Love is in the Air at Little Blue Beach


Are you a fan of ABC’s The Bachelor? Uh huh, we aren’t either…wink, wink. Well, we’re excited to have our very own Bachelor: Little Blue Beach Edition. Will they accept the rose (or maybe krill)?

Last week, Adventure Aquarium announced two adult female little blue penguins were added to the colony to help support the Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s (AZA’s) Species Survival Plan (SSP).  With the new female penguins’ arrival the colony now consists of five females and six males. (Yay, more #girlpower!)


“We recently welcomed two female little blues, Maremma and Kororaa,” said Michele Pagel, Curator of Birds and Mammals at Adventure Aquarium.  “As recommended by AZA’s SSP, two of our eligible penguin bachelors, Indigo and Cobalt, were moved off exhibit to bond with these ladies behind the scenes.  We’ll have to wait and see if love blooms.”

Maremma, nine-months-old, and Kororaa, eight-years-old, arrived from New England Aquarium on December 14, 2016 and were placed into standard quarantine for one month.  On January 17, 2017, the male little blues were removed from Little Blue Beach and joined the females in their back of house area.  Staff will allow the birds time to bond in hopes they will pair off as mates.


The Aquarium participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s (AZA’s) little blue penguin Species Survival Plan (SSP), a program that encourages zoos and aquariums to work in concert to help ensure the survival of little blue penguins through a scientifically-controlled breeding program.

Want to see the new ladies? Of course you do! You’ll have the opportunity to see Maremma and Kororaa on exhibit for the first time, along with the return of Indigo and Cobalt, in the coming weeks! Will they be paired up as couples? Who will they choose? We’ll share details about their debut and return on Facebook and our other social accounts – so stay tuned!


Instameet Me at AAQ?


We held our first-ever Adventure Aquarium Instameet on Sunday, January 8th at Little Blue Beach in Zone A and it was awesome!  The Instameet focused on our little blue penguins which seemed like a perfect fit since they are January’s Featured Creature of the Month.


We invited social media rock stars to participate in the Instameet by registering on our website.  From there, we gave them free reign of Little Blue Beach and allowed them exclusive access to our little blue colony before we opened to the public.  Imagine getting that perfect shot without worrying about someone stepping in front of your camera!

We can’t wait to see how these Instagram experts captured the little blues in their photos! We’ll share their images on our accounts later this month – so be on the lookout!

Are you interested in attending an #AAQInstameet?  We’re hosting them throughout the year so follow our social accounts to see when the next will be held and which animal will be featured.  Space is limited so we encourage you to register as soon as we announce the date.


Please note: To participate in an #AAQInstameet, you must register through, be an active Instagram user, at least 18 years of age and agree to a photography use agreement. 


Cutest.Baby.Ever. Our 1st Little Blue Chick Hatched!


Biologist Jamie Hogan and our baby blue on day 1. #Loveatfirstsight

Our baby boom continues with the announcement of our first-ever little blue penguin chick!

We are beyond thrilled to officially announce the hatching of our first-ever little blue penguin chick, just days before the one year anniversary of the opening of Little Blue Beach and the arrival of the little blue penguin colony!


The chick hatched inside a nesting box to first-time parents, Sheila and Goose, on the Little Blue Beach exhibit on December 3, 2016 under the watchful eye of Aquarium staff.


“The birth of our first little blue chick is not only a historic event for Adventure Aquarium but it is also extremely exciting for our team and the colony,” said Michele Pagel, Curator of Birds and Mammals at Adventure Aquarium.  “We were also fortunate to have very attentive parents for this little blue.  Mom and dad have been amazing from day one.”

Much like newborn human babies, when penguin chicks first hatch, they are very dependent on their parents.  The penguin’s eyes are closed, and their bodies are developing muscles that will eventually allow them to hold their head up and walk (or waddle). A major difference between penguin and human babies is that penguin growth happens very quickly.  Little blue penguins have an even more accelerated growth rate.  In just over a month, the hatchling has grown from just 35 grams (1.23 ounces) to 983 grams (2 pounds, 3 ounces), already weighing the same as other adults in the little blue colony.


Just like the adult birds, the chick eats about 25 to 30 small whole fish each day, including silversides, smelt, anchovies, trout and capelin. The chick’s care was transferred from its parents to AAQ keepers on Wednesday, December 21, 2016 at which point it was able to eat small but whole fish and was more physically developed and mobile.


“Young penguins need to learn how to eat from human hands, associate fish with the feed bucket and learn to be social with the keepers, which are all important steps to becoming part of the little blue colony,” said Pagel. “This little blue, who is extremely laid back and relaxed, quickly took to her keepers as her new caregivers, eating from them the very first day.  This was really the best case scenario when transitioning to our care.”


Can you handle this cuteness?

Also, it’s a GIRL!  The chick’s gender was determined during early gender tests using DNA collected from inside the egg shell which resulted in female.  A blood test will be conducted to confirm these results when she is older. She will remain behind the scenes to allow her time to develop her waterproof plumage before eventually being reintroduced to the colony in the Little Blue Beach exhibit.

You, our awesome visitors and fans, will have the opportunity to help name the new little blue chick during an online vote to be held later this month.  Details will be shared via the Aquarium’s social media accounts.  (Psst…We encourage you to follow our accounts to stay up-to-date on animal birth announcements as well as events and happenings.)

With the addition of the female hatchling, the little blue colony currently consists of three females and six males, ranging in age from one month to 4 years of age.  The original colony members were born at the Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia and temporarily resided at the Bronx Zoo before travelling to their permanent home of Adventure Aquarium in late December, 2015.

 The Aquarium participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s (AZA’s) little blue penguin Species Survival Plan (SSP), a program that encourages zoos and aquariums to work in concert to help ensure the survival of little blue penguins through a scientifically-controlled breeding program.

We look forward to providing more updates on this little one right here on Adventure Insider as well as our social accounts!


See you later!

Say Hello to our Baby New Year!


Say hello to our new loggerhead hatchling!

Adventure Aquarium welcomed its own “Baby New Year” of 2017 with the announcement of a new loggerhead sea turtle hatchling last week.


So tiny – Biologist Samantha Ehinger picked up the new hatchling from North Carolina Aquarium last fall.

You can now visit the hatchling on exhibit in Sea Turtle Cove, adjacent to Ocean Realm where the Aquarium’s adult sea turtles reside.  The young turtle, that hatched last August, will call Adventure Aquarium home for most of the year until it is released into the Gulf Stream off the coast of North Carolina, along with other yearlings from aquariums all over the country, this coming fall.  We won’t know the gender of this little one as that can’t be identified until a loggerhead sea turtle reaches sexual maturity at the approximate age of 21.



Each year, Adventure Aquarium welcomes a hatchling from North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores Sea Turtle Program to rehabilitate for one year.  Biologists will help guide and train the hatchling to do activities it would normally do in the wild as a sort of “survival school” for sea turtles.


He was just 86 grams when he arrived last fall – that’s just over 3 ounces!

“The hatchling came to us weighing 86 grams and is now over 226 grams, or just under eight ounces,” said Nikki Grandinetti, Curator of Fish and Invertebrates at Adventure Aquarium.  “He loves jellies and shrimp. He’s also very active and investigates anything with his mouth.”


He especially loves eating salmon eggs (what he’s chomping on in the photo above).

During the month of January, Adventure Aquarium is also asking guests to help select the name of the young turtle at a voting station located in the Main Lobby of the Aquarium.  The name options are: Darwin, Griswold, Groot and Tina.  Using spare change, guests visiting Adventure Aquarium will be able to vote for their favorite name choice.  The winning name will be announced this coming February.


Check Adventure Aquarium’s website and social accounts for the latest news about our loggerhead hatchling as well as the other Aquarium animals, events and more.

Fun Fact: This little one hatched from the same nest as our sister aquarium, Newport Aquarium. #Siblings


Come visit me soon!

I Believe in Scuba Santa. Do you?


The magic of the holiday season is approaching. Soon there will be a chill in the air, snow will fall and as each Christmas tree is lit we will be one step closer to the most wonderful time of the year: Christmas!

Our 8th annual Christmas Celebration begins on Saturday, December 3rd and with it brings the return of everyone’s favorite man in the red wetsuit – SCUBA SANTA!


If you’re like us, you CANNOT WAIT to see this guy again.  He’s jolly, he loves scuba diving in Ocean Realm to meet and greet with kids and animals alike and he’s Santa aka awesome.

You can catch him throughout the month of December as he swims alongside magnificent sharks, incredible sea turtles and graceful stingrays in the Aquarium’s 760,000-gallon Ocean Realm exhibit. He’ll also swim by the panoramic window for some extra special up close time with kiddos. Get your cameras ready!

All Christmas Celebration activities are included with Aquarium admission and Membership.  (Hint: The Gift of Adventure makes holiday giving super easy!)

Curious as to what Scuba Santa has planned for Christmas Celebration? Here’s a sampling:

“I Believe in Scuba Santa” Live Show – Scuba Santa’s #1 Helper shares the story of Christmas Celebration and puts the final touches on the decorations in Ocean Realm Theater with the help of Scuba Santa himself.

Christmas Storytime – Listen to an elf share the story of Scuba Santa.  At the end of the story, watch as SNOW falls inside the Aquarium.  You can’t miss this!!

Mail your letters to Scuba Santa – Make your list, check it twice and mail your personalized letter in a special mailbox in Ocean Realm.  Families who provide an email address will even receive a special message response from Scuba Santa!  Please note: Make sure you mail your letters by Thursday, December 22nd to receive a response from Scuba Santa.

Did we mention that you’ll also be able to see 8,500 aquatic animals in addition to all this cool Christmas programming?  Makes for a pretty great time!


Say Hello to Our Mermaids!


We are thrilled to bring back the Mermaid Experience to Adventure Aquarium in just DAYS!

That’s right! Beginning on Saturday, November 5th, Adventure Aquarium will be home to Mermaids for a limited time.  They will swim into the hearts of guests every day through Sunday, November 13th.  These lovely merfolk can’t wait to make the dreams of each and every one of our visitors come true!

So…want to meet them?  Here is a special sneak peek at the Mermaids coming to Adventure Aquarium!

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Now that you’ve gotten to know our mermaids a little better, how excited are you to see them in-person (or in-Mermaid)?



Believe in the possibility…of Mermaids?


Are Mermaids real?

Don’t be so quick to answer.  How much do we really know about the ocean?  Earth is covered primarily by water and over 95% of the ocean remains unexplored. In fact, scientists know more about the surface of the moon than the ocean’s deep coral reefs. With so much of the underwater world still a mystery, why couldn’t Mermaids exist?


This November, we invite you to believe in the possibility… Mermaids are a magical part of our imagination. Their story has been passed down in literature and mythology, by sailors and pirates, and even in Hollywood.

Just take a look at all the stories and sightings recorded throughout history:

  • 1000 BC – Assyrian Mythology tells of Atargatis, the goddess who turns into a mermaid
  • 800 BC – Homer’s The Odyssey describes lovely Sirens, a version of mermaids
  • 1493 – Christopher Columbus notates mermaid sightings in daily log during 1st voyage to find a western trade route to Asia, before arriving in America
  • 1847 – Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid first published
  • 1984 – Ron Howard’s Splash premieres in movie theaters
  • 1989 – Disney Animation’s The Little Mermaid released in theaters
  • 2009 – Sightings on a beach in Kiryat Yam, Israel lead to $1 million dollar reward posted by Israeli government for evidence
  • 2012 – Animal Planet airs the docu-fiction Mermaids: The Body Found
  • 2014 – Mermaids swim at Adventure Aquarium for the first time – witnessed by over 24,000 people!
  • 2015 – Mermaids dive into Ocean Realm to record-breaking crowds once more.
  • 2016 – Mermaids return to Adventure Aquarium to see YOU!


Back by popular demand, you can experience the magical world of Mermaids every day from Saturday, November 5 through Sunday, November 13 when they return for a limited time engagement at Adventure Aquarium. Prepare to be mesmerized as you witness a real-life Mermaid swimming among sharks, sea turtles, stingrays and colorful fish in our 760,000-gallon Ocean Realm exhibit. Visit with a Mermaid on dry land during daily meet and greets, enjoy character appearances and more!

The Mermaid Experience is included with Aquarium admission.


Are you curious about what the Mermaids have planned?  Here’s a sampling of programming:

NEW! Mermaid Autographs – Have the opportunity to meet a Mermaid up close and on dry land in Shark Realm. Mermaid autographs are available daily during Mermaids.

Swimming Mermaid – At Ocean Realm “Panoramic” window, experience the underwater Mermaid as she swims among rare shark species, massive sea turtles, stingrays and more.

Meet a Mermaid! – Come up close on dry land for daily Mermaid meet and greets in Zone B. Have your picture taken with a Mermaid and take home a lasting memory of the magic you and your family experience.

Pirate Captain Appearance – Pirate greetings to all when entering the aquarium. Meet, greet and get your picture taken with one of our pirates all during Mermaids.

Mermaid and Pirate Face Painting and Glitter Tattoos – Channel your inner mermaid or pirate during your visit. Stacey’s Face Painting will offer themed face painting designs daily during Mermaids.

Mermaid Craft Table – Can’t get enough of Mermaids? Join us for Mermaid and Pirate arts and crafts! Create your very own Mermaid or Pirate theme crown – only on weekends.

Mermaid Shop – Mermaid merchandise will be available all week. From Mermaid apparel to Mermaid blankets to Pirate themed toys, there sure is something for all to enjoy (while supplies last).



During the Mermaid Experience at Adventure Aquarium, you will journey to a place where Mermaids are real. Their home is well-hidden from humans and you are about to discover it.


Are you ready for your Mermaid Adventure?