#SeaTurtleLove: Top 6 Reasons to Visit AAQ for Sea Turtle Awareness Weekend

*Adventure Aquarium’s resident sea turtles are throwing a party this Columbus Day Weekend for the third year in a row – and everyone is invited.*


1. It’s Fall, ya’ll.

It’s officially fall, which means PSL season is here!  To thoroughly enjoy your first 3-day holiday weekend of autumn (Columbus Day Weekend – 10/7-10/9!), grab your best flannel and join our resident sea turtle fam for the 3rd annual Sea Turtle Awareness Weekend to help sea turtles in the wild.


2. Say Goodbye to this little cutie

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D’awwww there’s Darwin when he first arrived at AAQ last fall! He’s gotten so big!

Bid final farewells to our loggerhead sea turtle hatchling Darwin, who will be traveling to North Carolina to be released into the Gulf Stream later in October.  Darwin has grown up so much this past year while he’s been in our care and is ready to be released into the ocean. This will really be the last opportunity to say goodbye to this little guy – so don’t miss it!


*Did you know? Every year, Adventure Aquarium acquires a hatchling from North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores Sea Turtle Program to rehabilitate for one year. Biologists are responsible to guide and train the hatchling to do activities it would normally do in the wild. 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.*

But seriously…he was SO TINY!!!!!

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3. All the Sea Turtle Activities

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Throughout the weekend, stop by his exhibit in Sea Turtle Cove (Zone A) to catch sea turtle content, feeds, daily diet facts, various ways guests can save a sea turtle and much more.  Learn about what they eat, their habits, the personalities of AAQ’s sea turtles and much more. You can even participate in an interactive sea turtle survival game.  Watch as Adventure Aquarium’s resident turtles go through stimulating enrichment sessions in Ocean Realm. (HINT: They love to eat!)

4. Go Beyond the Glass


Go behind the scenes during this special $99 Sea Turtle Encounter with AAQ’s family of sea turtles. Help care for, train and hand-feed green and loggerhead sea turtles, as well as bring home a souvenir photo and t-shirt. 50% of proceeds benefit sea turtles in the wild! If interested, guests are encouraged to reserve a spot as space is limited. Call Group Sales at 800-616-JAWS (5297) to book now!

5. Bring-A-Friend Benefits


We’re excited to introduce Member Bring-A-Friend Conservation Weekend offer.  Members can bring their friends, family and neighbors as special guests to the sea turtle party– all while donating to a good cause! $5 of every discounted admission ticket sold will be donated to the Sea Turtle Conservancy. Adult tickets (ages 13+) are $23.50 and $19 for children (ages 2-12).  As always, kids under 2 are free with an accompanying adult.  Tickets must be used between Saturday, 10/7 and Monday, 10/9.

 Not a Member? Become one today!

6. Take a Sea Turtle Home??


Well, not really…BUT Sea Turtle Adoptions are available! You can adopt an Adventure Aquarium sea turtle at The Gift Shop, with 20% of the proceeds benefitting Sea Turtle Conservancy.

BONUS #7. Be a hard shell’s hero


Did you know that 7 out of the 8 sea turtle species are endangered? #realtalk

When you visit during Sea Turtle Awareness Weekend not only do you get to party with some awesome animals but it’s all for a great cause.

The annual Sea Turtle Awareness Weekend will raise awareness for endangered sea turtles in the wild and the Sea Turtle Conservancy.

Hope to see you here this weekend!!!


Thank You! xoxo, AAQ’s African Penguins


Your penguin love showed this past Labor Day Weekend and our black and white birds are waddling with joy!

Our largest-ever group of African penguins hosted their 9th annual African Penguin Awareness Weekend, aka an awesome end of summer party for a great cause.  The festivities featured perfectly penguin programming, special behind the scenes Encounters and more.

Thanks to your generosity, $12,840.29 will help save endangered African penguins in the wild.  Since the fundraising event began in 2009, Adventure Aquarium guests have raised over $45,000 for African penguin conservation! **HAPPY DANCE**

“I would like to thank our guests and staff, who came together to raise conservation awareness and support for such a worthy cause,” said Michele Pagel, Curator for Birds and Mammals at Adventure Aquarium. “Our African penguins serve as important ambassadors for their species and were vital to the success of this weekend.  We are so proud to connect families with a greater connection to conservation awareness.”

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We welcomed thousands of guests last weekend who participated in the weekend’s three-day conservation event and supported the cause in a variety of ways, including purchasing unique paintings created by members of the penguin colony and custom-designed t-shirts as well as participating in special Penguin Encounters and other activities.  The Penguin Island residents also got in on the fun as they waddled and played in the water throughout the weekend.

So, where will the money go?  The donations collected will benefit the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) and AZA SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction, with both organizations helping to preserve the endangered African penguin species in the wild.  The donation will go toward AZA SAFE’s artificial nest box project, SANCCOB’s South African penguin hospital, chick bolstering, oil spill assistance and other needs.  We’re so excited to be able to help build up these programs!

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Did you miss out on the party? Don’t worry! We’ll host our final conservation-focused weekend in 2017 as sea turtles take center stage during Sea Turtle Awareness Weekend (Columbus Day Holiday Weekend, October 7-9).  For more information on upcoming events, visit AdventureAquarium.com.  Hope to sea you there!


Labor Day Weekend Means End of Summer Penguin Awareness Party!

Help raise money for conservation and party with penguins this Labor Day Weekend, September 2-4!


Adventure Aquarium, in partnership with the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) and AZA SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction, is proud to announce the 9th Annual African Penguin Awareness Weekend, a festival which creates awareness for endangered African Penguins in the wild.

During Labor Day Weekend, Saturday, September 2 through Monday, September 4, guests will enjoy a wide variety of penguin programming, including special behind the scenes encounters, an interactive penguin dance party and much more!

“We are excited to celebrate our ninth year hosting African Penguin Awareness Weekend,” said Michele Pagel, Curator of Birds and Mammals, Adventure Aquarium.  “African penguins are endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species (IUCN). This weekend gives our African penguin colony and our team the chance to spread awareness for our conservation partners, SANCCOB and AZA SAFE, as well as invite our guests to help make a difference and save penguins in the wild.”

All donations made during the weekend will benefit penguins in the wild, including artificial nesting efforts and chick bolstering to help encourage successful breeding in their native South Africa.



NEW! Special $99 Penguin EncountersGo behind the scenes during this special Awareness Weekend Encounter, which includes meeting some of AAQ’s African penguins residents, one free photo with a penguin and a premade 5×7 penguin foot painting.  Space is limited, guests are encouraged to book prior to the weekend by calling Group Sales at 800-616-JAWS (5297).

NEW! Penguin Dance Party – Guests are invited to dress in their black and white, penguin-inspired best and show off their moves in interactive dance sessions in the Rotunda (Zone B) throughout the day. Check show guide for times.

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Perfectly-Penguin Feeds – Guests can observe biologists feed the penguins their favorite meal as well as learn from Penguin Experts as they explain the daily nutrition of the penguins and other fun facts. Feedings are held in Penguin Island and are free for all Adventure Aquarium guests. Arrive early to grab a spot, as this is a popular show for visitors. For the latest feed schedule times, head to adventureaquarium.com.

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Behind-the-scenes Penguin Video – Visitors will get a unique inside perspective of a day in the life of the Adventure Aquarium penguin colony, including prepping their meals, receiving check-ups, molting, swimming, painting and much more.

Explore and Discover Penguin Artifacts – Guests will get a hands-on look at the various “biofacts” of African Penguins. Explore and discover African Penguin feathers, eggs, diet, vitamins, and much more as well as read informative displays about African Penguins, SANCCOB and AZA SAFE.

Penguin Adoptions – Guests can adopt an Adventure Aquarium penguin at The Gift Shop, with a portion of the proceeds benefitting SANCCOB. Find out more details on how to adopt a member of the colony!

We hope to see you there!


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Calling All Reeftown Rangers: Splash and Bubbles Experience Arriving at Adventure Aquarium


Jim Henson Company and PBS KIDS partner with Herschend Family Entertainment and Adventure Aquarium to bring popular kids television series to life!

 The Splash and Bubbles interactive experience, where guests can meet Jim Henson’s Splash & Bubbles characters and see them come to life through their real world animals, is now available – and only at Adventure Aquarium, officials announced earlier today.

The Jim Henson Company and PBS Kids has partnered exclusively with Herschend Family Entertainment, parent company of Adventure Aquarium, to bring Splash and Bubbles to television and digital screens worldwide.  Splash and Bubbles, which premiered in the fall of 2016, currently airs at 10:00 a.m. on the PBS affiliates in New York and Philadelphia as well as streams on PBS KIDS on demand.  Now children of all ages will see their favorite Reeftown Ranger friends come to life as they take up residence at Adventure Aquarium beginning this August.

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“Adventure Aquarium is the only place in the country where you can meet Splash & Bubbles and their real life counterparts daily, all while learning more about ocean life,” said Kim Perno, Guest Experience Manager at Adventure Aquarium.  “Kids light up when they see these colorful fish in-person and have the chance to interact with them at their favorite aquarium.”


In addition to the live character meet and greet opportunities, guests can also watch an exclusive 3D movie, Splash and Bubbles 3D Undersea Adventure, which is included with admission to the aquarium.

The Aquarium’s KidZone, located upstairs in Zone C, has virtually transformed into a Splash and Bubbles destination with the characters’ real-life animals displayed and video content playing throughout the exhibits.   After picking up a Reeftown Rangers guide, kids can travel to the various areas of the aquarium to see the real-life animals of various characters featured on the show.

“Whether guests are raving fans of the show or just learning about Splash and Bubbles during their visit, they’ll fall in love with these adorable characters,” said Perno.  “It’s also really special to be partnered with the Jim Henson Company and PBS KIDS as we work together to help kids develop a love and appreciation for the amazing things the underwater world has to offer.”

Four character-themed Exploration Stations are located throughout KidZone, giving kids hands-on activities.  As part of the experience, kids become Reeftown Rangers by visiting the stations and take a pledge as they are asked to help protect and care for the oceans which are all connected.

Come see the Splash and Bubbles experience ASAP as it is available for a limited time only at Adventure Aquarium!

Sea you soon.


Hey Shark Fin-atics! Come Celebrate Shark Week July 21 through 30



Adventure Aquarium’s sharks wait all year for their favorite holiday…and it’s that time again!  You are invited to bring their chums Friday, July 21 through Sunday, July 30 to celebrate Discovery’s Shark Week.  When visiting during Shark Week, you’ll also have the chance to make history as the millionth person will dare to cross the Adventure Aquarium’s Shark Bridge…will it be you??


Shark Bridge, unveiled to guests in April of 2016, is the longest V-shaped rope suspension bridge of its kind in the world suspended over the 21-foot deep Shark Realm exhibit.  The attraction takes visitors just inches above nearly 30 remarkable sand tiger, sandbar, black tip and nurse sharks.  The millionth guest will cross during the week of shark festivities, creating the ultimate Shark Week experience and an unforgettable, one-of-a-kind thrill.

“Our guests have enjoyed facing their fears and have dared to cross Shark Bridge since the attraction opened last year,” said Vince Nicoletti, Executive Director of Adventure Aquarium.  “We look forward to our millionth guest crossing Shark Bridge during Shark Week when these amazing animals are in the spotlight.”



Adventure Aquarium offers guests a wide variety of ways to see sharks up close. In addition to Shark Bridge, visitors can touch sharks at the interactive Touch A Shark exhibit, surround themselves with sharks as they walk through Shark Tunnel and even dive in during a Shark & Ray In-Water Encounter.   Normally offered exclusively on weekends, the Shark & Ray In-Water Encounter will be available for guests every day during Shark Week.


“Our guests are always looking for ways to get closer to our collection of sharks but even more so during Shark Week,” said Nikki Grandinetti, Curator of Fish and Invertebrates at Adventure Aquarium. “With the addition of daily Shark & Ray In-Water Encounters, our visitors will be able to go beyond their television screens and snorkel alongside four species of sharks in Shark Realm – with no glass in-between.”

Shark “fin-atics” can look forward to Shark Week programming, taking place Friday July 21 through Sunday, July 30, with a sneak preview of Discovery’s Shark Week episode “Shark Safari” in Ocean Realm, special ever popular shark fin hat giveaways, shark-themed talks and more.  Guests are also encouraged to wear their best shark-themed gear during the celebration.  We can’t wait to see you here!

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Penguins. Penguins. And More Penguins.


Hello sweet summer!  With the heat index skyrocketing, summertime is officially here.  To celebrate, Adventure Aquarium’s largest-ever group of waddling, playful African penguins returns this weekend to kick off the season at Penguin Island!  Here are the top reasons to join the celebration!

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#1. Breakfast for Penguins & Members – Forget Breakfast at Tiffany’s…Hundreds of Aquarium Members will enjoy pastries, coffee and juice while 35 African penguins eat their breakfast (scheduled for 8:30 a.m.), play and swim together on exhibit.  Members can still RSVP to reserve their spot!

P.S. Not a Member? Become one today and join the fun!

#2. Our newest chick, Lemmie, makes her official debut – Lemmie will waddle out and join the Aquarium’s largest-ever flock of African penguins. Watch as she swims and plays at Penguin Island for the first time! (We’re so proud of our little girl!)

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#3. Catch 35 Waddling, Playful Penguins – The penguins are now more active than ever following Penguin Island exhibit renovations. Come see all 35 penguins swim together, climb on rocks and waddle on land!

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#4. Prominent Penguins, Class of 35 – Each of our penguins has a very unique personality of its own. AAQ created a list of penguin superlatives representing these distinct personality traits. Come see who was voted class clown, best dressed, most likely to be President, cutest couple and more…then see them in-person on exhibit!

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#5. Perfectly-Penguin Shows and Feeds – Visitors can check out a jam-packed penguin schedule all weekend-long, including biologists feeding the penguins their favorite meal – FISH and SQUID – as Penguin Experts provide fun penguins facts.  In addition, you’ll be able to watch the penguins play and swim on exhibit. Shows and Feedings are held in Penguin Island and are free for all Adventure Aquarium guests. Arrive early to grab a spot, as this is a popular show for visitors.

  • African Penguin Talks – 1:30pm and 2:30pm Friday – Sunday
  • African Penguin Feeds – 11:15am and 3:30pm Friday – Sunday

#6. Win a Penguin Encounter – Guests will enter a sweepstakes for the chance to win a behind the scenes Penguin Encounter.


Want to guarantee your spot at a Penguin Encounter this summer? Now through August 27, Penguin Encounters will be available on Fridays at 10:15 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. in addition to the Saturday and Sunday 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. time slots. Book yours today!

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Hip-Hippo-Hooray…You’re Invited to Genny’s 17th Birthday Celebration!


Hippo-sized birthday fun’s in store with special hippo-friendly cake, giant birthday cards, hippo party games and more!

You’re invited to celebrate Genny the Nile hippo’s 17th birthday weekend, Friday, July 7 through Sunday, July 9!  Hippo Haven will turn into hippo party central, with decorations and fanfare, as guests and staff will join in the fun surrounding the birthday girl’s big day.



“Celebrating birthdays are always fun, but celebrating a 4,000-pound hippo’s birthday is extra special,” said Michele Pagel, Curator of Birds and Mammals at Adventure Aquarium. “Our Members and guests know and love both of our girls, Genny and Button, and we’re so excited to share Genny’s very special birthday festivities with them.”


In New Jersey, drivers must be seventeen years old to receive their driver’s license. This year, Genny is reaching that milestone and, since she is now able to get behind the wheel, will receive her provisionary driver’s license. To commemorate the special occasion, a special New Jersey driver’s license birthday cake, provided by DiBartolo’s Bakery, will be distributed to guests during the Friday, July 7 kickoff event beginning at 10:00 a.m. (while supplies last).  In addition, local West Deptford theater students will lead guests in the singing of happy birthday to the hippo of honor.

Genny, born on July 10, 2000 at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Florida, is the larger of the two ladies, weighing over 4,000 pounds. Her hippo gal pal Button, weighing in at just over 3,000 pounds and 20-years-old, was born on March 22, 1997 at Parque Zoological de Leon in Mexico.


“Each hippo is unique in their physical appearance and personality traits but they have one thing in common – they love to eat,” said Pagel. “Keeping that in mind, we will present vegan ‘hippo birthday cakes’ to the girls each morning throughout the weekend as guests sing happy birthday in Hippo Haven.  It will definitely be a fun way for everyone to start each day!”

The fun will continue with special birthday celebration programming, featuring a variety of enrichment, hippo talks, hippo party games, the singing of happy birthday and hippo treats showcased all weekend-long.  Guests will also have the opportunity to wish Genny a wonderful day on “hippo-sized” birthday cards displayed in Hippo Haven. At the end of each day, guests will have one final opportunity to wish Genny a happy birthday and a good night during Hippo Bedtime.


Aquarium visitors will not only experience how special it is to celebrate a hippo’s birthday at Adventure Aquarium but they will also be able to enter a sweepstakes to win a free birthday party at the Aquarium.  One lucky guest will win their very own birthday party with the drawing taking place on Friday, July 14.

Guests and visitors are encouraged to follow the Aquarium’s social media accounts to stay up to date on animal birthdays, birth announcements, events and more.