The Fab Four: African Penguin Chicks Hatch to Thriving Colony


Our Adventure aquarium baby boom has become a month-long affair with our latest additions!

We officially announced the hatching of four African penguins last week, bolstering an already booming colony at Penguin Island.  The new additions hatched in two clutches just weeks apart from each other in December, 2016.



Clutch #1!


Clutch #2!

The first clutch hatched on December 10 and 14, respectively, to African penguin parents Minnie and Kamikaze.  The second clutch arrived later in the month to parents Jack and Diane on December 23 and 26, respectively.  The chicks’ genders were initially determined during early tests using DNA collected from inside their egg shells which all resulted in female.  Blood tests will be conducted when the penguins are older to confirm these results. #GIRLPOWER continues!

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. Since it began working with the program in 1998, the Aquarium has successfully bred and raised 26 African penguin chicks.

“We’re thrilled to welcome four healthy African penguin chicks to Adventure Aquarium,” said Michele Pagel, Curator, Birds & Mammals, who has overseen the African penguin population since 1998.  “They are very vocal, growing strong and have great appetites!  Our staff has been busy caring for the new additions since we started hand raising the first set of chicks on January 5 and the second clutch on January 16, respectively.”


In order for the penguin chicks to learn how to acclimate with the colony at the Aquarium, staff must take over caring for them when they are able to eat small but whole fish and are more physically developed and mobile.  The birds 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 group.

The young penguins are doing well and growing fast.  In just a few months, the chicks will be the size of fully grown African penguins.  When the chicks first hatched just weeks ago they weighed less than two ounces each, the approximate weight and size of a golf ball, but have each grown to weigh approximately 2.7, 3.4, 4 and 4.6 pounds, respectively.  The chicks eat small whole fish just like the adult birds including silversides, smelt, anchovies, trout and capelin. Young penguins usually eat more than some of the adults at about 15-20 fish per day.

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.


All four African penguin chicks will make their official debut during a media event to be held at Adventure Aquarium’s Currents Ballroom tomorrow, Tuesday, January 31 beginning at 10:30am.  In addition, the names given to them by the Aquarium’s Bird and Mammal team members will be announced at that time.  We’ll be on FB Live so check it out!!!!

Follow our social media accounts to stay up-to-date on animal birth announcements as well as events and happenings!


Love is in the Air at Little Blue Beach


Are you a fan of ABC’s The Bachelor? Uh huh, we aren’t either…wink, wink. Well, we’re excited to have our very own Bachelor: Little Blue Beach Edition. Will they accept the rose (or maybe krill)?

Last week, Adventure Aquarium announced two adult female little blue penguins were added to the colony to help support the Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s (AZA’s) Species Survival Plan (SSP).  With the new female penguins’ arrival the colony now consists of five females and six males. (Yay, more #girlpower!)


“We recently welcomed two female little blues, Maremma and Kororaa,” said Michele Pagel, Curator of Birds and Mammals at Adventure Aquarium.  “As recommended by AZA’s SSP, two of our eligible penguin bachelors, Indigo and Cobalt, were moved off exhibit to bond with these ladies behind the scenes.  We’ll have to wait and see if love blooms.”

Maremma, nine-months-old, and Kororaa, eight-years-old, arrived from New England Aquarium on December 14, 2016 and were placed into standard quarantine for one month.  On January 17, 2017, the male little blues were removed from Little Blue Beach and joined the females in their back of house area.  Staff will allow the birds time to bond in hopes they will pair off as mates.


The Aquarium participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s (AZA’s) little blue penguin Species Survival Plan (SSP), a program that encourages zoos and aquariums to work in concert to help ensure the survival of little blue penguins through a scientifically-controlled breeding program.

Want to see the new ladies? Of course you do! You’ll 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! Will they be paired up as couples? Who will they choose? We’ll share details about their debut and return on Facebook and our other social accounts – so stay tuned!


Instameet Me at AAQ?


We held our first-ever Adventure Aquarium Instameet on Sunday, January 8th at Little Blue Beach in Zone A and it was awesome!  The Instameet focused on our little blue penguins which seemed like a perfect fit since they are January’s Featured Creature of the Month.


We invited social media rock stars to participate in the Instameet by registering on our website.  From there, we gave them free reign of Little Blue Beach and allowed them exclusive access to our little blue colony before we opened to the public.  Imagine getting that perfect shot without worrying about someone stepping in front of your camera!

We can’t wait to see how these Instagram experts captured the little blues in their photos! We’ll share their images on our accounts later this month – so be on the lookout!

Are you interested in attending an #AAQInstameet?  We’re hosting them throughout the year so follow our social accounts to see when the next will be held and which animal will be featured.  Space is limited so we encourage you to register as soon as we announce the date.


Please note: To participate in an #AAQInstameet, you must register through, be an active Instagram user, at least 18 years of age and agree to a photography use agreement. 


Cutest.Baby.Ever. Our 1st Little Blue Chick Hatched!


Biologist Jamie Hogan and our baby blue on day 1. #Loveatfirstsight

Our baby boom continues with the announcement of our first-ever little blue penguin chick!

We are beyond thrilled to officially announce the hatching of our first-ever little blue penguin chick, just days before the one year anniversary of the opening of Little Blue Beach and the arrival of the little blue penguin colony!


The chick hatched inside a nesting box to first-time parents, Sheila and Goose, on the Little Blue Beach exhibit on December 3, 2016 under the watchful eye of Aquarium staff.


“The birth of our first little blue chick is not only a historic event for Adventure Aquarium but it is also extremely exciting for our team and the colony,” said Michele Pagel, Curator of Birds and Mammals at Adventure Aquarium.  “We were also fortunate to have very attentive parents for this little blue.  Mom and dad have been amazing from day one.”

Much like newborn human babies, when penguin chicks first hatch, they are very dependent on their parents.  The penguin’s eyes are closed, and their bodies are developing muscles that will eventually allow them to hold their head up and walk (or waddle). A major difference between penguin and human babies is that penguin growth happens very quickly.  Little blue penguins have an even more accelerated growth rate.  In just over a month, the hatchling has grown from just 35 grams (1.23 ounces) to 983 grams (2 pounds, 3 ounces), already weighing the same as other adults in the little blue colony.


Just like the adult birds, the chick eats about 25 to 30 small whole fish each day, including silversides, smelt, anchovies, trout and capelin. The chick’s care was transferred from its parents to AAQ keepers on Wednesday, December 21, 2016 at which point it was able to eat small but whole fish and was 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 little blue colony,” said Pagel. “This little blue, who is extremely laid back and relaxed, quickly took to her keepers as her new caregivers, eating from them the very first day.  This was really the best case scenario when transitioning to our care.”


Can you handle this cuteness?

Also, it’s a GIRL!  The chick’s gender was determined during early gender tests using DNA collected from inside the egg shell which resulted in female.  A blood test will be conducted to confirm these results when she is older. She will remain behind the scenes to allow her time to develop her waterproof plumage before eventually being reintroduced to the colony in the Little Blue Beach exhibit.

You, our awesome visitors and fans, will have the opportunity to help name the new little blue chick during an online vote to be held later this month.  Details will be shared via the Aquarium’s social media accounts.  (Psst…We encourage you to follow our accounts to stay up-to-date on animal birth announcements as well as events and happenings.)

With the addition of the female hatchling, the little blue colony currently consists of three females and six males, ranging in age from one month to 4 years of age.  The original colony members were born at the Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia and temporarily resided at the Bronx Zoo before travelling to their permanent home of Adventure Aquarium in late December, 2015.

 The Aquarium participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s (AZA’s) little blue penguin Species Survival Plan (SSP), a program that encourages zoos and aquariums to work in concert to help ensure the survival of little blue penguins through a scientifically-controlled breeding program.

We look forward to providing more updates on this little one right here on Adventure Insider as well as our social accounts!


See you later!

Say Hello to our Baby New Year!


Say hello to our new loggerhead hatchling!

Adventure Aquarium welcomed its own “Baby New Year” of 2017 with the announcement of a new loggerhead sea turtle hatchling last week.


So tiny – Biologist Samantha Ehinger picked up the new hatchling from North Carolina Aquarium last fall.

You can now visit the hatchling on exhibit in Sea Turtle Cove, adjacent to Ocean Realm where the Aquarium’s adult sea turtles reside.  The young turtle, that hatched last August, will call Adventure Aquarium home for most of the year until it is released into the Gulf Stream off the coast of North Carolina, along with other yearlings from aquariums all over the country, this coming fall.  We won’t know the gender of this little one as that can’t be identified until a loggerhead sea turtle reaches sexual maturity at the approximate age of 21.



Each year, Adventure Aquarium welcomes a hatchling from North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores Sea Turtle Program to rehabilitate for one year.  Biologists will help guide and train the hatchling to do activities it would normally do in the wild as a sort of “survival school” for sea turtles.


He was just 86 grams when he arrived last fall – that’s just over 3 ounces!

“The hatchling came to us weighing 86 grams and is now over 226 grams, or just under eight ounces,” said Nikki Grandinetti, Curator of Fish and Invertebrates at Adventure Aquarium.  “He loves jellies and shrimp. He’s also very active and investigates anything with his mouth.”


He especially loves eating salmon eggs (what he’s chomping on in the photo above).

During the month of January, Adventure Aquarium is also asking guests to help select the name of the young turtle at a voting station located in the Main Lobby of the Aquarium.  The name options are: Darwin, Griswold, Groot and Tina.  Using spare change, guests visiting Adventure Aquarium will be able to vote for their favorite name choice.  The winning name will be announced this coming February.


Check Adventure Aquarium’s website and social accounts for the latest news about our loggerhead hatchling as well as the other Aquarium animals, events and more.

Fun Fact: This little one hatched from the same nest as our sister aquarium, Newport Aquarium. #Siblings


Come visit me soon!

I Believe in Scuba Santa. Do you?


The magic of the holiday season is approaching. Soon there will be a chill in the air, snow will fall and as each Christmas tree is lit we will be one step closer to the most wonderful time of the year: Christmas!

Our 8th annual Christmas Celebration begins on Saturday, December 3rd and with it brings the return of everyone’s favorite man in the red wetsuit – SCUBA SANTA!


If you’re like us, you CANNOT WAIT to see this guy again.  He’s jolly, he loves scuba diving in Ocean Realm to meet and greet with kids and animals alike and he’s Santa aka awesome.

You can catch him throughout the month of December as he swims alongside magnificent sharks, incredible sea turtles and graceful stingrays in the Aquarium’s 760,000-gallon Ocean Realm exhibit. He’ll also swim by the panoramic window for some extra special up close time with kiddos. Get your cameras ready!

All Christmas Celebration activities are included with Aquarium admission and Membership.  (Hint: The Gift of Adventure makes holiday giving super easy!)

Curious as to what Scuba Santa has planned for Christmas Celebration? Here’s a sampling:

“I Believe in Scuba Santa” Live Show – Scuba Santa’s #1 Helper shares the story of Christmas Celebration and puts the final touches on the decorations in Ocean Realm Theater with the help of Scuba Santa himself.

Christmas Storytime – Listen to an elf share the story of Scuba Santa.  At the end of the story, watch as SNOW falls inside the Aquarium.  You can’t miss this!!

Mail your letters to Scuba Santa – Make your list, check it twice and mail your personalized letter in a special mailbox in Ocean Realm.  Families who provide an email address will even receive a special message response from Scuba Santa!  Please note: Make sure you mail your letters by Thursday, December 22nd to receive a response from Scuba Santa.

Did we mention that you’ll also be able to see 8,500 aquatic animals in addition to all this cool Christmas programming?  Makes for a pretty great time!


Say Hello to Our Mermaids!


We are thrilled to bring back the Mermaid Experience to Adventure Aquarium in just DAYS!

That’s right! Beginning on Saturday, November 5th, Adventure Aquarium will be home to Mermaids for a limited time.  They will swim into the hearts of guests every day through Sunday, November 13th.  These lovely merfolk can’t wait to make the dreams of each and every one of our visitors come true!

So…want to meet them?  Here is a special sneak peek at the Mermaids coming to Adventure Aquarium!

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Now that you’ve gotten to know our mermaids a little better, how excited are you to see them in-person (or in-Mermaid)?