Aquarium accepting applications for specialty license plates
Fans of the Oklahoma Aquarium can now show off their enthusiasm for sea wildlife with the new Aquarium license plate.
Monday marked the first day for submitting applications for the aquarium-themed license plate. The aquarium must obtain 200 paid applications before the state can put the plates in production.
The aquarium has felt the desire to enter the license plate market for some time, but it wasn’t until earlier this year did aquarium officials seek out the requirements for creating one. Having a license plate will help aquarium awareness around the state.
“We’re trying to increase our state-wide reach,” president of the Oklahoma Aquarium Foundation Matthew Griffin said. “We consider ourselves a jewel of the state. You can be in Lawton and have one of these plates on your car or truck. It gives that state-wide appeal and opportunity to market.”
The license plates cost $40 with the Oklahoma Aquarium Foundation retaining half of the profits for themselves. As aquarium license plate holders renew their tags, the foundation will receive part of that money as well.
Those who purchase the tag will have the option of a state-given tag number or a custom saying at no extra cost.
The profits from license plate sales, coincided with the advertising opportunity, were the biggest motivators.
“Definitely (in Oklahoma), we reach a lot of corners, maybe a lot of corners we didn’t realize we were reaching,” Griffin said. “We have a reputation around the state, so it’s continuing to try to reach those parts. To me, this is one of the easiest ways to do it.”
Oklahoma Aquarium Foundation board members believed the time was right for the plates, seeing the hike in specialty license plate sales over the past two years.
“I feel like I’m seeing more custom plates,” Griffin said. “Tag agencies have quotes that up to 90% of people have complained (about the new license plates). I think not just us, but many non-profits are able to be the beneficiary of that situation.”
The plate has a blue background which features a drawing of a child pressing its hand on the glass as a Bull Shark swims overhead. The Oklahoma Aquarium houses the largest collection of Bull Sharks in the world.
The Aquarium looked to Chris Borella, the artist who created many of the works around the aquarium, to draw the renderings.
“He gave us several designs,” Griffin said. “It started out with just the shark and then later in the process he added the child with his hands on the glass. It tells a lot without saying a lot. It tells the story of the aquarium and that sense of wonder.”
Applications for the license plate can be found at https://www.okaquarium.org/235/Aquarium-License-Plate. All applications must be printed out and mailed to the Oklahoma Aquarium Foundation.
Aside from the financial advatages, many with the aquarium hope the license plates can bring the state together.
“I really think this is important to us because we’re not the Jenks Aquarium, we’re not the Tulsa Aquarium, we’re Oklahoma’s Aquarium and this is a great way for the whole state to feel great pride for their aquarium,” Aquarium Chief of Marketing Andrea Leitch said.