Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year! Bundle up to see seals on ice

The Aquarium opens at 12 pm today for the New Year's holiday. 

Families are enjoying the ice sculpture for school vacation week

A sure sign of the holidays is ice sculptures popping up around Boston, and the New England Aquarium traditionally puts up the first for its school vacation week visitors to enjoy. This year, the multi-ton, ice sculpture will be of the Aquarium’s new fur seal pup Kitovi (Kit for short) and her parents Ursula and Isaac.

Kitovi photographed days after her birth in August 2013

Few things are cuter than a seal pup, and Kit’s first pictures after her birth at the Aquarium in August went viral appearing on entertainment and news sites around the world. Now, renowned ice sculptor Don Chappelle of Brilliant Ice Sculptures will capture that beauty in ice–an appropriate medium given that Northern fur seal habitat is centered off the coast of Alaska. The sculpture will feature the contrasting sizes of the pup, mother and father.

Born at 11 pounds, Kit currently weighs 20. She was recently weaned, now eats squid and fish when not playing with them and enjoys ignoring her mother. (Sound familiar, parents?) Mom Ursula weighs a svelte 98 pounds and unlike most other seal species does not have much blubber. Her luxuriously, rich coat keeps her warm in sub-Arctic waters. Father Isaac weighs a hefty, but athletic 300-400 pounds depending upon the season.

Our family of ice seals standing tall—even after a few days of warm weather!

The fur seals makes the Aquarium’s spectacular, harbor-side New Balance Foundation Marine Mammal Center their home, which has become a pinniped playground over the last couple of years with the addition two young sea lions, three fur seal pups and a rescued fourth pup on the way. Only a handful of aquariums feature northern fur seals, and the New England Aquarium has the largest colony in North America which continues to grow.

So bundle up to take a peek our ice sculpture on the Aquarium plaza. Then tuck inside where it's warm and tropical by the Giant Ocean Tank. The Aquarium opens at 12 pm today for the New Year's holiday. Buy tickets online and skip the line outside!

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