Wednesday, October 15, 2014

New England Aquarium and Boston Duck Tours Instagram Ticket Contest

We're giving your family a chance to win free tickets to cruise through Boston on a world-famous Boston Duck Tour and explore the New England Aquarium. It's a great trip waiting to happen, because Duck Tours depart from the Aquarium daily … and you could be on board.

So whip out your smartphones, open Instagram and start posting pics of ducks and Duck Tours for your chance to win combo tickets to go on a Boston Duck Tour and visit the Aquarium!

How to Enter
  • Step 1: Find a Boston Duck Tour vehicle or a duck (think: quack! quack!).
  • Step 2: Take a great Instagram picture.
  • Step 3: Post it with the hashtag: #DucksLovePenguins and be sure to tag @newenglandaquarium and @bostonducktours
  • Step 4: Repeat for more chances to win!

Contest Details
Starts: Now!
Ends: Wednesday, 10/22
Prize: A family four-pack of combo tickets to take a Boston Duck Tour and visit the New England Aquarium. Two (2) family four-packs will be awarded over the week of the contest.
Stay Connected
Follow @newenglandaquarium and @bostonducktours on Instagram for more updates and to see entries being reposted.

This is your chance to see Boston by land and water, and visit your favorite penguins, sharks, sea turtles and sea lions without paying a dime. We'll be watching Instagram for winners. The ball's in your court now, you lucky ducks!

Sea Turtles from Cape Cod Released in Maryland

After a day-long, nearly 500-mile long drive from the New England Aquarium’s sea turtle hospital in Quincy, Mass., to Maryland’s Eastern Shore, three endangered sea turtles that had been rescued on Cape Cod for a variety of reasons were released into the warm surf of Ocean City, Maryland. These sea turtles received a significant head start on their usual autumn migration southward as ocean temperatures off of Cape Cod are a bracing 58 degrees while the mid-Atlantic waters are a sea turtle friendly 71 degrees.

A loggerhead sea turtle rehabilitated by Boston ‘s New England Aquarium is released by National Aquarium intern, Melissa Bittner, off of Ocean City, MD, Tuesday. The 30 pound sea turtle had been rescued from a fishing net off of Cape Cod in September, was treated at the New England Aquarium’s sea turtle hospital in Quincy, MA and then driven nearly 500 miles south to the much warmer and more sea turtle friendly waters of Maryland.
Photo: National Aquarium in Baltimore

The three turtles included a 30 pound loggerhead sea turtle that had been recovered from a gill net near the elbow of Cape Cod in Chatham in September. Two smaller Kemp’s ridley sea turtles, the world’s most endangered sea turtle species, were also released. That included the smallest turtle in the group that had stranded this past September 10 in Brewster MA, an area with tricky tides. Summer time sea turtle strandings usually are associated with underlying medical issues, but to the surprise of the New England Aquarium rescue biologists and veterinarians, this young turtle was fine and probably stranded due to inexperience with large tides and strong local currents.

The last Kemp’s ridley, a 12-pounder named Golden Crisp,  had been in rehab for nearly 11 months. It had stranded last November in Wellfleet, Mass., during the annual late autumn sea turtle stranding event on Cape Cod due to hypothermia for those turtles that have failed to migrate. After recovering from the cold stunning, Golden Crisp was slow to recover from some persistent lung and blood infections. It was the last sea turtle from the 2013 cold stunning season in the New England Aquarium’s suburban Boston rescue facility.

More than 80 other endangered and sea turtles from last year’s hypothermia event have either been released or transferred to other turtle rehab facilities. That gives the Aquarium’s marine animal rescue team about a month to rest and to get prepared for the start of the 2014 sea turtle stranding season on Cape Cod in early November.

Learn about other sea turtle releases this year: 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Volunteer of the Month: September

Every month our Volunteer office sorts through piles of nominations from supervisors (and sometimes entire departments!) and honors one of our volunteers for their truly stupendous efforts. Meet our latest Volunteer of the Month.

This month we are excited to award Marine Mammal dive volunteer Mark Murray.

The vast majority of our volunteers serve on land, but there are a few who spend almost all of their time underwater! Our Marine Mammal dive volunteers spend their time cleaning the underwater enclosures and exhibits for the harbor seals, fur seals and sea lions, and this month we’re honoring Mark Murray—one of the original Marine Mammal dive volunteers!

Marine Mammal Trainer Patty Schilling writes:
“Mark Murray has been a marine mammal volunteer since the 1990s. He began his time with us as a full-day volunteer and then transitioned to one of our very first dive volunteers. Mark’s commitment to the Aquarium and to our department is amazing. He is willing to give up Saturday mornings with his family to help us vacuum the “deposits” left behind by our Atlantic harbor seals. Mark always comes in with a smile and gets right to work. Before every dive we have to set up dive gear and prepare the vacuum system, but all of this work is a breeze when Mark is here. Sometimes we get to the exhibit and Mark has done it all! The time he has devoted, his upbeat attitude and his dedication to maintaining a high standard of cleanliness in our exhibit are all reasons why Mark is deserving of volunteer of the month.”

Thank you, Mark, for helping to keep our mammals’ underwater space clean and healthy!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Here's how to meet the planet's creepiest animals

Witches. Goblins. Headless horsemen. Been there, done that. This October, up the freaky factor and dare to dive into the creepy side of our blue planet.


Plug into the Aquarium’s Facebook and Twitter feeds as we count down to Halloween with some of the eerie and ethereal ocean animals you’ll find at the Aquarium. From venomous fish to ghostly invertebrates, we’ll help you get in the mood of this spooky time of year.

Plug in to the Aquarium's Facebook and Twitter and we'll help you get in the Halloween spirit!

So make sure you like the Aquarium’s Facebook page and start following us on Twitter so you don’t miss a thing!

Piranha! Spooky, right? Oh, just wait...

Friday, October 3, 2014

Make the most of your visit!

Long weekends mean you have even more time to explore our blue planet! And fall is a fantastic time to visit the Aquarium. So here are a couple tips that can make your next visit go swimmingly.

Get to this moment faster. Buy your timed ticket online before you visit.

1. Buy your timed tickets online
Buying your timed tickets online and printing them at home means you can skip the line and head right into the Main Lobby! Timed tickets allow you the freedom to plan your day around your visit. Simply choose the day and time you wish to come, print out your tickets and get ready to see some amazing things. Don't worry if you miss your time, though. We'll get you in. Here are other Frequently Asked Question about timed tickets.

Members with valid membership cards can head straight into the Main Lobby! Expedite your entry by having your bar-coded membership card and a photo ID in hand. Unless you need to purchase additional tickets at the Member Services desk, you can proceed directly to an entry scanner in the lobby. Need to renew or buy a membership?  You can do it online and then bring your confirmation email with you during your visit. (Note, there is a delay in receiving some benefits when purchased online.)

2. Avoid peak times
The middle of the day is our busiest time. If you want plenty of face time with Myrtle the green sea turtle or Isaac the Northern fur seal, plan to arrive before 10 a.m. or later in the afternoon after 3:00 p.m. We are open until 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sundays! Be sure to check the website for any last minute changes.

Divers feed the fish, eels and turtles (like Myrtle here) in the Giant Ocean Tank several times a day.
Take a look at our daily schedule of presentations so you know when the divers are taking the plunge.

3. Take public transportation
It's the blue thing to do! Taking public transportation is one way you can reduce your carbon footprint, which can work to slow climate change. The Aquarium stop on the MBTA's Blue Line is just a few steps away from our Front Plaza. If you're driving, check out nearby parking options, prices vary. Here's some more information about accessibility at the Aquarium.

Only members get validated parking at the Harbor Garage next to the Aquarium!

The Blue Planet Action Center is a visitor's connection to the exciting research being conducted by Aquarium scientists. This is also where you can take in a live animal presentation.

4. Hightail it to a New England Aquarium Whale Watch
There's still time to visit the whales! The New England Aquarium is partnering with Boston Harbor Cruises to give visitors front row seats to view the ocean's most fascinating and magnificent animals. Join us! New England Aquarium Whale Watches leaves conveniently right from Central Wharf. Whale watches run through the end of the month. 

5. Get even closer with our Animal Encounter programs
Perch on top of the four-story Giant Ocean Tank to feed the animals. Smooch a seal. Go behind the scenes of your favorite exhibits. The New England Aquarium's immersive Animal Encounter programs take your visit to a whole new level. Whether you have an unquenchable curiosity about marine animals or you want a brand new perspective on popular exhibits, these unique opportunities are designed for the Aquarium superfan. Be sure to bring your curiosity and questions!

Members enjoy special discounts to this program—plus at the Gift Shop and Harbor View CafĂ©!

Take a Dip with a Seal is one of the Animal Encounter programs. Book ahead to reserve your spot
by calling Central Reservations at 617-973-5206.

6. See the world in incredible IMAX 
The Simons IMAX Theatre's six-story movie screen is the largest in New England. So you can imagine the splash with Great White Shark 3D, where the whole family can learn about these incredibly well-adapted hunters. Journey to the South Pacific 3D transports you to sunny, tropical reefs. And Island of Lemurs: Madagascar 3D is delighting audiences with charming, springy lemurs and important lessons in protecting all animals on our blue planet.

Members, don't forget to use your member IMAX e-passes when ordering by phone, online or in person.

Watch the Great White Shark 3D trailer, check show times and buy tickets.

7. Still have questions?
Can I leave and return to the Aquarium during my visit? Is photography allowed? What about food options in and around Central Wharf? Poke through our FAQs for answers to these questions and more.

We look forward to seeing you here at the New England Aquarium! Don't forget, buying your timed ticket in advance will help you save time when you arrive. Want to become a member? You can purchase a membership online!

Kit, the Northern fur seal born at the Aquarium last August, interacts with another young fur seal.
Fur seal training sessions happen at 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2:45 p.m.

After you visit, don't be strangers! When you get home, there are plenty of ways that you can connect with the Aquarium online. Follow our blogs for more about the Giant Ocean TankMarine Mammal TrainersRescue Department and more.

Find us on FacebookTwitterTumblrGoogle+Instagram and Pinterest. We'd love to see your pictures!