Scales and Ales: Audubon Aquarium hosts bubbly charity


Audubon Aquarium hosted Scales and Ales Sept. 7.

Emma Discher, Senior Staff Reporter

Fish and fancy drinks are a staple for fundraiser dinners, but it is not often that the sea creatures are on the entertainment lineup rather than on the dinner plates.

The Audubon Aquarium of the Americas did just that at the sixth annual Scales and Ales event Friday at the aquarium and the adjacent riverfront. More than 50 restaurant vendors, two DJs, the Steamboat Natchez and hundreds of attendees gathered for the event.

Scales and Ales benefits the aquarium’s education programs and conservation efforts. Some of the programs receiving funding are the Louisiana Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Rescue Program and the Junior Naturalists and AquaKids youth programs. LMMSTRP rescues and rehabilitates dolphins and sea turtles, and assists researchers in marine life conservation.


The vendors lined the outdoor plaza with sample sizes of everything from nachos to Baked Alaska. Many vendors also offered specialty drinks in addition to the 14 Abita beers on tap.

DJs set up inside and outside the event to provide the soundtrack for the evening. The Sirens of New Orleans marching krewe performed throughout the night in their Mardi Gras meets marine life costumes.

Most of the aquarium exhibits were open to partygoers, including stingray bay where they were able to pet the stingrays. Only a few exhibits with strict bedtimes for the animals were closed, including the penguins and the sea otters. A few scuba divers dove into the tunnel tank and encouraged selfie taking.


For senior Sohni Syed, the $125 VIP ticket was well worth it for early entrance and access to the Steamboat Natchez VIP bars and lounge. Syed grew up in Lake Charles, Louisiana, making the trip to New Orleans countless times to visit the aquarium, but never like this.

“We did it for my friend’s birthday initially but also we do love all three of the … Audubon locations,” Syed said. “We’ve been to all of them and we really thought it was such a great cause. … For the VIP we got to go on the steamboat Natchez and they had extra drinks and it was a getaway from the chaos of the outside area after a while. It was nice being out there and looking out at the Mississippi River.” 

General admission tickets to the event cost $75. 

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