Rockin’ Around the Underwater Christmas Tree…

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We are bursting with holiday cheer here at Adventure Aquarium! Not only did Scuba Santa return to dive each and every day in Ocean Realm to the delight of our animals and guests, but he brought a brand new, one-of-a-kind treat this year…

The World’s Tallest Underwater Christmas Tree, with wrapped presents resting on the floor of Shark Realm, can be seen from both the Shark Den window and Shark Tunnel.

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At 18 feet tall and 2,000 pounds, this truly unique tree is illuminated with 1, 540 individual LED lights.  (Don’t worry – the lights are OK for underwater use and were tested to make sure they would not only sparkle for guests but would be safe to use in our exhibit).

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Looking at our tree, you’ll also notice an assortment of brightly colored corals – around 400 – which are our ornaments! When creating the tree, Scuba Santa wanted to make sure we used corals from all over the world’s oceans to make fish and families alike marvel.

And did you notice the star at the top? It’s a sea star, of course! What better way to top an underwater Christmas tree than with an aquatic animal shaped like a star. Perfect, right?

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Scuba Santa made a special dive into Shark Realm to help put the tree topper on and deliver presents for the good sharks and stingrays.

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Scuba Santa carefully placed gifts for the sharks and stingrays before helping his elves place the tree topper onto the World’s Tallest Underwater Christmas Tree.

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Scuba Santa and his elves carefully placed the tree topper on to complete the World’s Tallest Underwater Christmas Tree.

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Jolly Scuba Santa was so happy when the tree was finished…it makes so many of our animals and guests feel the holiday spirit!

When you visit AAQ this year during #ChristmasUnderwater, make sure you stop by Shark Den to view the tree and check your Show Guide to watch one of our merry elves light the tree!

There’s tons more happening during Christmas Underwater too, including Snow Shower Dance Parties in the Rotunda, Scuba Santa appearances in Ocean Realm, “dry-side” Santa Claus photos in Blue Mile and more!

Wishing you and your family a happy and safe holiday season! Hope to sea you soon.

 

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How sweet it is…Happy #NationalCookieDay!

What a sweet day! Today might be a Monday *sigh* but it’s also #NationalCookieDay all across this great land (HOORAH!).

But we ask – why can’t every day be National Cookie Day? Like, oh I don’t know…this Saturday for instance??

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We are hosting a special event called Milk & Cookies with Santa this Saturday, December 9th from 8-10 AM.  You guessed it – we’ll have plenty of COOKIES for the occasion!

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In addition to your sugary sweets and ice cold milk, Santa Claus will take photos with guests (your photo is included with your ticket to the event).  Talk about a great day of aquarium fun AND checking the holiday card photo off your list!

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Spend the morning enjoying all the aquarium has to offer, including Christmas Underwater featuring Scuba Santa appearances in our Ocean Realm Theater…

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…views of the World’s Tallest Underwater Christmas Tree…

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…Snow Shower Dance Parties in the Rotunda – with gently falling snow INSIDE…

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…and more!

Psst…we’re also hosting a sweepstakes giveaway for our Saturday event.  There’s still time to enter – so head over to our Facebook page for more info!

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Hope to see you here this Saturday for Milk & Cookies AND SANTA! You don’t want to miss the opportunity to extend National Cookie Day into a week-long event, do you?!

We are Thankful for YOU!

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As we gather around the dinner table this Thanksgiving Day with friends and family, we want you to know that we are so thankful for YOU – our Adventure Aquarium guests.  We hope you have a wonderful holiday!

Also, we wanted to share what some of our AAQ animals are thankful for this year and ask what are you thankful for?

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OCEARCH is our conservation partner for Shark Awareness Weekend!

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Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!!!!!

XOXO,

The Adventure Aquarium Family

AAQ Picture Day – No Retakes Needed!

It’s a yearly tradition for every kid in school: Picture Day!  We decided to have a little bit of fun with our own version of the class of 2017-2018…

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If she decided to run for AAQ class president it would really be no surprise.  Resident loggerhead sea turtle, Bob, is sort of the diva of Ocean Realm. She is the 3rd largest animal at the aquarium, behind the Nile hippos, Genny and Button. Bob enjoys cruising around the 760,000-gallon Ocean Realm exhibit, eating nutritious snacks like romaine and fish as well as taking naps beneath the porthole windows of Sea Turtle Cove. Be sure to say hi to her at the panoramic window the next time you visit!

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Genny is 1/2 of the duo of Nile hippos that reside in Adventure Aquarium’s Hippo Haven. Genny is younger than her roommate Button but she’s about 1,000 pounds bigger weighing in at over 4,000 lb.  When she’s not napping underwater or snacking on leafy greens, Genny loves photobombing guests – seriously, check Instagram.  Her fun-loving and big personality makes her a no brainer class clown contender.

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Sandbar sharks, also known as brown sharks, are native to our area and can be found right off the Jersey coastline.  The sandbar sharks live in Shark Realm, along with sand tiger, nurse and black tip sharks. Like many other shark species, sandbar sharks give birth to live young. Female sandbars can produce between one and 14 pups per litter.

Did you know Adventure Aquarium has the largest collection of sharks on the East Coast?

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Our laughing kookaburra, Sydney, resides in Little Blue Beach and can be heard throughout the day making his manic laugh-like call.  (Some think it sounds a bit like a monkey’s call).  Sydney enjoys perching and watching guests walk by on their way to visit his neighbors, the little blue penguins.

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Some people may see a clownfish and think Nemo.  True, the Disney/Pixar character really put clownfish in the spotlight.  While some may know that clownfish have a symbiotic relationship (meaning a close and long-term biological interaction between two different biological organisms) with sea anemone, they can only live in ten out of more than one thousand species of anemone. Clownfish have a mucus covering that protects them from the sting of the sea anemone’s tentacles. The territorial fish protects the anemone from anemone-eating fish, and in turn the stinging tentacles of the anemone protect the clownfish from its predators.

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Kororaa is a member of our little blue penguin colony.  She joined the group last year from New England Aquarium.  Little blues are the smallest (and cutest) penguins in the world.  Adventure Aquarium is just 1 of 6 facilities in the US to exhibit these birds! How cool is that?

We hope you enjoyed our Picture Day photos of some of our AAQ Animals.  Be sure to say hello to each of them during your next visit!

Happy Halloween from Our #AAQBooCrew!

Hey there guys, gals and ghouls!  The spookiest day of the year is finally here and Adventure Aquarium is getting into the spirit!  Our sharks, sea turtles, penguins, stingrays and other sea life wear pretty elaborate outfits all year-round.  We thought it might be fun to highlight some of the creepiest and most colorful creations at Adventure Aquarium. Here’s a special Halloween countdown of our #AAQBooCrew, who are in the Halloween spirit every day of the year.

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#8. The colorful Filefish is ready for Halloween!  His small mouth is where you’ll find a few strong incisor-like teeth (is he channeling vampire or werewolf vibes?). The filefish uses these teeth to break off pieces of coral to feed and to chisel holes into the shells of mollusks.

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#7. The Lionfish has beautiful stripes and fins that appear more like feathers – talk about an elaborate costume for a fish!  This invasive species can be found in the U.S. Southeast and Caribbean coastal waters. While it may appear to be beautiful, be careful if you encounter this top predator as it is venomous.

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#6. Moray eels definitely look creepy (hello, that’s what makes eels kind of awesome, right?)!  What makes them even creepier?? They have TWO sets of jaws! They attack their prey with a hidden set of chompers (YIKES!). First, the outer jaws firmly grasp the target. Next, their pharyngeal set shoots forward, bites the prey, and pulls it into the throat.

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#5. Sometimes Halloween costumes can be super cute.  Take the pufferfish which may seem to be even cuter when fully expanded — but don’t be fooled.  Did you know it’s the second most poisonous vertebrate on the planet? The poison of a pufferfish, which has no known antidote, kills by paralyzing the diaphragm, causing suffocation.

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#4.  The ribbon eel is a species of moray eel and, let’s be honest, super cute (look at that face!).  It grows to an overall length of approximately 3.3 feet and has a life span of up to twenty years.  They are carnivores, preying on small fish and other marine creatures.  Ribbon eels can attract their prey with their flared nostrils and then clamp down on them with their strong jaws and retreat into their burrows.

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#3. Of course the wolf eel is on our list – look at that mug!  Can you imagine wearing a wolf eel mask for your Halloween costume?  While he definitely looks a little creepy, the wolf eel is not actually a true eel, but part of the Anarhichadidae family of “wolf fishes”.  Did you know they can grow up to almost 8 feet long?

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#2. Can you say Yoda? All Star Wars fans can agree that the waxy monkey frog has definite Yoda vibes and may have the best facial expression of any amphibian.  She might not be that great at hopping but the waxy monkey frog does extremely well in trees, using opposable thumbs to pull her way around. High temperatures (up to 41°C or 106°F) and direct sunlight would dry out most other frogs but the waxy monkey frog thrives in those conditions.

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#1.  Not all Halloween costumes have to be creepy or scary!  Just ask all the princesses, unicorns, fairies and our final #AAQBooCrew member! The Mandarin dragonet is absolutely stunning with bright and colorful fins.  She is also shy by nature. During the day, this peaceful fish is quite reclusive, but at times she can be seen perching or hopping atop corals. She moves by briskly pulsating her fins, which resembles a hummingbird.  #Gorgeous

We hope you enjoyed checking out our #AAQBooCrew!  Come visit them right here at Adventure Aquarium on Halloween and all 364 other days of the year.  Have fun tonight and be safe trick-or-treating!  And save some candy for us!

Happy Halloween!

#AAQMermaids Checklist: Sea Everything During Your Visit!

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Magic and Mermaids will return to Adventure Aquarium in just days! 

Back by popular demand, the mythical world of Mermaids returns for a limited time from Sunday, November 5 through Sunday, November 12.

Did we mention the Mermaid Experience is included with Aquarium admission or Membership?? We want to make sure you get to SEA everything during Mermaids so here’s a handy checklist to use during your visit!

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#1. See a Mermaid Swim in Shark Realm

Currents Ballroom is the new home for Mermaids in 2017.  You don’t want to miss the mesmerizing Wands and Wishes Mermaids dive in our 550,000-gallon Shark Realm exhibit and appear in one of Currents Ballroom’s movie screen-sized windows.  The sharks, graceful stingrays and glittering schools of menhaden gliding past are just a bonus (Zone D)!

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 #2. Mermaid Meet-N-Greet

Have you ever wanted to chat with a Mermaid?  Us too.  Now is your chance!  Get up close and on dry-land to meet and greet with a Mermaid and pose for photos in the Blue Mile (Zone B).

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#3. Get a Mermaid’s Autograph

Have another dry-land opportunity to meet a Mermaid up close in Ocean Realm Panoramic Window (Zone A) and receive a free autograph! Available daily during Mermaids.

#4. Krafty Kelpers

Stop by the Krafty Kelpers table to make a kid-friendly Mermaid Crown or Pirate Hat, offered daily during Mermaids.

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#5. Watch out for the Pirate Captain, Mateys!

Shiver me timbers! Meet, greet and snap a photo with our real-life Pirate Captain.

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#6. Complete Your Treasure Map

Grab a map when you arrive and then collect colorful sticker coins at each Mermaid experience throughout the Aquarium to complete your commemorative Mermaid treasure map.

#7. Mermaid and Pirate Face Painting and Glitter Tattoos

Be sure to channel your inner mermaid or pirate during your visit as Stacey’s Face Painting will offer themed designs daily during Mermaids.  Check out that Deluxe little mermaid below!

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#8. Stop by the Mermaid Shop

Why not do a little shopping while you’re here? Mermaid merchandise will be available all week in our Gift Shop (Zone E) and the Mermaid Shop in the Blue Mile (Zone B). From Mermaid apparel to Mermaid blankets to Pirate-themed toys, there is something for everyone to enjoy (while supplies last).

#9. Exclusive Members-only Mermaid Events & Early Opens

Are you a Member? Make sure you RSVP for the Saturday, November 4 or Friday, November 10 events, which include special access to the Mermaid Experience.

Members will also have special early open access to Mermaids on Saturday, November 11 and Sunday, November 12 beginning at 9:00 a.m.

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So, what are you waiting for?? Begin your Mermaid Experience RIGHT NOW and purchase your tickets online by visiting AdventureAquarium.com.  Then join us in counting down the days, minutes and seconds until Mermaids arrive!

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Bon Voyage Darwin + THANK YOU AAQ Guests!

Did you know? Six out of seven sea turtle species are vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered.

This week was a little rough but ultimately bittersweet as we said farewell to loggerhead hatchling, now yearling, Darwin on Wednesday.  *Check out our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts for the complete story of #DarwinsDeparture.*

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Every year, Adventure Aquarium fosters a hatchling from North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores Sea Turtle Program to rehabilitate for one year. Our biologists are responsible to guide and train the hatchling to do activities it would normally do in the wild aka Sea Turtle Survival School.

After a year, the hatchling is released into the wild off the coast of North Carolina along with other yearlings from aquariums all over the country, including our sister aquarium in Kentucky – Newport Aquarium.

Two of our biologists, Alex and Alexis, escorted the little sea turtle, who grew from the size of a palm…

 

…into the size of a dinner plate! He is one big, feisty turtle!!

Darwin was also reunited with his nest mate, Frank the Tank, from Newport Aquarium.

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He’s now swimming wild and free out in the Atlantic Ocean and we know in our hearts that he’ll be fine out there in the deep blue sea.  #misshimalready

It was just two weekends ago that we had a HUGE sendoff party for the little turtle aka Sea Turtle Awareness Weekend. Not only did guests get to see this awesome reptile one last time but we raised over $10K for sea turtles in the wild and the Sea Turtle Conservancy! *AWESOMEEEEE*

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We’ll be introducing a new loggerhead hatchling soon so stay tuned for more baby sea turtle cuteness!!!