Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Meet a NASA Astronaut!

Free activity! Visit the Aquarium's Harbor View Terrace on July 9, from 9 am to 3 pm, to experience NASA’s Destination Station.

Did you know astronauts train underwater? Or that there is an aquarium on board the International Space Station? Ocean and space exploration may seem miles apart, but they have more in common than you think!

Join us as we welcome NASA’s Destination Station, a mobile exhibit that immerses visitors in the story of NASA and the International Space Station Program. Touch a 4-billion-year-old moon rock, determine your weight on Mars and interact with NASA astronauts and space station experts—right here at the New England Aquarium!

Visit the exhibit at the Aquarium’s Harbor View Terrace, alongside Boston’s Harborwalk, on July 9 from 9am to 3pm. Destination Station is free and open to the public. Aquarium admission is not included.

Save time to visit the Aquarium where Astronaut Suni Williams will dive in the Giant Ocean Tank around 9 am, and then she will dry off and answer a few questions. At noon and 2pm, space suit expert Sue Curley will give presentations comparing space suit technology with diving and rebreather technology. You'll have an opportunity to see an actual space suit and an underwater rebreather!

We look forward to seeing you on July 9 for a day of exploration of our blue planet and beyond!

Photo by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
via Wikimedia Commons -

Volunteer of the Month: June 2015

Every month our Volunteer department sorts through piles of nominations from supervisors and honors one of our volunteers for their truly stupendous efforts. Meet this month's volunteer!

Our volunteers are not only great at the work they do, but are also great people who brighten up those around them. That’s why this month we’re thrilled to be awarding our Volunteer of the Month award to Gimena Suarez!

Here’s what her supervisor, Michelle Zamarripa has to say about Gimena:

Gimena Suarez is one of the hardest working and kindest people I have had the pleasure working alongside. She makes the lab operate like a well-oiled machine and I strongly feel her absence when she is out (which is luckily, very rare). Gimena has been volunteering with us since November 21, 2013, coming all the way from Worcester every Thursday. 
For those of you who know about some of the tests we run in the lab, she is a spot plate wizard. She is enthusiastic about learning more and frequently attends brown bag and lecture series. Her attention to detail and her ability to multitask have made her highly effective in the lab, but it is her smile she brings with her every time that makes me excited for another Thursday to come.

Thank you, Gimena!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Adorable Penguin Chick Pictures!

Make sure you're sitting down for this one.

Our penguin biologists successfully hatched six penguin chicks of three different species this spring. Today, a trio of gawky, endangered African penguin chicks made their media debut today behind-the-scenes at the New England Aquarium.

A trio of African penguin chicks

Hatched in mid-May, weighing just over 2 ounces, these three still-downy but decidedly awkward, adolescent chicks now weigh about four pounds each. They have increased their birth weight by 30 times in six weeks.

Still cute and fluffy, but approaching that teenage awkward period

Last week, these ever demanding chicks were separated from their parents so that they can learn to take food from the penguin biologists. Over the next month, the three will live together behind the scenes, hanging out and bonding as their fluffy down gets pushed out by waterproof feathers that are growing in. They will make their exhibit debut in late July or early August.

The chicks wait in a holding pen to be fed

This spring, the talented and dedicated Aquarium penguin staff has successfully hatched six penguin chicks of three different species including a little blue penguin native to Australia and a rockhopper penguin, which can be found in southern South America.

While these little fluffs will remain behind the scenes for another month or so, you can visit full-grown penguins—three species!—in their 150,000-gallon exhibit here at the Aquarium. Start your visit online.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Celebrate Your Marine Sanctuary!

Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary is a treasure that lies only a few miles off Boston's coast. It's a great place to see really big, charismatic creatures such as humpback, minke, fin and right whales as well as basking sharks, seabirds and even a rare sighting of an ocean sunfish (Mola mola).

On June 27 and 28, the Aquarium joins the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary in celebrating Get into Your Sanctuary days.

A recent humpback spotted during a New England Aquarium Whale Watch

We invite everyone to share their experiences and celebrate our local marine sanctuary by posting pictures and thoughts on social media platforms. Show us how you #VisitSanctuaries, and help us celebrate these amazing watery resources!

Want a great way to visit your sanctuary? Check out the New England Aquarium Whale Watch! It's a comfortable ride accompanied by naturalists who can introduce the whales, sharks, seabirds and seals that call Stellwagen Bank Marine Sanctuary home.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Mexico's famous bat researcher - and tequila savior - coming to New England Aquarium

The Bat Man, Rodrigo Medellín
Join us for a free lecture to hear Bat Man Rodrigo Medellín, Mexico’s famous bat conservationist. He just might be one of the most interesting men in the world.

Pioneering bat researcher and well-known Mexican conservationist Rodrigo A. Medellín is affectionately known as “The Bat Man.” He is a Mexican ecologist who has worked to save bats and, consequently, the tequila industry that thrives on the bats for pollination. An ambassador for the International Union of Conservation of Nature, Medellín, 57, is a professor at the National Autonomous University in Mexico City and a 2008 Rolex Award for Enterprise winner for his work.

Medellín was recently featured in the 2014 BBC documentary, “Natural World: The Batman of Mexico” and has been profiled in The Atlantic, The New Yorker, Discover Wildlife, and The Guardian.

At the lecture, we'll watch the BBC documentary and you'll discover how the lesser long-nosed bat is crucial to the agave plant that produces the famous liquor export. The bats were put on the US endangered species list in 1988 and made the threatened species list in Mexico in 1994. But over several decades, Medellín dedicated his life to saving these important pollinators from disappearing, and the bat population resurged.

Lesser long nosed bat | Photo: via Wikimedia Commons

You can fully appreciate Medellín's efforts with a trip to the Aquarium’s outdoor café, The Reef, before the lecture, where we will be offering “The Bat Man” cocktail featuring 1800 Tequila in honor of Rodrigo’s visit. You can enjoy beautiful harbor views at the same time! Mention this offer and receive complimentary Reef Chips with the purchase of a “Bat Man” cocktail.

Learn more about Medellín in this story from The New Yorker magazine and see more clips from the film on the BBC's website.

About the Aquarium Lecture Series: The Aquarium hosts a series of informative free lectures, films, and discussions for the community this spring. The Lowell Institute supports the lectures. Most are available on the Aquarium’s YouTube channel afterward. Pre-registration is encouraged on the Aquarium’s website or call 617-973-5200 for more information.