Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Scenes from the snow day

The Aquarium is closed today because of the winter storm. But a hardy crew of maintenance workers and animal care givers were on hand to give the fish, seals, penguins, octopus, turtles, snakes and all the critters their daily vittles. Diver Sean Marden snapped these pictures on his way in to feed Myrtle and the gang in the Giant Ocean Tank.

Trust us, the Aquarium is still there behind all that snow!
Our plows were working overtime
Harbor seals keeping an eye on the progress of the plowing
And just having fun

While the animals are all safe and sound, the storm rages on. The Aquarium will remain closed for the rest of the day today. If you're planning a visit tomorrow or later this week, be sure to check our website first.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Glowing Reviews of Weddings at the Aquarium

Weddings at the New England Aquarium never fail to wow guests. Our experienced Events staff seamlessly orchestrates the evening from ceremony to reception, so the guests of honor don't have to.

Here are some glowing excerpts of thank you notes to the Aquarium's Events staff from happy couples and family members.

"I don't know how many brides can say 'literally NOTHING went wrong on our day.' And I really mean it! Everything flowed so smoothly. You honestly helped to make our day perfect! I am very impressed with how detail-oriented you were and how you helped us to solve every little problem we brought to you." —Phil and Angie S. - 2013

"You were absolutely INCREDIBLE. The reception went off without a hitch and we know it was due to you and your attention to detail. We didn't want the night to end because we were having so much fun! Thank you SO much from the bottom of our hearts." —Jackie and Anthony - 2014

"We literally could not be happier with how it went, and if we had to get married 10 more times we would do them all at the Aquarium … We will both be enthusiastically recommending the Aquarium as a venue to anyone who will listen, and feel even better (if it's even possible) knowing the money we saved for our wedding went to such a great and uniquely valuable public resource." —Josh and Han - 2013
"We can't even begin to tell you how happy we were with everything. The food was delicious, and the staff was amazing (especially our personal waitress). We were just so impressed with everyone at the Aquarium and how well you worked with our vendors. Our guests have not stopped raving about it! You truly made it a special day, and for that we are forever grateful!" —Zach and Leigh Anne - 2013

"Thank you so much for all of your hard work! Garner and I went into the planning process fairly confused, and with your help everything came together just wonderfully.  Our guests have been raving about the night to us non-stop." —Laura G. - 2014

"Time was a total blur to Anne and me all day so I'm glad we had someone there to drop the hammer and keep us on schedule! Everything was more beautiful than we could've imagined, weather included!" —Mary and Anne - 2013

"We have been told by many that this was the best wedding they have ever attended. I always think that a wedding is successful if the bride and groom have the wedding they hoped for. In this case that was certainly true." —Jeanine M. - 2013
"The grandeur of the Aquarium itself and the professionalism of the staff blew everyone away. It was so magical. Cocktail time with the penguins was simply unforgettable … What an unforgettable and marvelous experience for everyone!" —Meri - 2014

"The day would not have been anywhere close to perfect without you or your team. Everything went so smoothly and so efficiently, and we really got to enjoy ourselves without fretting." —Kelly N. - 2014

"Everything went as planned; once I saw the venue before the wedding I knew all was being taken care of and I could relax! I've received texts and emails thanking me for such a 'beautiful wedding,' 'beautiful venue' and 'best wedding we've been to.' Everyone had a blast! And it all went without a hitch or hiccup." —Treacy W. - 2014
"The day was perfect and I could not have asked for a better venue or team of people to help make our day special. I am especially grateful to you and how effortless you made everything seem. All of our guests were absolutely gushing about how cool our wedding was!" —Tina D. - 2014

Our weddings team is on hand to help you make your wedding as memorable as each one of these! Learn more about weddings at the Aquarium.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Tiny Giants: Technology, Science and Art Mingle in Celebration of Marine Microbes

MEDIA RELEASE — On the evening of Thursday, January 15, a team of scientists from Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences and the New England Aquarium gathered at the popular new District Hall in Boston’s Innovation District. They were celebrating the technological and scientific achievement of a gallery of photos that captured microscopic marine microbes that are invisible to the naked eye.

Chain-forming diatoms from the genus Thalassiosira often initiate the early spring phytoplankton bloom. These diatoms provide an important source of nutrition to the base of marine food webs just as larval fish are looking for their first meal. Credit: Laura Lubelczyk, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences with funding provided by NASA

Called “Tiny Giants: Marine microbes revealed on a grand scale,” the photographic art exhibit illuminated the intricate details of microscopic creatures that are vital to the oxygen we breathe, the food chain essential from fish to whales to humans, and that mitigate the damaging effects of climate change.

Phytoplankton are microscopic plant-like organisms at the base of marine food webs. Floating at or near
the surface of the sunlit ocean, phytoplankton display thousands of morphological variations.
A single tablespoon of seawater contains hundreds of thousands of these single-celled organisms.
Credit: Dr. Peter Countway, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences
with funding provided by the National Science Foundation  

The photos were taken by scientists at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Science in East Boothbay, Maine. To understand the microbes’ significance, presentations were made by Dr. Graham Shimmield, Bigelow Laboratory’s Executive Director, and Dr. Nigella Hillgarth, the Aquarium’s CEO and President.

Emiliania huxleyi or ‘E. hux.’ for short is a marine algal species that makes plates
or liths out of calcium carbonate, which are particularly sensitive to ocean acidification.
Bigelow Laboratory scientists are currently working to understand how acidified oceans
of the future will affect these vitally important phytoplankton. Credit: Credit: Laura Lubelczyk,
Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences with funding provided by NASA

Guests shared dinner and a glass of wine with Bigelow Laboratory and Aquarium scientists including: Bigelow Laboratory’s Dr. Pete Countway, a microbial ecologist, who took many of the photographs; Dr. David Emerson, an iron-oxidizing bacteria expert; Dr. Paty Matrai, an expert on atmospheric and ocean conditions in the Arctic Ocean; and Dr. Benjamin Twining, a senior research scientist and director of education and research at the Laboratory. From the Aquarium: Dr. Scott Kraus, vice president of research; Dr. John Mandelman, director of research and a senior scientist; Dr. Kathleen Hunt, an expert in marine wildlife stress; and Dr. Randi Rotjan, a coral reef and hermit crab researcher.

See more stunning photos of marine microbes and learn how each one is important to our blue planet, see this PDF of the event's program.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Coming February 13: Humpback Whales 3D

Fifty tons of life-size adventure is splashing down on New England's largest movie screen on February 13! Humpback Whales 3D brings you into an underwater world packed with feeding frenzies, magnificent breaches and enchanting whale songs—now filmed for the first time in IMAX 3D. Get ready, this is no ordinary whale watch. Buy your tickets in advance.

Here's a taste of this extraordinary plunge into the world of these massive, yet elegant, marine mammals. Watch the trailer:

Bring the whole family on this extraordinary journey to witness awe-inspiring marine mammals socializing, singing, feeding, playing and caring for their young. Join a team of researchers as they unlock the secrets of these humpbacks and find out what makes them the most acrobatic of all whales, why only the males sing and why they migrate more than 6,000 miles every year.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Penguin ice sculptures, of course!

'Tis the season for ice sculptures around Boston—no matter how unseasonably comfortable and sunny it might be outside. At the Aquarium, our ice sculptures take on a decidedly marine theme. This year’s ice sculpture is of a penguin family—and families visiting the Aquarium this morning got some great looks at the installation of this chilly family.

Putting on the finishing touches

This past summer, the Aquarium’s dedicated penguin biologists successfully raised five penguin chicks. One of those successful parent pairs is an African penguin couple named Dehoop (mom) and Good Hope (dad) that hatched and raised a new chick named Jahleel.

Penguin family

Nearly every year, the Aquarium’s talented penguin staff help produce a new batch of penguin chicks to help sustain and grow threatened and endangered penguin populations in North American aquariums and zoos.

The ice sculpture is the first thing you'll see on the Aquarium's plaza, right by the IMAX Theatre

See the penguin family ice sculpture on the Aquarium’s front plaza for free but come into the Aquarium and see if you can find Jahleel and his parents among the 87 penguins of three different species that make the huge penguin pool their home. The Aquarium is celebrating Penguinology – Explore the Secret World of Penguins, and young visitors get a cool guide with many unusual facts about these beloved birds.

The artist behind this year's family of penguins is Don Chapelle, ice sculptor extraordinaire and one of the principal First Night ice sculptors for many years.

An icy penguin is the perfect way to celebrate winter!

Ice sculptures have been a fun New Year's tradition at the Aquarium for several years now. See some of the previous icy marine animals: