Monday, August 30, 2010

Party After Dark at the Aquarium!

Saturday, September 25, 2010
8:30 p.m. - midnight
Central Wharf, Boston

Come enjoy a live band and cool cocktails while the lights of Boston Harbor twinkle along the waterfront. It's the New England Aquarium's Blue Planet After Dark Party!

Don your favorite cocktail attire. Enjoy a specialty martini bar sponsored by Grey Goose vodka. Twirl and twist to the music of Double Vision, a favorite local rock band. And know you are supporting the Aquarium and helping protect the blue planet.

Valet parking is available. Add your name to the guest list and purchase your tickets online!

This party is being held in conjunction with the Blue Planet Ball, the Aquarium's biennial fundraising event.

'Inception' hits the Simons IMAX Theatre

Starting this Friday, September 3, dreams become all too real in the mind-bending hit Inception: The IMAX Experience coming to the largest screen in New England: the Aquarium's Simons IMAX Theatre. Prepare for your journey into the subconscious with a ticket giveaway every day this week!

Today at noon, we'll post a question on our facebook fan page. Comment with the correct answer by 3 p.m. and you'll be entered to win a pair of tickets to see the newest film at the Simons IMAX Theatre. We'll contact the winner through direct message on facebook. If you don't win on Monday, check back on Tuesday, or Wednesday... or Thursday, or Friday! We'll be posting a new question and giving away another pair of tickets every day until the film opens on Friday.

You won't want to miss your chance to see Inception for FREE. The intelligent thriller will take you into a labyrinth of intrigue, with crystal clear images of massive dreamscapes and surreal action sequences. Follow Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) and a team of expert information extractors as they freefall through a series of surreal mazes in an effort to manipulate reality. Check out the trailer for a taste of the gigantic special effects and psychological puzzles!

"Inception is that rare film that can be enjoyed on superficial and progressively deeper levels, a feat that uncannily mimics the mind-bending journey its protagonist takes."
- Ann Hornaday, Washington Post

"In this wildly ingenious chess game, grandmaster [Christopher] Nolan plants ideas in our heads that disturb and dazzle. The result is a knockout. But be warned: Inception dreams big."
- Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

This film runs 2 hours and 28 minutes, rated PG-13.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Celebrate OVO before heading back to school!

Celebrate the waning days of summer with a special day in the city. Visit the Aquarium to see all your favorite animals, then see Cirque du Soleil's OVO with a special back-to-school promotion!

Not only will you benefit from exclusive category 2 and 3 discounts on tickets to all shows, Cirque du Soleil is also launching an all-new back-to-school merchandise collection. And, as a special thank you to Aquarium supporters, you'll receive a free Cirque du Soleil backpack with any purchase of $75 or more in the online boutique.

Plus, don't miss the exclusive behind-the-scenes features, including a live chat with three of Cirque du Soleil's creators, and a sneak peek at some of the most inspiring trends for the coming year.

OVO is currently performing for a limited time in Boston. Performances take place under the Big Top at Fan Pier and Pier 4 on Boston's waterfront. Click here to purchase already discounted tickets, no promo code needed!

Show ends August 29.

Penguin Pursuit Contest - Rained out!

Update: Unfortunately this Penguin Pursuit appearance has been canceled due to the weather. But you can see all the Aquarium's penguins on exhibit today, just head down to the Aquarium. Start planning your visit!

This week is your last chance to see one of the Aquarium's penguins on the urban streets of Boston this summer! The last Penguin Pursuit Contest of the season is underway. You know the drill by now: Just follow our clues to a popular Boston hangout to meet one of our penguins this Wednesday, August 25, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. We'll be posting clues over the next couple days so stay tuned.

Roast Beef, one of our our handsome African penguins, is looking forward to seeing you!

Roast Beef stayed cozy in his climate controlled cart during a visit to Fenway Park.
Photo credit: Gina Young

Ready... go! Here's clue number two:

Clue #1
In 1962 architects Kallmann, McKinnell and Knowles won a competition to design a building in this space; their design for a nine-story Brutalist structure was chosen out of 256 entries.

Clue #2
In 2008, the building located in this space gained some international notoriety when Virtualtourist voted it the ugliest building in the world.

Clue #3
The famous structure located in this large, red-brick square in downtown Boston is made out concrete.

More clues will follow in the next couple days. Check back often because you'll definitely want to meet Roast Beef and his entourage. Educators will be on hand to answer questions and give out free bookmarks. You may have a chance to meet our friendly penguin mascot. And of course, Roast Beef will be happy to pose for photographs!

Here's a peek at the action during the penguin's previous jaunts about town.

At Faneuil Hall!

At the Children's Museum!

Outside Fenway Park!

At the Prudential Center! Photo credit: Gina Young

See you on Wednesday!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Join us at the New England Aquarium for a free penguin event

International Penguin Conference
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Simons IMAX Theatre
7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

For the first time in its more than 20-year history, the International Penguin Conference is taking place in the Northern Hemisphere. The New England Aquarium is proud to host the event here in Boston this fall. Join prominent penguin scientists from around the world as they share their most recent findings about these threatened and endangered birds during this public event.

About the speakers

Dee Boersma, Ph.D

Photo credit: William Conway/Wildlife Conservation Society

Dee Boersma, a University of Washington conservation biologist, is the Jane Goodall of penguins. As director of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Penguin Project, Dr. Boersma has spent the last quarter of a century studying the behaviors of some 40,000 Magellanic penguins, inhabitants of one stretch of beach in southern Argentina.

Grant Ballard, Ph.D.

Photo credit: Lloyd Fales

Grant Ballard, Senior Biologist at the Point Reyes Bird Observatory in Petaluma, California, has been studying Adelie penguins since 1996. He and a team of researchers have been studying how the birds are responding to and coping with a sudden rise in temperature and what that may mean for polar environments and ultimately for the planet.

Peter Barham, Ph.D.

Peter Barham is a Professorial Teaching Fellow in Physics at the University of Bristol, UK and visiting Professor of Molecular Gastronomy at the Royal Veterinary University in Copenhagen, Denmark. Peter Barham's research at the University of Bristol is concerned with polymer physics and he has found great ways to connect his research with his love of penguins, including the creation of silicon-based flipper bands which can be used for monitoring penguin populations.

Jonathan Chester

Jonathan Chester is one of the world's leading polar photographers and expeditioners. In the past 15 years Jonathan has spent 12 austral summer seasons in Antarctica resulting in numerous books and other media projects. Jonathan is an expedition leader, a naturalist and historian on polar tourist cruises, and has been lecturing on the Antarctic, the Himalaya and photography for over 25 years.

This event is free and open to the public, please let us know if you plan to attend!
Click here to RSVP.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What's in an African penguin name?

There's a young penguin at the New England Aquarium that needs your help. One of these birds needs a creative, conservation-related name that will teach visitors about African penguins.

And that's where you come in!

Penguin chicks born at the Aquarium

We are really excited about our Penguin Naming Contest running through Sunday, 8/22. Folks like you can submit an educational name for one of our birds, and Aquarium biologists will choose their favorite name. A winner will be awarded a behind-the-scenes tour of the Aquarium’s penguin exhibit. If you think you have what it takes, here's the entry form, submit away!

We're not the only ones excited about our penguin naming contest. Just check out some of the recent news coverage:

Penguin Chicks to Make an Appearance at the Aquarium

Name Aquarium's New Penguin Chick

Name a Penguin for the New England Aquarium

Name a Penguin Chick in New England!

Name that Penguin Contest!

Don't forget, we're looking for names that can tell people a little bit about these birds — from penguin biology to some of the threats that wild birds face to their native habitat. For example, Pip is named after the lengthy exercise of a chick breaking out its shell, a process called pipping. Treasure is named after a ship that sank off South Africa in 2000, causing a devastating oil spill affecting thousands of African penguins.

Brush up on your penguin facts. Get creative. We can't wait to see what you come up with. Good luck!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Win free tickets to Cirque du Soleil!

If you love the colors and characters found in the Aquarium's Giant Ocean Tank or the Harbor Seal Exhibit, you'll love Cirque du Soleil's latest production: OVO. This Big Top production delves into the bustling and vibrant world of insects with Cirque du Soleil's trademark flair.

Cirque is offering the Aquarium community a unique opportunity to experience this dramatic spectacle... for FREE! Keep watching the Aquarium's facebook fan page to win a free pair of tickets to see the show on Wednesday, August 18, at 8 p.m. We'll be posting a trivia question at noon. Just comment with the right answer today by 4 p.m. and you'll be entered to win! Winners will be contacted via direct message soon after the contest ends. They can collect their tickets at the Aquarium's Information Desk with proper I.D.

OVO takes you into a colorful ecosystem teeming with life, where insects work, eat, crawl, flutter, play, fight and look for love in a non-stop riot of energy and movement. The insects' home is a world of biodiversity and beauty filled with noisy action and moments of quiet emotion.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Cat in the Hat knows where it's at!

"The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!" is a new show debuting on PBS Kids introducing pre-schoolers to science. Look for the program locally on WGBH Channel 2 every day this fall. Can't wait? On Labor Day, the Cat will be visiting the Aquarium to give families a sneak peek at this exciting animated program!

Come by Central Wharf on Monday, September 6, between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. for free screenings of this new show, plus a raft of giveaways and activities. Here's what's in store for you and your family:
  • Settle in at the Ocean Center's Harborside Learning Lab to see an episode of this fun animated series. Screenings will happen at 11 a.m., 12 p.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.
  • Team up to tackle a kid-friendly scavenger hunt with clues sprinkled throughout the Aquarium, happening all day long.
  • Make time for story time at Discovery Corner with everybody's favorite Dr. Seuss children's books from Random House on the half hour between 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
  • Don't forget to get your picture taken with this mischievous feline, the mascot will be making appearances throughout the day!

All activities are included with regular Aquarium admission. Finish off summer with a real adventure, we hope to see you here!

*** Update!! Congratulations to Laila from Medford! She is the winner of the set of "Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library" books. ***

Friday, August 6, 2010

Penguin Pursuit headed to a cool new location!

The New England Aquarium is at it again! We're bringing one of our beloved penguins to a new location in the city of Boston this weekend for another fun installment of the Penguin Pursuit contest. The race is on to find our bird this Saturday, August 7, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.

Roast Beef outside Fenway Park, photo credit: Gina Young

If you want to take part in this exciting game, you must figure out the clues posted right here. (See below!) Then just show up at the penguin’s location geared up with your camera, friends and family to meet the penguin and take pictures with this adorable bird.

To help find him, we've shared five clever clues that will help you track down the penguin’s next location. Once you have figured out the clues there is no way you can miss him!

Here goes...

Clue #1
This tower was the world's tallest building outside of New York City when it was completed in 1965. It contains over 4,000 windows.

Clue #2
This complex is home to the largest parking garage in New England. It has space for over 3,660 cars!

Clue #3
Boston's only observatory sits on the 50th floor of this famous landmark, offering 360-degree views to over 200,000 visitors annually.

Clue #4
With over 60,000 visitors a day, the shopping center in this building is ranked one of the top five in the country.

Clue #5
Visitors can enjoy free ice cream while watching bands play outside at this Ben & Jerry's Fair Trade Music Festival location.

The quest to find the penguin begins NOW! The Penguin Pursuit has already led a large group of finders to several different locations across the city. This very special African penguin first visited Faneuil Hall, then he visited the Children’s Museum. And last week, he went to Fenway Park!

Roast Beef the penguin draws a crowd at Faneuil Hall.

Kids loved meeting Roast Beef and his mascot companion at the Children's Museum.

Roast Beef and the gang met even more new friends outside Fenway Park!

Penguin Pursuit is a fun learning opportunity, as well as a chance to win free prizes! Many of the people who have participated in the Penguin Pursuit contest won free prizes and, of course, met one of the Aquarium's most beloved penguins! Educators from the New England Aquarium were also on site to answer any question about the bird and its species.

See you Saturday!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Right Whale Researchers Migrate North

by Amanda Thompson

Our Right Whale Research Team has just moved to Lubec, Maine to begin their annual Bay of Fundy field season! This year will be the 31st consecutive year of right whale research up in the Bay of Fundy, started by Scott Kraus and two fellow researchers in 1980. For the the 2nd consecutive year Moira Brown will take a team offshore to survey for right whales on Roseway Basin, the other critical habitat for the species in the waters of Atlantic Canada.

On a rare calm day in the Bay of Fundy Monica Zani (behind) and Marianna Hagbloom stand on the bowsprit of the R/V Nereid searching for right whales. Photo credit: Zach Swaim, New England Aquarium

Every summer North Atlantic right whales migrate north along the Atlantic Coast to feed on the plankton rich waters, nurse their young and socialize. Every day that the fickle Bay of Fundy weather permits, the researchers will go out to the Grand Manan Basin in the middle of the lower Bay of Fundy on their 29 foot long research vessel, Nereid.

The Aquarium team photographs a right whales from the
R/V Nereid.

This year in addition to surveying the Bay of Fundy, we were fortunate enough to secure funding to conduct surveys for two weeks in the Roseway Basin’s area to be avoided, endorsed by the International Maritime Organization and implemented by the Canadian government in 2008. This specially designated area off the coast of Nova Scotia is one of only two critical habitats for right whales in Atlantic Canada (the second is an area in the Bay of Fundy)! This is an important summer habitat for the right whale and we are anticipating another productive and illuminating survey. To read more about last year’s survey click here and here.

View Larger Map
Roseway Basin off the coast of Nova Scotia

Team members on both surveys will take digital photographs of the right whales and then spend the bad weather days in the field station matching the ones seen to whales in the North Atlantic Right Whale Catalog. They will collect small skin biopsy samples and fecal samples for ongoing genetic, hormone and health analyses to add to what we know about the right whale family tree and our understanding of right whale biology and reproduction. Over the last two decades, the right whale data collected by the New England Aquarium team has been used by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in Canada to designate two right whale conservation areas in 1993 that are now re-designated as two critical habitats in the 2009 Right Whale Recovery Strategy. The data was also used by Transport Canada to relocate shipping lanes in the Bay of Fundy and implement an area to be avoided on Roseway Basin to reduce the risk of ship strikes.

Learn more about the Right Whale Project here, or if you are interested in sponsoring a right whale to support the project click here!

2010 Team members include NEAq researchers: Scott Kraus, Roz Rolland, Moira Brown, Amy Knowlton, Monica Zani, Jessica Taylor, Marilyn Marx and Marianna Hagbloom. Kara Mahoney will be taking a leave from NEAq education for two weeks to help us with our Roseway Basin surveys. We will be joined for the season by Yan Guilbault and Candace Borutskie from Quebec, Zach Swaim from North Carolina, Dan and Claudia Pendleton from Washington, and Jennifer Tennessen from Pennsylvania State University.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

PIPA named World Heritage Site

The Phoenix Islands are treasured as one of Earth’s last intact oceanic coral archipelago ecosystems, which is why the Aquarium worked so hard to protect it. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) also recognized the significance of this special spot. This week, UNESCO included the Phoenix Island Protected Area in its list of World Heritage Sites, along with sites from Mexico, Brazil, France, Bulgaria and China.

The Phoenix Islands Marine Protected Area

PIPA joins a long list of special natural and cultural landmarks, including the Galapagos Islands and Australia's Great Barrier Reef. UNESCO explains that these sites should belong to all peoples of the world, irrespective of the territory on which they are located. UNESCO hopes this designation will encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity.

The Phoenix Island Marine Protected Area

Starting in 2006, the Aquarium started working with the Pacific Island nation of Kiribati and Conservation International to develop PIPA through several years of joint scientific research and policy development. The Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA) is one of the world’s largest marine protected areas, safeguarding more than 150,000 square miles of pristine coral reefs, undersea mountains and remote seabird nesting islands.

New offer, exclusively for members!

Your New England Aquarium membership gets you express admission to see your favorite exhibits and animals on Central Wharf. Now your membership is getting you exclusive savings to see the critters in Cirque du Soleil’s touring production of OVO!

Cirque du Soleil is offering our members 20% off tickets from Level 2, or 30% off Level 3 tickets for select performances.

OVO is performing for a limited time under the trademark blue-and-yellow Grand Chapiteau (Big Top) at Fan Pier and Pier 4 on Boston’s New Waterfront.

OVO is a headlong rush into a colorful ecosystem teeming with life, where insects work, eat, crawl, flutter, play, fight and look for love in a non-stop riot of energy and movement. The insects’ home is a world of biodiversity and beauty filled with noisy action and moments of quiet emotion.

This link will take you directly to the discounted ticket page for the select performances. Enjoy the show!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

So many jellies!

Many visitors may be wondering why there are so many sea jellies floating in Boston Harbor right now. You can see them from the Boston Harbor Islands, during a New England Aquarium Whale Watch, even floating right next to the Aquarium! Check out this quick video taken next to the Simons IMAX Theatre, you can see all the moon jellies dotting the water.

Well, this kind of thing happens every year. Some jellies can thrive in warmer waters. Incoming tides and currents will also corral jellies into harbors and marinas during the summer. At other times they hang out in deeper water, where you won't see them because of the water clarity.

On the second level of the Aquarium, you can learn all about these brainless, graceful blobs, and why they are some of the best survivors in the world. As this Smithsonian Magazine article explains, they are uniquely suited to cope with some of the threats facing our oceans - like global climate change.

Come by the Aquarium to see these unique sea creatures in action!