First, adorable hippo valentines because…well, hippo valentines. (You’re welcome.)
Thanks Genny girl! #smooches #besos #xoxo
Second, Hippo Awareness Weekend will return for a weekend of #HippoLove…and it’s also a 3-day weekend…so hooray for hippos! Back and bigger than ever, you’re invited this Saturday, February 18 through Monday, February 20.
No, the Nile hippos of Adventure Aquarium – Genny and Button – didn’t personally give you a 3-day weekend off from school/work but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t come visit them and celebrate all things hippo. Right? Right.
The event has grown so much in popularity that we’ve had to expand it. HIPPO SIZED!!!! Activities will take place in Zone D’s Hippo Haven as well as the Blue Mile, located in Zone B.
Meet the Girls
Genny, born on July 10 at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Florida, is a 16-year-old Nile hippo and the larger of the two ladies, weighing in at over 4,000 pounds. Born March 22 at Parque Zoological de Leon in Mexico, 20-year-old Button is just over 3,000 pounds. Each hippo is unique and if you attend the event this weekend you’ll have the awesome opportunity to get to know the girls with help from biologists, including the ability to tell them apart by their physical differences as well as personality traits. BOOM – make a hippo bestie this weekend, ladies and gents.
Interested in kissing a hippo? Well, who isn’t? Those seeking a kiss from a hippo have a few options to choose from this year. Seriously! New in 2017, you can purchase limited edition, custom designed hippo kiss t-shirts to showcase their smooches. (Real talk: They’re incredibly cute and people will be super jealous of your hippo swag.)
Hop in Button and Genny’s “Hippo Kissing Booth” in the Blue Mile to have your photo taken by our H2O Photographer (you also have the option to snap your own pic).
AND special “kiss” paintings, featuring a nose print (with their hippo lips included!) from either Genny or Button in fun, vibrant colors, will also be available for purchase.
Painting with Hippos!
Genny and Button also created one of a kind artwork with an imprint of their skin. A hippo’s skin has a unique texture with many “wrinkles” and grooves. These prints are created by applying animal safe, non-toxic paint, just like the hippo kiss paintings. Canvas is then pressed over the area revealing a skin print and a magnet is adhered to the reverse side. Super cool and it will totally up your fridge magnet game.
“The girls put a lot of love into their special kiss paintings and new hippo print magnets for this weekend,” said Michele Pagel, Curator of Birds and Mammals. “The magnets are really cool and will definitely be an interesting conversation piece for your fridge. Whether you buy a painting, magnet, t-shirt or play a game – this weekend offers all-around great ways to show hippo love and all for a great cause.”
Hippos Got Game
New hippo-themed games with a conservation message as well as crafts will also be available for kids of all ages to enjoy in the Blue Mile. All donations made will help save hippos in the wild and benefit the Turgwe Hippo Trust, a non-profit organization in Zimbabwe, Africa.
ALL THINGS HIPPO – we weren’t kidding
Displays will be set up in Hippo Haven featuring their daily diet, a behind-the-scenes look at hippo painting in action and other fun hippo info for the whole family to enjoy. Biologists will also showcase special enrichment sessions including feeds featuring the hippos’ favorite treats, underwater target training, ice block interaction, hose spray play and more!
Here’s a breakdown of all the Hippo Awareness Weekend programming for those who enjoy lists (ahem, like me):
*NEW* Hippo Kissing Booth! Jump in Button and Genny’s “Hippo Kissing Booth” and take a H2O photo. Location: Blue Mile (Zone B)
*NEW* Custom-Designed Hippo Kiss T-Shirts! Limited edition shirts showcasing their smooches will be available for purchase (while supplies last). Location: Hippo Haven (Zone D)
*NEW* Unique Hippo Print Magnets! Don’t put boring magnets on the fridge! Custom-made magnets featuring cool painted imprints of Genny or Button’s skin will be available (while supplies last). A hippo’s skin has a unique texture with many “wrinkles” and grooves. These prints are created by applying animal safe, non-toxic paint, just like the hippo kiss paintings. Canvas is then pressed over the area revealing a skin print and a magnet is adhered to the reverse side. Location: Hippo Haven (Zone D)
*NEW* Hippo Games and Crafts! Play educational hippo-riffic games, including Hungry Hippos and Watering Hole. Spin the prize wheel for the chance to can win a unique hippo prize (while supplies last). And be sure to visit TD Bank’s hippo mini golf course and win fun, hippo-themed prizes (while supplies last). Also, become artists just like Button and Genny by creating a hippo craft. Location: Blue Mile (Zone B)
Can’t get enough hippo kisses? Pucker up and pick-up the perfect painting. Purchase a special hippo kiss painting made by Button and Genny (while supplies last). Location: Hippo Haven (Zone D)
Join AAQ biologists inside Hippo Haven for lively hippo feeds, underwater workout training and unique enrichment sessions. Location: Hippo Haven (Zone D)
Stop by the Hippo Haven Curiosity Table. Learn all about the Aquarium’s two Nile hippos with various displays about the hippos and their diet. Location: Hippo Haven (Zone D)
Button and Genny are up for adoption! Well, sort of…Guests can adopt a hippo during their visit. Receive a special adoption certificate, a hippo plush and more! Proceeds benefit hippo care and the Turgwe Hippo Trust. Location: The Gift Shop (Zone D)
To learn more about Hippo Awareness Weekend or to purchase tickets online, visit www.AdventureAquarium.com.