The oceans came alive at Cox Science Center’s recent “Exploring the Wonders of the Sea” Gala in West Palm Beach. The captivating evening, attended by more than 450 supporters, featured keynote speaker and deep-sea explorer, Dr. Edith Widder, who prefaced with remarks from co-chairs Lorna James, Talbott Maxey, and Tara Vecellio, to “open every mind to science.”

Co-chairs Tara Vecellio, Talbott Maxey and Lorna James

Honorary chairs included: Kathleen Crampton, Katharine Eyre and Laing Rogers, while the host committee was chaired by Wendy Bingham Cox and Allison Ridder Johnstone.

Beyond the glitz and glamour, we received some fascinating findings of what lies beneath the ocean’s surface from Dr Widder’s book, Below the Edge of Darkness, while guests gazed at stunning imagery of the deep-sea creatures that Widder has documented over the years, sharing the disparities that has led to a lack of underwater exploration. The renowned ocean explorer underscored that 71% of Earth’s surface is ocean water and holds extraordinary machinery of life but is also vastly under-mapped and is reaching temperatures that are breaking record spanning the last four decades.

And President and CEO Kate Arrizza announced the new emeritus group of trustees whose exceptional board service has led the Center to its strong financial state, including: Dan Cane, Frances Fisher, John Niblack, David Nicholson, Robert Stiller and Kathryn Vecillio.

The Cox Science Center and Aquarium’s current indoor/outdoor venue features more than 100 hands-on educational exhibits, a 10,000-gallon fresh and saltwater aquarium, digital planetarium, Pre-K focused “Discovery Center,” 18-hole conservation-themed mini golf course and quarter-mile-long science trail.

The current traveling exhibit on display is Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition now through April 2024.

For more information on the CSCA’s expansion campaign, visit

Mei Sze & Jeff Greene with Mayor Keith James

Wendy & Howard Cox

Ambassador Woody Johnson and Suzanne Johnson

Dr. Edith Widder, Chip DiPaula and Allison Ridder.

David Nicholson and Kate Azzizza