Penguin Park: Explore. Play. Connect.


Our African penguins are back on exhibit after a year-long refurbishment, and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome them back.  Penguin Park is a project that we at Adventure Aquarium have been dreaming about for years and we are thrilled to finally share this outdoor space with all of you. Let me give you a little backstory.

As you know, Adventure Aquarium has always been committed to the welfare and stewardship of our animals, particularly as an AZA-accredited institution. Fundamentally, we settled on the idea of using this outdoor space as a place to explore, play and connect. We wanted to make Penguin Island more interactive for the largest colony of African penguins in our history and more engaging for our guests. With a new rock formation and more interactive water features, the penguins would be able to dip and dive with ease. And with a re-vamped underwater viewing area and more penguins in the water, guests would get closer to more of these amazing animals than ever before.


Before and after renovations of the exhibit

While the front of the exhibit that our guests see definitely changed, a majority of our work was done behind the scenes. We added a 40-square foot  building, doubling the square footage from the previous Penguin House, and added an indoor pool, one-of-a-kind nesting areas for our penguin pairs to encourage comfort while nesting, a penguins-only ramp for entering and exiting the exhibit, upgraded our filtration system to switch to salt water, added a separate food prep kitchen, and heated the decking the penguins walk on inside the exhibit to better control their climate.


Much like a heated floor in your bathroom or driveway, we added all of the extra features when designing this exhibit. While this may be mostly behind the scenes, we are working on ways to pull this story through to our guests, because it is important to us.

As the project continued to grow into a reality, we decided to include a soft play area next to Penguin Island for young minds to explore. We aptly named it Explorers Cove. We thought, “If this is truly a place to explore, play and connect for our penguins than it should be the same for our young guests.” The addition of a soft play area doubles down on our commitment to making this a family-friendly area where our guests can enrich their day.

When all was said and done, we put all of our ideas down on paper and what we saw was a park.  A park is a gathering place for families outdoors situated in your neighborhood or local community, but ours had  actual penguins! So we added additional outdoor seating and named the space Penguin Park. Penguin Park is a place where guests can learn about penguins as our colony only continues to grow (the penguins you will see starting March 24th will be Adventure Aquarium’s largest colony yet at 38 birds) and have a picnic while your children play close-by. We hope that this space will be a great spot for our guests to create lifelong memories.


We can’t wait for your family to visit Penguin Park and explore, play and connect not only with our African penguin colony but with each other as well.


Four Birds Join AAQ African Penguin Team

Meet our Newest Chicks!

Adventure Aquarium welcomed four new hatchlings this winter and the hype around these Birds is pretty crazy already.


Please give a warm welcome to the newest additions to the African penguin team, which also happens to be the largest colony in Adventure Aquarium history at 38 birds!


Hello, Taco


Taco, the eldest chick, hatched on November 20, 2017, and received her name from a fun combo of her parents’ names, Taki and Tatu.  She is just days from officially graduating from chick to juvenile stage, meaning she’s lost most of her fluffy down feathers for silvery waterproof plumage.  Taco has even had a few swimming lessons and has taken to water nicely.  At roughly 2.5 ounces, she was also one of the largest chicks to hatch at Adventure Aquarium.

Meet Shelley


Little miss Shelley is the daughter of Minnie and Kamikaze.  She hatched on December 4, 2017 and, unlike Taco, she was one of the smallest chicks ever to hatch at Adventure aquarium, weighing just 1.6 ounces.  Shelley was named in honor of a dear friend and colleague of Adventure Aquarium who recently passed away.

Say hello to Carson and Nick


And finally, Carson and Nick, brother penguins who hatched on December 10 and 13, respectively, to parents Diane and Jack, were named after the Super Bowl Champion Eagles’ two star quarterbacks.

“During our recent breeding seasons, we’ve been fortunate to have many chicks hatch but they were all females,” said Michele Pagel, Curator for Birds and Mammals at Adventure Aquarium.  “When these two hatched, we found out their genders were male after a DNA test.  Once the Eagles were Super Bowl bound we knew we had to honor the team in some way and this seemed like a perfect opportunity given that they’re brothers.”

Carson, who weighed 2.3 ounces at hatching, is a very timid penguin chick and is learning his way around. Nick, who weighed 1.98 ounces when he hatched, is a bit bolder than his brother and is very curious about the world around him.

The four chicks made their official debut at the annual What’s New at AAQ event earlier this week.  For now, they will remain behind the scenes to allow them time to grow larger in size as well as develop their waterproof plumage before eventually being introduced to the colony in the Penguin Island exhibit, which is set to reopen this spring.

Penguin Park: Opening Spring 2018


Speaking of reopening in the Spring…Penguin Park, a newly reimagined outdoor experience, will be open for guests visiting Zone B in just a few weeks.  Penguin Island, home to the largest African penguin colony in Adventure Aquarium history, will welcome the birds back on exhibit, which will feature a shade structure and rocky beach areas mimicking the environment the species would encounter in the wild.


Explorer’s Cove, an outdoor softplay area for younger guests to enjoy, will feature seven nautical-themed structures and also feature a shade structure for those particularly sunny days.  Families will also be able to relax and enjoy snack or lunch in a new outdoor seating space surrounded by manicured landscaping.




AAQ’s Octopus Makes Her Big Game Prediction – Who did she choose?

The AAQ Animals Hosted a Big Game Pep Rally for The Birds – and it was epic.

Animals have keen senses – and they know how to pick a winner. Celebrations were held throughout Adventure Aquarium on Thursday, 2/1/18 as even the aquarium animals were gearing up for the showdown on Sunday night and they seem to be rooting for the hometown team.

During special football-themed enrichment sessions, our aquarium animals displayed their team spirit.

The little blue penguins kicked off the party and hosted a pep rally on Little Blue Beach.

Loggerhead sea turtle, Bob, along with green sea turtles, Old Green and Stitches, passed green ice block-shaped footballs in Ocean Realm.


Divers sent a special underwater good luck message for The Birds in Ocean Realm.


Even the great hammerhead, Anchor, stopped in for some photo bomb action!


Our 6-month-old loggerhead hatchling had a private party as he chased miniature green ice block footballs filled with broccoli and shrimp in his exhibit.


Nile hippos, Genny and Button, made diving catches for green ice blocks in Hippo Haven.

Festivities concluded with giant Pacific octopus, Octavia, choosing the team she favors to win the Big Game in Jules Verne Gallery.

At first, it was hard to tell which tumbler filled with fishy treats she chose after being offered both Patriots and Eagles options…


But look closely…


She made it clear…her winning prediction for Super Bowl 52 is: THE EAGLES!


Thanks to all who stopped by during our special pep rally today – we had so much fun!

And enjoy the weekend, football fans! #EaglesNation #FlyEaglesFly

Made A New Year’s Resolution? Fulfill It With Us.

We’re 2 weeks into 2018 – time flies!  A new year brings new beginnings with a full calendar and so much time to fulfill all of the resolutions and goals you set for yourself.  We know making resolutions to be a better YOU this year can be a bit overwhelming.

Where do you start?  Well, we’re here to help!

Get Healthy.

A super popular resolution for many is the goal to be healthier in the new year. That could mean getting fit, losing weight, eating healthier or working toward a fitness goal – like running your first marathon.  We’re here to help you stay on track with AAQ Yoga Days!


Our first Yoga Day of 2018 is scheduled for this Sunday, January 28, 2018 at 10AM.  Keep up with your fitness goals in a truly unique setting as you go through each pose in front of our Shark Realm exhibit during an hour and fifteen minute long yoga class taught by one of our very own animal biologists. The class is open to all skill levels and participants must be at least 18 years old.

Spend More Quality Time with Family.


We live in a fast-paced world filled to the brim with busy schedules, tons of activities and, of course, social media.  When we’re rushing to get it all done we tend to put things off, like spending quality time with the people who mean the most to us: our family.

Discover Membership with us and you’ll have an entire year of family time at your fingertips. Imagine all the fun you and your family will have learning something new about your favorite animal, crossing Shark Bridge, checking out new exhibits and seeing a free 3D movie – and that’s just during one visit!

Now, for a limited time, we’re offering the best price of the year for Membership – making it even easier to fulfill this New Year’s goal.

Travel More.

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Travelling to far off, exotic locations = 2018 goals. But what if you could journey from continent to continent, no passport required?

Virtually travel all over the world when you visit the animals at Adventure Aquarium!  See species like little blue penguins from Australia, Nile hippos from Africa and red-bellied piranha from the Amazon River.  Head to the Pacific Northwest to discover the treasures found in the native cool waters there, like gorgeous sea stars and anemones (that you can touch!) in our Creature Feature touch pool in KidZone.  You can do it all in just one day – without any layovers or lost luggage!


Make a Difference.


When you help support a great cause, it definitely brightens your spirits.  It’s also a goal that impacts more than just the person who sets it.

If you made a resolution to support charitable efforts in 2018, you can attend our conservation awareness weekends to fulfill it. You and your family can learn more about the animals here at AAQ as well as their wild, endangered counterparts, including Nile hippos, sharks, African penguins and sea turtles. During these special weekends held throughout the year, you can also purchase unique items, like hippo kiss paintings, limited edition t-shirts and mugs.  These are not only excellent souvenirs but 100% of the proceeds from sales are donated to help animals in the wild.

Our first conservation weekend event will be Hippo Awareness Weekend, held during Presidents’ Day holiday weekend (February 17-19).  Genny and Button will host the party all weekend-long as guests see them during feeds and special enrichment sessions.  (Enrichment is an activity that the animals enjoy doing which helps stimulate their minds and bodies – kind of like an interactive puzzle!).

Donations made during the weekend will benefit the Turgwe Hippo Trust in Zimbabwe, Africa.  Since the weekend began, Adventure Aquarium guests have helped raise thousands of dollars to help the Turgwe hippos thrive in the wild.


Be sure to stop by for the fun that weekend and feel good about helping support a great cause.

Whatever your 2018 goals or resolution, remember to stick with it!

Presenting our Hardshell Baby New Year!

Say hello to our 2018 rehab and release loggerhead hatchling


OMG, we can’t even.

Our newest addition to the Adventure Aquarium family is officially on exhibit and, like proud parents watching their baby’s first steps, we are simply gushing over how well he’s* doing so far and crushing some major milestones.

*Side Note: You’ll notice that we’re referring to the loggerhead hatchling as a “he” in this post.  The thing is, we don’t actually know the gender of this wee baby sea turtle. You can’t tell the gender of a sea turtle until they reach sexual maturity, which happens when the turtle is about 20-years-old.  Because this little guy will be released as a yearling, we’ll never actually know its gender. And we really don’t want to call him/her an “it” for the time being SO we’ll just say “he”…OK? OK. *

Some Back Story

We participate annually in the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores’ Sea Turtle Program with this new hatchling being the fifth cared for by AAQ biologists.  The hatchling will receive guidance and training from biologists over the course of the year.  Activities mimicking what it would naturally do in the ocean will serve as a “sea turtle survival school” and help prepare for its life in the wild. The oceanic turtle will eventually be released this coming fall into the Gulf Stream off the coast of North Carolina, along with other yearlings from aquariums all over the country.

A Growing Baby Sea Turtle

The young turtle, which hatched last August, will call Adventure Aquarium home for much of the year.


After caring for him for about three months, our biologists have observed that this hatchling is very similar to our 2017 hatchling, Darwin.  He arrived weighing just 81 grams and was the size of the palm of your hand. In just a short time, he’s grown to over 249 grams or around the size of a tea cup saucer.  At that growth rate, he’s on track to be our biggest hatchling yet!

Not surprising due to his growth rate, this baby sea turtle has a voracious appetite and never misses a meal (no hangry turtle here).  He is also very active and curious – already enjoying ice block enrichment, one of his “survival school” lessons.  Now on exhibit, the turtle will be able to test his swimming skills as well as receive additional enrichment lessons all while guests have the opportunity to watch him grow.


Name Me Maybe?

During the month of January, we are asking you to help select the name of the young turtle at a voting station located in the Main Lobby.

Without further ado, here are the name options *drum roll*…

  • D’Artagnan: Dart for short – of Stranger Things 2 fame
  • Davey: Cute name, right?
  • Tyrion: After the fan-favorite Game of Thrones character
  • Maverick: As a homage to Top Gun

Using spare change, you can vote for your favorite name choice.  All donations collected from the name voting will benefit sea turtles in the wild and the Sea Turtle Conservancy. Stay tuned as the winning name will be announced this coming February!

So, please stop by Sea Turtle Cove during your next visit to give a warm welcome to our lil’ hatchling…and then help name him!


Ring in 2018 with our Kid-friendly Festivities – and Be Home Before Bedtime!

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We won’t make you wait until the stroke of midnight to celebrate the start of 2018 – especially when your kids have bedtimes waaaaaay before then.

Family, friends and fish will come together to welcome the New Year at a kid-friendly hour during our annual New Year’s Eve Splash event.  Not to mention we have some of the best views in town for the 6:00 p.m. fireworks display on the Delaware River Waterfront! 

What’s in store for this evening of fun?

Extended hours


Visit your favorite animals – and discover some new friends too – during twilight hours as we’ll be open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.  And don’t forget to cross Shark Bridge too!


What’s a party without music, right? 

Our entertaining DJ dance party will have you movin’ and groovin’ to family-friendly songs.  The tunes start at 2:00 p.m.

Fireworks on the Delaware

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Experience a beautiful New Year’s Eve fireworks display over the Delaware River with Philadelphia as the backdrop.  The show begins at 6:00 p.m. with spots to watch from inside and outside of the Aquarium.

Festive New Year’s Eve giveaways

While supplies last, we’ll have super fun New Year’s party hats, noise makers and more!

Wishing you a safe and Happy New Year!


Keep Winter Break Boredom at Bay!

Top 5 Reasons to Visit AAQ this Week

Merry Christmas and happy holidays everyone! We hope you are enjoying the most wonderful time of the year with family and friends.


But once the presents are unwrapped, the Christmas feast is eaten and your extended family heads back home, the kids are still off from school for an entire week! WOO HOO, it’s Winter Break, y’all!!

But…are your kids already experiencing symptoms of the dreaded WINTER BREAK BOREDOM?? *sigh*

Who wants to be a super mom or dad this year?

*raises hand*

Look no further!  Here are the top 5 reasons you should take the kiddos to AAQ this Winter Break…

#1. Scuba Santa is here until Saturday! 


His big night is obviously December 25th, but did you know Scuba Santa doesn’t head right back to the North Pole? He sticks around Adventure Aquarium for a little longer!  He officially depart on the morning of New Year’s Eve (to ring in the New Year with Mrs. Claus, of course) so catch him now through the 30th in Ocean Realm!

#2. Weather report looking a little “chin-chilly?” No worries!

Cheech and chong

Freezing temps outside may be in the 7-day outlook (hello high’s of 31 degrees!) this week but you can still get out of the house! A visit to AAQ keeps you inside where it’s cozy with lots of unique and interesting animals to see – including some d’awwww-worthy up-close animals like the chinchillas pictured above!

#3. Speaking of weather…no snow outside giving you the winter blues? It snows inside here!


I know I always wish for a picturesque white Christmas…but not this year!  If you’re a fan of snow get ready because, no matter what the forecast says, we guarantee snow flurries in the Rotunda during the Snow Shower Dance Party. And the best part? No shoveling required! So put on your dancing shoes and check your show guide when you arrive for when you can rock out to festive tunes with an elf!

#4. The World’s Tallest Underwater Christmas Tree


It’s super tall and colorful and…YES, it’s still here for the holidays! We won’t take the World’s Tallest Underwater Christmas Tree down just yet which gives you more time to see it. Pose for photos with your family and then watch as curious sharks and fish swim around this truly one-of-a-kind Christmas Tree.

#5. Say hello to 8,500 Aquatic Animals

This could be considered 8,500 reasons, huh? Well, let’s just say that no matter what time of year, our animals are always ready for visitors.   You’ll see adorable hippos, playful penguins, majestic sea turtles, touch pool sea stars and many others.  Take your kids to see their favorite animals or discover a brand new species to fall in love with!


Oh, there’s no place like Adventure Aquarium’s Christmas Underwater for the holidays…and you still have so much time to see it with your family and friends!  Until next time, have a safe and happy holiday season! XOXO