Hey Shark Fin-atics! Come Celebrate Shark Week July 21 through 30

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Adventure Aquarium’s sharks wait all year for their favorite holiday…and it’s that time again!  You are invited to bring their chums Friday, July 21 through Sunday, July 30 to celebrate Discovery’s Shark Week.  When visiting during Shark Week, you’ll also have the chance to make history as the millionth person will dare to cross the Adventure Aquarium’s Shark Bridge…will it be you??

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Shark Bridge, unveiled to guests in April of 2016, is the longest V-shaped rope suspension bridge of its kind in the world suspended over the 21-foot deep Shark Realm exhibit.  The attraction takes visitors just inches above nearly 30 remarkable sand tiger, sandbar, black tip and nurse sharks.  The millionth guest will cross during the week of shark festivities, creating the ultimate Shark Week experience and an unforgettable, one-of-a-kind thrill.

“Our guests have enjoyed facing their fears and have dared to cross Shark Bridge since the attraction opened last year,” said Vince Nicoletti, Executive Director of Adventure Aquarium.  “We look forward to our millionth guest crossing Shark Bridge during Shark Week when these amazing animals are in the spotlight.”

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Adventure Aquarium offers guests a wide variety of ways to see sharks up close. In addition to Shark Bridge, visitors can touch sharks at the interactive Touch A Shark exhibit, surround themselves with sharks as they walk through Shark Tunnel and even dive in during a Shark & Ray In-Water Encounter.   Normally offered exclusively on weekends, the Shark & Ray In-Water Encounter will be available for guests every day during Shark Week.

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“Our guests are always looking for ways to get closer to our collection of sharks but even more so during Shark Week,” said Nikki Grandinetti, Curator of Fish and Invertebrates at Adventure Aquarium. “With the addition of daily Shark & Ray In-Water Encounters, our visitors will be able to go beyond their television screens and snorkel alongside four species of sharks in Shark Realm – with no glass in-between.”

Shark “fin-atics” can look forward to Shark Week programming, taking place Friday July 21 through Sunday, July 30, with a sneak preview of Discovery’s Shark Week episode “Shark Safari” in Ocean Realm, special ever popular shark fin hat giveaways, shark-themed talks and more.  Guests are also encouraged to wear their best shark-themed gear during the celebration.  We can’t wait to see you here!

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Penguins. Penguins. And More Penguins.

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Hello sweet summer!  With the heat index skyrocketing, summertime is officially here.  To celebrate, Adventure Aquarium’s largest-ever group of waddling, playful African penguins returns this weekend to kick off the season at Penguin Island!  Here are the top reasons to join the celebration!

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#1. Breakfast for Penguins & Members – Forget Breakfast at Tiffany’s…Hundreds of Aquarium Members will enjoy pastries, coffee and juice while 35 African penguins eat their breakfast (scheduled for 8:30 a.m.), play and swim together on exhibit.  Members can still RSVP to reserve their spot!

P.S. Not a Member? Become one today and join the fun!

#2. Our newest chick, Lemmie, makes her official debut – Lemmie will waddle out and join the Aquarium’s largest-ever flock of African penguins. Watch as she swims and plays at Penguin Island for the first time! (We’re so proud of our little girl!)

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#3. Catch 35 Waddling, Playful Penguins – The penguins are now more active than ever following Penguin Island exhibit renovations. Come see all 35 penguins swim together, climb on rocks and waddle on land!

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#4. Prominent Penguins, Class of 35 – Each of our penguins has a very unique personality of its own. AAQ created a list of penguin superlatives representing these distinct personality traits. Come see who was voted class clown, best dressed, most likely to be President, cutest couple and more…then see them in-person on exhibit!

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#5. Perfectly-Penguin Shows and Feeds – Visitors can check out a jam-packed penguin schedule all weekend-long, including biologists feeding the penguins their favorite meal – FISH and SQUID – as Penguin Experts provide fun penguins facts.  In addition, you’ll be able to watch the penguins play and swim on exhibit. Shows and Feedings are held in Penguin Island and are free for all Adventure Aquarium guests. Arrive early to grab a spot, as this is a popular show for visitors.

  • African Penguin Talks – 1:30pm and 2:30pm Friday – Sunday
  • African Penguin Feeds – 11:15am and 3:30pm Friday – Sunday

#6. Win a Penguin Encounter – Guests will enter a sweepstakes for the chance to win a behind the scenes Penguin Encounter.

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Want to guarantee your spot at a Penguin Encounter this summer? Now through August 27, Penguin Encounters will be available on Fridays at 10:15 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. in addition to the Saturday and Sunday 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. time slots. Book yours today!

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Hip-Hippo-Hooray…You’re Invited to Genny’s 17th Birthday Celebration!

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Hippo-sized birthday fun’s in store with special hippo-friendly cake, giant birthday cards, hippo party games and more!

You’re invited to celebrate Genny the Nile hippo’s 17th birthday weekend, Friday, July 7 through Sunday, July 9!  Hippo Haven will turn into hippo party central, with decorations and fanfare, as guests and staff will join in the fun surrounding the birthday girl’s big day.

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“Celebrating birthdays are always fun, but celebrating a 4,000-pound hippo’s birthday is extra special,” said Michele Pagel, Curator of Birds and Mammals at Adventure Aquarium. “Our Members and guests know and love both of our girls, Genny and Button, and we’re so excited to share Genny’s very special birthday festivities with them.”

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In New Jersey, drivers must be seventeen years old to receive their driver’s license. This year, Genny is reaching that milestone and, since she is now able to get behind the wheel, will receive her provisionary driver’s license. To commemorate the special occasion, a special New Jersey driver’s license birthday cake, provided by DiBartolo’s Bakery, will be distributed to guests during the Friday, July 7 kickoff event beginning at 10:00 a.m. (while supplies last).  In addition, local West Deptford theater students will lead guests in the singing of happy birthday to the hippo of honor.

Genny, born on July 10, 2000 at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Florida, is the larger of the two ladies, weighing over 4,000 pounds. Her hippo gal pal Button, weighing in at just over 3,000 pounds and 20-years-old, was born on March 22, 1997 at Parque Zoological de Leon in Mexico.

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“Each hippo is unique in their physical appearance and personality traits but they have one thing in common – they love to eat,” said Pagel. “Keeping that in mind, we will present vegan ‘hippo birthday cakes’ to the girls each morning throughout the weekend as guests sing happy birthday in Hippo Haven.  It will definitely be a fun way for everyone to start each day!”

The fun will continue with special birthday celebration programming, featuring a variety of enrichment, hippo talks, hippo party games, the singing of happy birthday and hippo treats showcased all weekend-long.  Guests will also have the opportunity to wish Genny a wonderful day on “hippo-sized” birthday cards displayed in Hippo Haven. At the end of each day, guests will have one final opportunity to wish Genny a happy birthday and a good night during Hippo Bedtime.

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Aquarium visitors will not only experience how special it is to celebrate a hippo’s birthday at Adventure Aquarium but they will also be able to enter a sweepstakes to win a free birthday party at the Aquarium.  One lucky guest will win their very own birthday party with the drawing taking place on Friday, July 14.

Guests and visitors are encouraged to follow the Aquarium’s social media accounts to stay up to date on animal birthdays, birth announcements, events and more.

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4 Reasons to Visit AAQ over the 4th of July Holiday Weekend

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In honor of the 4th of July holiday, and because we’re just across the Delaware from where the whole thing started back in 1776, we wanted to give you the top 4 reasons you should visit Adventure Aquarium during the Independence Holiday Weekend.

We see this as a 5, count ’em, FIVE-day weekend beginning on Friday, June 30th and ending on the Tuesday, July 4th. The question is: How is your family going to spend those lovely summer days and nights??

#1. Come Independence Day Splash with us!

Join us on Saturday, July 1st from 5 PM to 9 PM for our 7th annual Independence Day Splash. Celebrate the patriotic weekend with extended hours and a DJ dance party. Then end the night with fireworks along the Camden Waterfront.

Looking for an exclusive experience? Come to our Members-only fireworks festivities on Friday, June 30.  Not a Member?  It’s not too late to join!

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#2. Make it a Ferry Combo for More Fourth Fun

Can’t decide between checking out Philadelphia AND visiting AAQ? Do both – with a ferry ride in between! With the Ferry Combo ticket, you get all the underwater world fun and a nice ride on the Delaware River to visit Philly during the long historic holiday weekend.

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#3. Fireworks on the Delaware 

If you haven’t seen a fireworks show on the Camden Waterfront, now is the time to go! Picture it: Beautiful fireworks with the birthplace of America as your backdrop – it doesn’t get any better than that!

There will be fireworks shows on Friday, June 30th, Saturday, July 1st and Tuesday, July 4th.  Shows are scheduled to begin at 9:30 pm each date.  So, visit us first, then grab a spot along the Camden Waterfront for a truly patriotic ending to a perfect aquarium day.

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#4. We’re honoring military with a special discount

As a thank you to the men and women in our military, we are honored to offer a $4 discount on one-day admission tickets for active or retired military, disabled veterans, and military reservists, spouses and dependents.

Valid military personnel IDs and dependent IDs are required.  This offer valid at the Box Office only.

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BONUS! #5. A visit to the underwater world

Since we’ll all be celebrating our nation’s independence with a 5-day weekend, here’s a 5th reason to celebrate with Adventure Aquarium! 8,500 aquatic animals, including sharks, sea turtles, hippos, penguins, stingrays and more! Well, that’s more like 8,500 more reasons but that would be a really long countdown.  *wink*

Any way you slice it, it’s going to be an amazing July 4th holiday weekend – made even better by a visit to Adventure Aquarium.  We can’t wait to see you and your family!

P.S. HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!!!

UPDATE: Penguin Island Renovations Going Swimmingly

We’re excited to share an update on our Penguin Island renovations!

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The rockwork forms have been filled solid with concrete and all nest boxes and rock formations have been placed in the exhibit.  You can see the attached pictures for a very different looking landscape in the exhibit for our colony to explore and create nesting territories.

A misting system layout has been incorporated into the rockwork which will help our African penguins stay cool in the warmer temperatures when they’re on exhibit.

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The system that will heat the deck is being laid out (you can see it the orange cable on the deck in the photo above!) and the controls for this system are being installed (Electrical sub).  The orange cable you see on the deck area in the attached depicts the system which will keep the deck from freezing and keep our penguins warm in colder temperatures.

In addition, we have plumbed-in a small water feature that will serve as enrichment for the penguins and this will add a little interest to the hardscape.

The penguins continue to do well in the annex, including our newly-announced chick, Lemmie.

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After the monsoon left New Jersey two weekends ago, the first layer of concrete was put down.  Soon the final layer of concrete will be put on to the rocks/nests, pool and beach, which will give the concrete a more textured, natural appearance.  The last step will be coloring the new concrete to match their natural habitat.

We can’t wait to bring the African penguin colony back on exhibit to meet and greet everyone – especially YOU!

 

Sharks Take the Spotlight this Memorial Day Weekend

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Memorial Day Weekend is the unofficial start of summer.  And summer means school’s out, sunshine, shore weekends and, of course, SHARKS.

This holiday weekend, we’re putting everyone’s favorite apex predator center stage during our first-ever Shark Awareness Weekend, Saturday, May 27 through Monday, May 29.

Shark Awareness Weekend, included with admission, will focus on shark medical care, behaviors and the various species of sharks – all while raising money for sharks in the wild.

All donations collected during the weekend’s festivities will benefit OCEARCH.  The non-profit organization founded in 2009 is a recognized world leader in collecting research and data to track and conduct biological studies of marine species, such as great white and tiger sharks. Their team goes on expeditions and tags sharks in the wild. They are then able to track each shark’s movement through the ocean. OCEARCH also works to help educate and conduct conservation outreach.

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As guests get closer to sharks all weekend-long, members of the military, along with their families, can also take advantage of a special discounted ticket offer.

What’s Planned for Shark Awareness Weekend?

Spotlight on May’s #AAQFeaturedCreature: SHARKS – Get to know the largest collection of sharks on the East Coast all weekend-long.  Ask biologists all your shark-centric questions and try to decide which species is your favorite.

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Behind the Scenes Shark Video – Sharks get doctor’s check-ups? Want to learn more about sharks in the wild? Take a look at how AAQ cares for its sharks and how OCEARCH keeps track of sharks in the wild. Location: Ocean Realm Panoramic Window (Zone A)

Shark Egg and Epaulette Display – Some sharks lay eggs. Wonder what a shark egg looks like? Take a dive into various shark displays.  Location: Ocean Realm Panoramic Window (Zone A)

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We’re Talking Sharks All Weekend – There is so much to learn about sharks – especially the largest collection of sharks on the East Coast. Learn all about their diet, teeth, lifespan and more! Guests are encouraged to check their show guide for times. Location: Shark Tunnel (Zone D)

Sharks: Fact or Fiction – Guests can visit the Shark Fact or Fiction table to receive info and then guess if it is a shark fact or shark fiction. Get it right and take home a shark-tastic temporary tattoo! Location: Blue Mile (Zone B)

*SOLD OUT* Shark & Ray In-Water Encounter for just $99 per person! Snorkel in Shark Realm alongside dozens of sharks. Space is limited, while supplies last. Location: Shark Shack (Zone D)

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Spin and Win! – Donate $3 to OCEARCH and spin the wheel to win a custom I LOVE SHARKS mug, or other shark prizes! Location: Ocean Realm Panoramic Window (Zone A)

Adoptable Sharks – Well, sort of…guests can adopt a shark during their visit.  Receive a special adoption certificate, a shark plush and more! Proceeds benefit shark care and OCEARCH.  Location: The Gift Shop (Zone D)

Can’t wait to sea you this weekend!

Penguin Chicks’ Arrival Gives Two First-time Moms An Extra Special Mother’s Day!

We are thrilled to officially announce the hatching of two female penguin chicks, one from each penguin species exhibited at the Aquarium!  The Aquarium’s 27th African penguin chick, a girl named Lemmie, and the second little blue chick ever to hatch at the Aquarium, also a female and yet to be named, are doing well and growing fast.

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Newly-hatched African penguin, Lemmie (left) and little blue penguin girl, yet to be named, (right) pose for the camera.

Lemmie, named by Aquarium staff, hatched behind the scenes of the Penguin Island exhibit to first-time parents, Mouse and Cliff, on March 29, 2017. Here she is pictured with her proud mama, Mouse!

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Lemmie and her mama, Mouse

The little blue chick hatched on Earth Day, April 22, to Sapphire and Bloke, first-time parents, in a nesting box on the Little Blue Beach exhibit at the Aquarium.  Mom Sapphire is here with her new little blue baby.

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Little blue girl and her mama, Sapphire

Guests will have the opportunity to vote on the little blue chick’s name beginning this Mother’s Day weekend!  The name options are: Kirra, an Australian Aboriginal name meaning “leaf,” also means “to live”; Talia, an Australian Aboriginal name meaning “near water”; and Terra, the Latin name for “Earth.”  Starting on Saturday, May 13, visitors can vote for their favorite name option using spare change at a voting station located in the Main Lobby. All donations will benefit little blue penguins in the wild and the Manly little penguin colony restoration through the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife.  The winning name will be revealed next month.

“Our team is thrilled to have two species of penguins hatch within just weeks of each other,” said Michele Pagel, Curator of Birds and Mammals at Adventure Aquarium.  “It’s been really fun watching each chick grow and develop.”

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The hatching of this African penguin chick is extra special as her parents, Cliff and Mouse, have been attempting to successfully breed for some time.

“It’s a victory for the entire team as well as mom and dad,” said Pagel.

Cliff and Mouse are one of the senior pairs in the Aquarium’s colony and have been highly recommended to breed by the Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s (AZA’s) Species Survival Plan (SSP).  AZA’s SSP is a program that encourages zoos and aquariums to work in concert to help ensure the survival of penguin species through a scientifically-controlled breeding program.

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“We were also fortunate to have our second little blue hatch just a few weeks later,” said Pagel.  “Both sets of parents have been very attentive to their little girls.  From day one, these moms and dads have been amazing.”

Both of the penguins’ genders were determined during early gender tests using DNA collected from inside the egg shell which resulted in female.  Blood tests will be conducted to confirm these results when the penguins are older.

Penguin chicks are very reliant on their parents when they first hatch.  Their eyes are closed, and their bodies are developing muscles that will eventually allow them to hold their head up and waddle. They also grow very quickly and, in just over a month, Lemmie has grown from just 64 grams (2.26 ounces, or almost the weight of a “C” size battery) to 2 kilograms (4 pounds, 4 ounces).  The little blue hatchling has grown from just 36 grams (1.27 ounces, or the weight of a 60 watt lightbulb) to 410 grams (14.5 ounces).

Just like the adult birds, penguin chicks eat about 25 to 30 small whole fish each day, including silversides, smelt, anchovies, trout and capelin. Lemmie and the little blue chick’s care were transferred from parents to AAQ keepers on Wednesday, May 10, 2017 at which point they were able to eat small but whole fish and were 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 colony,” said Pagel. “Both chicks have transitioned beautifully into our care, quickly taking to keepers as their new caregivers.  We look forward to introducing them to our guests in the near future.”

Both chicks will remain behind the scenes to allow them time to develop waterproof plumage before being introduced to their respective colonies.

With the addition of Lemmie, the African penguin colony now consists of 35 birds, the largest colony in Adventure Aquarium history.  The colony is currently behind the scenes as renovations to the Penguin Island exhibit take place through mid-June.

The little blue penguin colony, which arrived at the Aquarium in December 2015, now consists of 12 penguins, six males and six females.  The chick will also remain behind the scenes to develop waterproof plumage and grow larger in size before being reintroduced to the colony on exhibit at Little Blue Beach.

Guests and visitors are encouraged to follow the Aquarium’s social media accounts to stay up to date on animal births, announcements and events.