Four African penguin chicks, a loggerhead sea turtle hatchling, a school of piranha and more came together to introduce Adventure Aquarium’s new animals, exhibits and programming for 2017.
“We invite every family and guest that visits Adventure Aquarium to explore life underwater,” said Vince Nicoletti, Vice President and Executive Director of Adventure Aquarium. “The ocean is filled with magnificent stories. We challenge ourselves to tell these stories through unique and immersive experiences for each and every guest – whether it’s their very first visit or they’ve been a long-time Member of the Aquarium family.”
During the press conference held in Currents Ballroom at Adventure Aquarium, staff unveiled plans for new exhibits opening in the coming months as well as new animals and additions to programming, merchandise and other guest experiences.
So what do we have planned? We thought you’d never ask.
NEW! Piranha Falls – Beginning this April, guests will journey deep into the Amazon for an exhibit Adventure Aquarium guests have never experienced. See the most feared predator of the Amazon River – a school of red-bellied piranha. Experience the powerful rainstorms of the Amazon rainforest as the weather suddenly changes and guests are caught in the middle of the storm. A new Amazonian parrot display will feature some of our awesome birds as well! Learn how to survive in the Amazon like the animals and Amazonian people have done for thousands of years. In addition, guests can watch the Octonauts Amazon Adventure 3D film to continue their Amazonian experience. The 3D movie is now included with admission. For updates on this new spring exhibit, visit adventureaquarium.com.
NEW! PBS KIDS Jim Henson’s Splash and Bubbles Summer Experience – Fans of this fresh and fun animated series will enjoy a brand new guest experience surrounding the educational and entertaining PBS KIDS program. Beginning in late June, guests will experience a Splash and Bubbles themed 3D movie and have the opportunity to meet the characters at daily Splash and Bubbles dance parties. The Splash and Bubbles experience is free with admission.
NEW! #AAQFeaturedCreature – Throughout the year, Adventure Aquarium will focus on a new #AAQFeaturedCreature of the month, which began with little blue penguins in January and Nile hippos coming in February, primarily on social media. Guests are encouraged to follow the Aquarium’s social media accounts for a deeper dive into each animal species.
NEW! Instameets – In conjunction with the #AAQFeaturedCreature, a monthly Instameet will be held. Local social media rock stars will have the unique opportunity to come prior to the Aquarium opening or after hours to photograph these awesome animals. This series of exclusive events will allow them the opportunity to engage with the Aquarium’s exhibits and animals in a whole new way.
NEW! Little Blue Colony Additions – Recent arrivals from New England Aquarium, nine-month-old Maremma and eight-year-old Kororaa are currently behind the scenes with two little blue males, Indigo and Cobalt, in hopes they will pair off. Guests will 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. Details will be shared via the Aquarium’s social media accounts.
NEW! Fishy Resident Arrivals – Fans of fish are sure to be overjoyed when they see the new aquatic animals taking up residence in Shark Realm this coming summer. A school of menhaden will go on exhibit as well as a sizeable goliath grouper. In addition, shark ray pups will be arriving from Newport Aquarium in Kentucky, AAQ’s sister aquarium and go on exhibit at a later date. Finally, a hippo blue tang (aka Dory) was added to the clownfish exhibit on the second floor of the Aquarium in Kids’ Zone (Zone C) making it much easier for guests to “Find Dory.”
NEW! Names for the Fab Four African Penguin Chicks – The four female African penguin chicks that hatched last December made their first media appearance and the names given to the chicks by Aquarium staff were also announced: Mazie, Susie from clutch one; and Amani and Shida from clutch two. Mazie was a combination of Mom’s (Minnie) and Dad’s (Kamikaze) names. Susie was named after one of Adventure Aquarium’s longtime volunteers. Amani is Swahili for “peace” and Shida is Swahili for “trouble.” Swahili is native language spoken in South Africa, where the African penguins originated. The four chicks 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. Adventure Aquarium visitors will have the opportunity to see the chicks in the coming weeks. Staff will bring one of the chicks out from the back of house area following African penguin feeds, dependent on weather.
NEW! First-Ever Little Blue Penguin Chick Naming – The Aquarium’s first-ever little blue chick, which hatched on December 3, 2016, is currently behind the scenes but will go on exhibit in Little Blue Beach in the coming weeks. An official announcement will be made notifying guests and media when she will make her public debut. An online naming vote hosted on adventureaquarium.com will conclude at 5:00 p.m. on January 31, with the little blue chick’s name announced shortly following the end of voting. Visitors can choose from three name options: Robin, Elanora and Tuatahi.
NEW! Rehab and Release Loggerhead Sea Turtle Hatchling – Currently attending sea turtle survival school, the loggerhead hatchling is growing larger each day and learning enrichment skills to help it hunt and survive when it is released into the ocean this coming fall. Voting for the sea turtle hatchling’s name has been held all month-long in the Aquarium’s Main Lobby and will conclude on January 31 at 5:00 p.m. Guests can vote for their favorite name from four options, Darwin, Groot, Griswold or Tina, using spare change. All donations collected benefiting sea turtles in the wild. The loggerhead hatchling’s name will be officially announced following the conclusion of voting.
NEW! Behind the Scenes Penguin Encounters – Due to popular demand, guests interested in going behind the scenes with African penguins can now book their experience on Fridays at 10:15 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Beginning in March, guests can participate in the behind the scenes Penguin Encounters at 10:15 a.m. in addition to their 2:30 p.m. timeslot on weekends. The special encounters will also be offered during spring break and from Christmas Day to New Year’s Day. Visit adventureaquarium.com or call the Group Sales at 1-800-616-JAWS (5297) for more info.
NEW! Birthday Party Themes, Games and more – Every Birthday can be an Adventure! On Saturdays and Sundays at 10:30 AM, 12:30 PM and 2:30 PM, guests can hold their birthday party at Adventure Aquarium. Each package option includes: Aquarium admission for everyone in the party, a special behind the scenes tour, one hour of access to the Skyline Party Room, which also includes fun games like pin the tail on the mermaid or pirate! Parents can also choose a theme for their party such as mermaids, pirates, under the sea or sharks. Specially-themed digital invitations and décor to match their theme is also included. Visit adventureaquarium.com or call the Group Sales at 1-800-616-JAWS (5297) for more info.
NEW! Membership Perks – Being part of the Adventure Aquarium family has its advantages. Members will enjoy special events such as a private, Members-only preview of the Piranha Falls exhibit before it opens to the public. Also, beginning on February 27th the Aquarium will open at 9:30 a.m. and Members will have the opportunity to take advantage of early access to the Aquarium. Those special hours will continue every weekday through the end of August. Member Bring-A-Friend Days return on March 30, which include a free guest on weekends as well as on weekdays. Members will also be invited to exclusive behind the scenes tours of the Ocean Realm exhibit during special Bring-A-Friend days.
NEW! Shark Awareness Weekend – Due to popular demand, a shark conservation fundraising weekend was added to a calendar packed with the guest-favorite awareness weekends held for sea turtles, hippos and African penguins. The event scheduled for Memorial Day Weekend this year will focus on the world’s most misunderstood predator – the shark. Guests will learn more about sharks as well as have opportunities to help save sharks in the wild through a variety of activities.
NEW! Adventure Aquarium Merchandise – Guests can take a memory home from The Gift Shop with a huge selection of aquarium apparel, mugs, jewelry and more. The trendy t-shirt collection for adults and kids has been expanded. New in the drinkware category this year are water bottles, fruit infusers and coffee tumblers in a rainbow of colors. As a nod to mermaids, sea fairies have been added to the AAQ mermaid collection as well as new mermaid items for the home.
Mermaids Return – Due to popular demand, the Mermaid Experience will return this coming November to Adventure Aquarium. The limited time engagement will feature real-life mermaids both in-water and on dry land to the delight of Aquarium guests.
The Return of Christmas Celebration and Scuba Santa – The most wonderful time of the year will return to Adventure Aquarium when Scuba Santa swims back into town this December. Guests will be treated to daily live programming and more all month-long.
And that’s not everything…of course we have a few surprises up our sleeve but we thought these fun updates would be nice to share with you now.
Guests and visitors are encouraged to follow the Aquarium’s social media accounts to stay up-to-date on animal birth announcements as well as events and happenings.