Penguin Island Renovations Announced!

The home of the largest penguin colony in Adventure Aquarium’s history will undergo
important updates – and we couldn’t be more excited!

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Penguin Island, the open-air exhibit located in Zone B, was built in 1998 and contains 17,000 gallons of water and a 20-foot underwater viewing window.  While there have been some maintenance projects done to the exhibit over the years, this will be the first major renovation for the main residence to AAQ’s popular penguins.

“As an AZA-accredited facility, the health and wellness of the animals in our care is always our top priority,” said Vince Nicoletti, Vice President and Executive Director of Adventure Aquarium. “As our African penguin colony continues to grow, we are eager to meet, and exceed, the needs of our birds by creating an environment that will allow them to flourish as a group.”

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Construction will take place in two phases.  Phase 1 began on Monday, April 24 with a focus on rockwork in the space but also some other awesome features:

  • The land area will be completely renovated to include custom textured rockwork specially-designed for good penguin foot health.
  • The beach landscape will also be reshaped to include additional zero-entry areas in and out of the pool (FYI – Zero-entry, also called beach entry, is an edge into a pool that gradually slopes from the land into the water, becoming deeper with each step, similar to a natural beach. Cool, right?).
  • The exhibit pool will switch from fresh to salt water which will more closely mimic their natural ocean environment.
  • A radiant heating system will also be installed beneath the land areas of the exhibit. The system will heat the decks during the winter months, ensuring the penguins are more comfortable in cooler temperatures, preventing snow and ice buildup and protecting the deck from cracking due to winter freeze and thaw cycles.
  • The back of house Life Support System (LSS) will be upgraded.
  • Nesting grottos, nooks and caves will be constructed throughout the exhibit, allowing the penguins to create a more diverse, complex environment and establish more territories.

“We believe these updates will be beneficial not only to our African penguins but our guests as well,” said Nicoletti. “The improvements should encourage the birds to be more active in the water and on land areas.”

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These additional spaces will be beneficial to the growing colony. The Aquarium participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s (AZA’s) African penguin Species Survival Plan (SSP), a program that encourages zoos and aquariums to work in concert to help ensure the survival of African penguins through a scientifically-controlled breeding program.

Along with plans for exhibit renovations, Adventure Aquarium has welcomed six adult penguins over the last year. The new additions to the colony came from three facilities: Male PJ from Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, MD; male Blythe and female Jumoke from Greensboro Science Center in Greensboro, NC; and males Marvel and Toad along with female Swoop from Seneca Park Zoo in Rochester, NY. With the addition of chicks from successful breeding seasons in recent years, the colony has grown to 34 birds – the largest colony in the history of Adventure Aquarium.

The penguins will be moved off exhibit to a behind the scenes location during both phases of construction but the Aquarium has plans to ensure they will still make appearances for guests.

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“Our African penguins are one of our most popular animals at the Aquarium, and we will make sure they can still visit with our guests,” said Nicoletti. “Additional up close opportunities will be available throughout the day at Discovery Deck in Zone B. Guests can also visit our little blue penguins in Zone A. Our popular Penguin Encounter, which allows guests a personal, up close experience will also be available on weekends, including Fridays beginning on Memorial Day weekend.”

Following completion of phase one construction in mid-June, the penguins will return to their exhibit and remain for the rest of the summer months.

During the second phase of construction, set to begin this fall, the back of house areas will be renovated and expanded upon:

  • The current back of house penguin holding building will be renovated and expanded upon, which will double the size of this behind the scenes area.
  • An indoor holding pool will be added.
  • New nesting areas will be built to accommodate the growing colony.

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Construction will continue through the winter months with an official reopening of the new and improved Penguin Island in the spring of 2018.

Interested in following along with our renovation project?  Head over to our Penguin Island Renovation Project page at adventureaquarium.com for updates and more info.  You can also follow us on social media for the latest news and updates on all things AAQ!

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See ya later!

12 Reasons to Visit AAQ this Spring Break

Happy SPRING BREAK!

It’s finally here.  Kids (and teachers!) have off from school for some much-needed family time.  Thinking of spending some time visiting AAQ?  Great idea.  For starters, we have over 8,500 aquatic animals and hours of guaranteed family-fun.  Want more?  Here are just a few (well, actually 12) reasons you should visit us this Spring Break!

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Hello there.

1. PIRANHA FALLS

Our newest exhibit is OPEN and ready for you to journey to Piranha Falls for a unique multi-sensory experience of life on the Amazon River.  We virtually take you deep into the largest rainforest on Earth without leaving New Jersey (no passport required!). Watch our school of 120 glittering red-bellied piranha swim below two beautiful waterfalls – and prepare for the storm.

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2. EARLY OPENS

Members enjoy the aquarium before the general public.  Take advantage of early access weekdays during Spring Break! The aquarium will open at 9:30 a.m. for Members.

Not a Member? Become one today and enjoy tons of benefits! 

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3. PENGUIN ENCOUNTERS

There’s even more chances to make friends with an African penguin! Now through April 23, meet a penguin up close and watch a LIVE penguin footprint painting session. PLUS, take home a penguin footprint masterpiece. Members receive 10% off – reserve your spot today!

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4. MORE SHOWS AND FEEDS

We have a jam-packed schedule for YOU throughout Spring Break! Have more opportunities to catch your favorite show or animal feed, including our Meet the Divers show (a fan + fish fave).

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5. 3D MOVIE

An Aquarium AND a 3D movie? YES.  During Spring Break, join the Octonauts as they travel deep down the Amazon River in search of a lost city and Kawzii’s long lost grandfather, Calico Jack. Free with admission!

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6. OZZY

There’s a new sea turtle resident in Ocean Realm: Our rehab and release loggerhead sea turtle, Ozzy! He made his debut in our largest exhibit and is excited for visitors. Come say hello to Ozzy during Spring Break!

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7. ELANORA

Stop by Little Blue Beach, where it’s always sunny and blue, to visit our first-ever little blue chick, Elanora, and little blue additions, Maremma and Kororaa.

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8. AFRICAN PENGUIN CHICKS

You may have heard about our Fab Four African penguin chicks that hatched last December. They’re now on exhibit at Penguin Island! Come see our new juveniles: Amani, Suzie, Shida and Mazie as well as the entire thriving penguin colony!

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9. DARWIN

Darwin, our rehab and release sea turtle, is growing up fast! He’s been eating well and doing great with his enrichment sessions. Come see him in Sea Turtle Cove!

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10. SHARKSSSSSSSS

No one does sharks better! Marvel at the largest collection of sharks on the East Coast in a variety of ways during Spring Break:

  • Dare to Cross Shark Bridge – Walk just inches above our Shark Realm exhibit, home to dozens of sharks.
  • Shark Tunnel – Surround yourself with sharks as you walk through our 40-foot glass tunnel.
  • Shark & Ray Encounter – We’ve included even more Encounters during Spring Break. In addition to the weekends, on Fridays of Spring Break (April 14 and April 21) participate in our Shark & Ray Encounter at 10:00 a.m. or 1:00 p.m. Reserve your spot today – space is limited.

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11. HIPPOS

Our girls, Button and Genny, always enjoy a visit – especially during Spring Break when they get to meet and greet with tons of kiddos. Give a big hippo “hello” to our ladies! We’ve added extra feeds and enrichment sessions throughout Spring Break to keep Hippo Haven a hot spot all day-long.  And don’t miss out on Hippo Bedtime at 4:45pm daily in Hippo Haven when you help tuck the girls in for the evening!

12. TOUCH EXHIBITS

Be adventurous this Spring Break and touch a shark, stingray, sea cucumber and more!

  • Touch-A-Shark – Be fearless and touch one of our exotic sharks at Touch-A-Shark, presented by Humana.
  • Stingray Beach Club – Come meet and touch several types of stingray species. You can even feed one during special, private stingray feeds throughout the day (check show guide for times).
  • Gill’s Grotto – Get your hands on with more than a dozen warm-water invertebrates including a variety of colorful sea stars and other wonderful species, such as the scarlet cleaner shrimp, sea apples and more!
  • Creature Feature – See and touch slick, slimy and all-around cool invertebrates, such as several species of exotic and colorful seastars, anemones and more.
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Photo Credit: Instagram Fan @sara_nicole_miller

#13. HAPPY KIDS AKA #SLEEPYSHARKS

BONUS! Ha, thought we could stop at 12? NO WAY! Imagine the car ride home from your AAQ outing with the kids zonked out from the crazy awesome day of fish, family and fun. Take your own #sleepyshark pic and tag #AdventureAquarium – we’d love to see your little ones after visiting us!

With all these reasons, what are you waiting for?? Plan your trip and score extra Mom and Dad points ASAP.  Grab your tickets today. See you soon!

Ready for an all-new Adventure?

 

piranha_high resWant to journey deep into the heart of the Amazon rainforest where a school of 125 red-bellied piranha swim beneath a beautiful waterfall?  No need to pack your suitcase or grab your passport either!

We are so excited that our newest exhibit, Piranha Falls, an Amazon experience, will open this Friday, April 7.

Piranha Falls will offer our guests a unique multi-sensory experience of life on the Amazon River, virtually taking you deep into the largest rainforest on Earth without leaving New Jersey.

“The piranha are the stars of this exhibit but other residents like freshwater stingrays and other aquatic species represent the diversity of life in the Amazon River, which is the most diverse ecosystem on the planet,” said Vince Nicoletti, Executive Director and Vice President of Adventure Aquarium.  “Guests will also see, hear and feel the change in weather as an intense rainstorm moves in.”

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Two beautiful waterfalls with a school of 120 glittering red-bellied piranha swimming below serves as the backdrop as a dynamic rainstorm approaches, featuring thunder, lightning and rain amidst a soundtrack of rainforest creatures weathering the storm.  Following the storm show, you’ll explore the true story of piranha and their role in the ecosystem of the Amazon River along with the indigenous people who call the Amazon their home.

“The Amazon River is the largest in the world and can receive over 10 feet of rainfall a year,” said Nicoletti.  “We couldn’t tell the story of the Amazon without showcasing these powerful rains and are excited to immerse our guests in a dramatic indoor rainstorm.”

The thunderous Amazon rainstorm is brought to life using a rain grid, over twenty lights, speakers and fans to create the immersive, family-friendly experience.  The two-story, 40-foot high exhibit contains 5,000 gallons of water.  A second waterfall was added, which rushes over a cliff and drops 10 feet down to the exhibit pool.  A tractor trailer filled with 300 new plants, 100 feet of vines, various plants and trees reaching up to 18 feet tall were also used to complete the look of Piranha Falls.

The exhibit will also feature a parrot enclosure adjacent to the main Piranha Falls exhibit space with birds native to South America, including Trinidad, a blue and gold macaw found in the Amazon rainforest.  Guests can continue their Amazon experience at Adventure Aquarium with the Octonauts Amazon Adventure 3D film, now included with admission.

 

Join us on an OCEARCH Expedition for Great White Sharks

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Humans have a fascination with sharks. They are often feared as man-eating creatures out hunting humans off the coastal shores (thanks to Steven Spielberg, his animatronic shark and two notes…da-na, da-na, da-na…).

But, in reality, sharks are some of the coolest creatures on the planet.  With a wide variety of species, with some species yet to be discovered in the vast ocean, in all shapes and sizes, we have a great deal to learn from these majestic, and misunderstood, animals.  One of the best known species of shark is the great white.  Again, thanks Mr. Spielberg for making them a part of popculture!   There are researchers interested in learning more about the species, which leads us to a great partnership with OCEARCH and Adventure Aquarium.

OCEARCH 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. OCEARCH goes on expeditions and tags sharks in the wild.  They are then able to track their movement through the ocean. They also work to help educate and conduct outreach for conservation.

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If you’re into sharks, you’ll definitely want to know all about OCEARCH and the work they’re doing – especially being able to track the tagged sharks’ travels up and down the coast of the New Jersey and all over the world (#ping).

Adventure Aquarium’s staff veterinarian, Dr. Mike Hyatt, had the awesome opportunity to join OCEARCH on a recent expedition.  The partnership between Adventure Aquarium and OCEARCH began when a colleague of Dr. Hyatt, the veterinarian for the North Carolina Aquariums, invited him to help out in a sand tiger shark expedition off of Wilmington, NC.

OCEARCH then invited him back for future expeditions as part of their science team – how cool!  Over the past year, Dr. Hyatt has participated in two more expeditions: Nantucket last September, and most recently, the Low Country expedition off of Hilton Head, SC.  Both of these expeditions were in search of great white sharks!

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On the most recent expedition in Hilton Head, Dr. Hyatt was able to help examine wild great whites (crazy awesome) but working with OCEARCH means a lot to him.

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“Tracking great white sharks to determine their natural history and biology with migration, reproduction and birthing is what made OCEARCH a global leader in providing scientific data and educational outreach,” said Hyatt.  “Collaborating with OCEARCH provides opportunities for shark conservation research not only for Adventure Aquarium, but for numerous other aquarium and academic researchers all at the same time.”

Being able to join these expeditions in the field is exciting but also important to the cause, as Dr. Hyatt’s role helps provide care to the animals as they are being tagged.  “My role on the expeditions is to provide veterinary oversight, assist in health assessments of the sharks via collecting blood, surgical placement of intracoelomic acoustic tags, and collect semen in mature males,” said Hyatt.  “My research interests on the expeditions include capture and handling stress physiology and reproductive physiology.”

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We’re excited to see how this partnership continues and look forward to Dr. Hyatt’s future expeditions with OCEARCH as well as what the data collected will reveal.

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OCEARCH and AAQ will continue to work together during our first-ever Shark Awareness Weekend being held this Memorial Day holiday weekend (May 27-29).  Similar to our other awareness weekends, we’ll celebrate all weekend-long and raise money to help the wild counterparts of our animal ambassadors.  Special programming, cool games and more awaits you this upcoming Shark Awareness Weekend so mark your calendar!

Until next time, have a good one Adventure Insider readers!

Little Blue Babes Hit the Beach

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Adventure Aquarium’s newest little blue penguins have made their public debut!

The newest little blue penguins, two adult female little blues and the Aquarium’s first-ever little blue chick, are now permanent residents of the Little Blue Beach exhibit.

When you visit us, you can see 12-week-old Elanora (pictured below – isn’t she beautiful??).

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Miss Elanora

In addition, Maremma and Kororaa, the adult female birds that arrived from New England Aquarium in December, have joined the colony.  The little blue bachelors, Indigo and Cobalt, also returned to the exhibit after spending time behind the scenes.

“Elanora, Maremma and Kororaa have acclimated nicely into the little blue colony,” said Michele Pagel, Curator of Birds and Mammals at Adventure Aquarium.  “We are excited for our guests to see the thriving colony together for the first time as well as wait for the potential pairings of the new females with our eligible bachelors.”

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Elanora, named by a fan vote on AdventureAquarium.com, hatched inside a nesting box to first-time parents, Sheila and Goose, on the Little Blue Beach exhibit on December 3, 2016.  Maremma, nine-months-old, and Kororaa, eight-years-old, arrived from New England Aquarium on December 14, 2016.  All three female birds stayed behind the scenes until they were ready to join the colony.

Guests can identify the new additions by their special wing bands: Elanora (#9), Maremma (#10) and Kororaa (#11).  With these little blues moving on exhibit, the colony now consists of six males and five females.

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Celebrate Hippo Awareness Weekend with us!

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First, adorable hippo valentines because…well, hippo valentines. (You’re welcome.)

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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.

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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.

Hippo Kissin’

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.

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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.”

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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.

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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!

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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)

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 *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)

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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)

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 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.

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What’s New at AAQ in 2017

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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NEW! Membership PerksBeing 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.

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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.