The brand-new facility will open in late 2024 with a range of bespoke hospitality offerings for every type of visitor to the Sarasota, Florida region

SARASOTA, Fla. – Sodexo Live!, the hospitality partner to the world’s most iconic venues, today announced a new agreement with Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, as they get ready to open the new Mote Science Education Aquarium (Mote SEA). The team will weave Mote’s mission and values with local Florida influence into the retail food and beverage offerings and all special event catering at the new Mote SEA, slated to open in late 2024. The new facility is under construction and is expected to attract an estimated 700,000 visitors in its first year.

Large building with sunset

“Mote SEA will be an iconic destination that not only provides unique experiential science learning opportunities to 70,000 K-12 students annually through local school systems’ use of three state-of-the-art Mote SEA teaching laboratories, but will also share Mote’s world-class marine research with visitors of all ages via a million gallons of informal science education exhibits and provide memorable guest experiences for attracting over 700,000 visitors from around the world each year, contributing to the thriving economy of the Sarasota-Manatee region,” said Dr. Michael P. Crosby, Mote President & CEO. “We are excited to welcome Sodexo Live! as a true partner in this effort. They have demonstrated commitment to our vision and will incorporate Mote’s culture of science, education and environmental sustainability into Mote SEA food and beverage spaces in innovative and engaging ways.”

Team of workers in hard hats

Menus will feature locally-sourced ingredients with a focus on sustainable, ocean- friendly practices, which is informed by Mote’s own science as a leader in environmentally sensitive marine and freshwater aquaculture research. New technologies will be featured throughout the food and beverage space, including quick-service options, as well as immersive sit-down dining, grab-and-go dishes and refined catering for special celebrations and events.

“We are thrilled that Mote has entrusted us to help curate the visitor experience at Mote SEA – from the ground up – for this stunning new facility,” said Matthew Wagner, Senior Vice President, Strategic Growth, Sodexo Live! North America. “Being able to help design the spaces, and start from scratch, excites our design teams and culinarians alike. We can’t wait to share in the excitement of opening in late 2024.”

Sodexo Live! has a firm grasp on the local landscape for procurement, staffing and more, serving as the hospitality provider at Sophie’s Saks Fifth Avenue, adjacent to the future home of Mote SEA. Sodexo Live! is committed to promoting sustainably-harvested and plant-based meals, offering ocean-friendly packaging and hosting special events where guests are educated on the sustainable sourcing of seafood.

The new 110,000 sq.-foot Mote SEA will have exhibits totaling more than 1 million gallons of water featuring sharks, live coral reefs, manatees, sea turtles, otters, and a myriad of other marine life. Marine science will fill each moment of the guest experience, with augmented reality and other technologies creating an immersive and educational guest experience. Building on Mote’s current programming that strategically collaborates with schools and community groups where needs are the greatest, Mote SEA will also continue to educate children who might not otherwise have access to marine science education. The construction of the facility is expected to have a $280 million economic impact on the greater Sarasota-Manatee county region.

Guests viewing sharks behind aquarium wall

Further details around retail concepts, local suppliers and menu items will be unveiled at a later date.

About Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium
Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, based in Sarasota, Florida, has conducted marine research since its founding as a small, one-room laboratory in 1955. Since then, Mote has grown to encompass more than 20 research and conservation programs that span the spectrum of marine science: sustainable aquaculture systems designed to alleviate growing pressures on wild fish populations; red tide research that works to inform the public and mitigate the adverse effects of red tide with innovative technologies; marine animal science, conservation and rehabilitation programs dedicated to the protection of animals such as sea turtles, manatees and dolphins; and much more. Mote Aquarium, accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, is open 365 days per year. Learn more at or connect with @motemarinelab on Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

About Sodexo Live!
Sodexo Live! manages prestigious conference, cultural, and sporting venues and major events all over the world. With 40,000 employees and 500 sites, Sodexo Live! offers clients a range of bespoke catering, sales, and event management services, helping to transform the consumer experience into unforgettable memories. Sodexo Live! commits to unlocking customers’ full potential while favoring local communities. Sodexo Live! contributes to the success of prestigious events such as Royal Ascot, the Tour de France, the Rugby World Cup and soon the Paris 2024 Games, and showcases exceptional venues such as the Eiffel Tower Restaurants, Bateaux Parisiens, Yachts de Paris, the Royal Academy of Arts in London, the Museo del Prado in Madrid, the Hard Rock Stadium, the Scottish National Gallery, and the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.

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