and our wildlife rehabilitation efforts. With this donation, the Hicks family is demonstrating its strong commitment to sustainable operations and a sustainable future.”

Schmid continued, “We are honored by the generosity of Nissan North America, Inc., which has allowed the Texas State Aquarium to become the first cultural attraction in South Texas able to offer its guests an electric car charging station. We are excited to offer this environmentally-friendly option to our guests.”

The Aquarium places much importance on its steps toward sustainable operations, which include: Xeriscape landscaping, solar panels, automated light switches and faucets, waterless urinals, compostable restaurant supplies, a cleaning and filtration system on our waterfall basins, and extensive recycling throughout the facility.


We are the North Beach Host for the Texas General Land Office’s Adopt-a-Beach program. We organize staff and volunteers to clean up several tons of trash and marine debris from local beaches and coasts.

We host Adopt-a-Beach cleanups three times a year in February, April, and September. For more info, please call 1-877-TXCOAST or email Rosanna Gossett at [email protected]

Register for North Beach Corpus Christi