The New England Aquarium said that it has received a $3 million gift from the New Balance Foundation.
The foundation is funded by New Balance Athletic Shoe Inc., a Boston-based company that makes athletic footwear and apparel.
The gift will be used to help build the New Balance Foundation Marine Mammal Center and to develop programs that use seals and sea lions to promote childhood fitness, said the aquarium, which added that it expects the mammal center to open in the spring of 2009.
"The New Balance Foundation is committed to encouraging childhood fitness and activity, and there is no better way to connect children to nature and the outdoors than through animals," Anne Davis, managing trustee of the New Balance Foundation, said in a statement.
(By Chris Reidy, Globe staff)