Wednesday, February 3, 2016

February Vacation Visiting Tips

Add some family fun to your school vacation. Plan a visit to the Aquarium! Here are a few insider tips to help you make the most of your visit:

Buying your ticket online before your visit means you can
zip inside and gaze at the Giant Ocean Tank sooner.
1. Buy your tickets online
Buying your tickets online means you can skip the line! Simply print them at home or show your e-ticket on your smartphone in the Main Lobby.

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, plan to arrive when we open a 9 a.m. or later in the afternoon after 3:00 p.m. Be sure to check the website for any last minute changes to our schedule.

3. Take public transportation
Hands-on areas like the shark and ray touch tank
are popular with visitors of all ages.

Taking public transportation is the blue thing to do! The Aquarium stop on the MBTA's Blue Line is just a few steps 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.

4. Get even closer with our Animal Encounter programs
Perch on top of the four-story Giant Ocean Tank to feed the animals. Touch 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.

Grinning iguanas crawl along the sea floor in
Galapagos 3D: Nature's Wonderland
5. See the world in IMAX 
Our newest film opens Feb. 12. Get ready for a trip of a lifetime on New England's largest screen with Galapagos 3D: Nature's Wonderland! Brace for epic splashes in Humpback Whales 3D. And Secret Ocean 3D showcases the tiniest residents on the reef in enormous scale.


Still have questions, like: 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.

After you visit, don't be strangers! When you get home or even from your phone, there are plenty of ways that you can connect with the Aquarium online. Follow our blogs for more about the Giant Ocean Tankmarine mammals, exhibits throughout the Aquarium and more. 

Share your pictures with us on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google+, Instagram and Pinterest.

Surprise your sweetie for Valentine's Day...or any day

There are plenty of ways to spread the love this time of year, and you don't have to wait until Valentine's Day (... although it is nice). Here are a few ways to surprise that special someone:

Surprise Someone with an Animal Encounter
Everyone loves going face to face with a seal through the panes of the Harbor Seal exhibit on the front plaza. Now imagine surprising your seal fanatic with a chance to get even closer! An Animal Encounter is a great gift if you're looking to have less things and more meaningful experiences. From seal kisses to feeding Myrtle, we have some exciting opportunities.

Check out our Animal Encounters.


Gift Shop Goodies
Of course, there's nothing like receiving a soft, huggable plush animal from your sweetie. We have penguins and seals cute enough to drop your jaw. But we also have fabulously unique plushies! Stuffed octopus anyone (just look at it!)? How about a snuggly shark? Have you ever seen a plush stingray?

And if stuffed animal toys aren't your thing, there's always penguin sweaters or sea star housewares or ocean-friendly reusable water bottles for the ocean protector in your life.

Find these goodies and more at our Gift Shop.

Planning to tie the knot?
Valentine's Day is a popular time to pop the question to your partner. Yup, we can help with that. Our experienced Events staff expertly coordinate engagements — with the help of a scuba diver or a seal. The Aquarium is also a memorable and beautiful place to celebrate a wedding! Start planning the next step of your lives together and consider an eco-friendly wedding on Boston's waterfront.

Learn more about weddings and engagements at the Aquarium.


Sponsor an Animal
If your Valentine is all about one ocean animal in particular, consider gifting them an animal sponsorship. From dapper penguins to majestic sea turtles to smiling cownose rays, there are a variety of animals to sponsor. And you can feel good about this gift. Sponsoring an animal helps with the daily cost of care — including the best possible medical treatment, food, and habitat upkeep.

See the full list of animals available for sponsorship.


Whether you celebrate Valentine's Day or not, there are plenty of ways to spread a little Aquarium love. Have fun!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Vacation Visiting Tips for Members

Nobody knows the Aquarium's ins and outs like our members. But we wanted to share a few more insider tips that can help make your vacation visit a blast:

A beautiful anthias in the Pacific Reef community

1. Grab your member card and head straight to the lobby


Expedite your entry by having your bar-coded membership card and a photo ID handy. 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.)
Myrtle the turtle, of course
2. Avoid peak times

As you probably know, the middle of the day is our busiest time. Make sure you get plenty of face time with Myrtle the green sea turtle or Sierra the sea lion, by arriving before 10 a.m. or later in the afternoon after 3:00 p.m. Be sure to check the website for any last minute changes.


Baby seahorses!
3. Take public transportation

Taking public transportation is the blue thing to do! The Aquarium stop on the MBTA's Blue Line is just a few steps 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!


Cownose ray in the Giant Ocean Tank
4. Get even closer with our Animal Encounter programs
Use your member discounts to add extraordinary experiences to your visit. 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. (Don't forget, members also get discounts at the Gift Shop and the Harbor View Café.)




5. See the world in incredible IMAX
Watch this iguana claw across the sea floor in
Galapagos 3D: Nature's Wonderland
Get ready for the trip of a lifetime with Galapagos 3D: Nature's Wonderland! The Simons IMAX Theatre's six-story movie screen will transport you to this diverse ecosystem with sea-faring iguanas, tropical penguins, and dancing birds. You can also see 50 tons of breaching in Humpback Whales 3D and the smallest animals on the reef Secret Ocean 3D. Members, don't forget to use your member passes when ordering by phone, online or in person.


After you visit, don't be strangers! When you get home, there are plenty of ways that you can connect with the Aquarium online. 

Friday, January 29, 2016

Volunteer of the Month: January

Every month our Volunteer Office sorts through piles of nominations from supervisors and honors one of our volunteers for their truly stupendous efforts. Meet our latest Volunteer of the Month.

For the month of January we are pleased to award Lisa Martinek with the recognition of Volunteer of the Month! Lisa is a Yawkey Coral Reef Center volunteer, one of the smallest and most unique galleries we have. On Saturdays you can find her taking great care of our garden eels, dwarf sea horses, live coral tank, and more!

The dwarf seahorses are just one of the exhibits in the
Yawkey Coral Reef Center.
Here is what her Yawkey Coral Reef Center supervisor Kate Hudec had to say:
I would like to nominate my Yawkey gallery volunteer, Lisa Martinek. She has been a Saturday volunteer since April and, in all that time, has taken only two Saturdays off. Not only is she the most reliable volunteer I have ever had, but she epitomizes everything anyone could want in an aquarist volunteer. She is extremely careful, observant, hardworking, and detail oriented.  Her judgement is so sound that she is able to cover the Yawkey Gallery with very little supervision on the Saturdays I am not here and, in doing so, has made a real contribution to the Galleries team. I strongly encourage you to give her the recognition she deserves.
Please join us in congratulating Lisa!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Happy Penguin Awareness Day!

International Penguin Awareness Day is today, Wednesday, January 20. This is a big deal for us because we happen to have a prominent, popular and important penguin colony with nearly 90 birds of three different species.

Besides the demands of caring for these marine birds, our penguin biologists also run a successful breeding program as part of each species’ survival plans. The Aquarium has hatched dozens of chicks behind the scenes and we have shipped dozens of birds to many different institutions to support healthy breeding programs all around North America.

Rockhopper penguins

Below are some stats that might help build a better profile of the Aquarium’s penguins and the significant challenges facing penguins in the wild.

  • Number of penguins at the Aquarium — 89
  • Number of species at the Aquarium — Three (African, rockhopper and little blue)
  • Pounds of fish consumed by Aquarium penguins every day — 50
  • Number of continents the Aquarium's species are from — Three (Africa, South America and Australia) 
  • Number of Aquarium's full-time penguin biologists — Four
  • Number of volunteers and interns in the exhibit each week — 30–40
  • Minimum height for humans to work in the Aquarium's penguin pool — 5'4" (due to the depth of the water in the exhibit)
Gentoo penguins in Antarctica | Photo: Brian Skerry
  • Number of continents where wild penguins can be found — Four (African, S. America, Australia and Antarctica)
  • Number of species found in Antarctica—Five (Only Emporers and Adélies live there year round, see pictures of penguin in Antarctica by global explorer Jo Blasi)
  • Number of species found in the tropics — One (Galapagos penguins)
  • Number of species found in the Northern Hemisphere — Zero (so you can forget those polar bear/penguin photo ops)
  • Number of penguin species worldwide — 18
  • Number of penguin species vulnerable or endangered — 11, with seven vulnerable and four endangered
African penguin at the Aquarium
  • Estimated African penguin population in 1910 — 1,500,000
  • Estimated African penguin population in 2000 — 200,000
  • Estimated African penguin population in 2010 — 55,000
  • Estimated year African penguins go extinct in the wild — 20??
  • African penguin population at the Aquarium — 48
  • Life expectancy of an African penguin in the wild — 10–20 years
  • Oldest African penguin at the Aquarium — Alfred, 39 years old
Little blue penguin at the Aquarium
  • Height of smallest penguin species — 1 foot, little blue penguins from Australia
  • Height of tallest penguin species — 4 feet, emperor penguins from Antarctica
Little blue penguin chick named Fox, hatched at the Aquarium in 2015
  • Number of penguins hatched at the Aquarium since 1970 — 111
  • Number of penguins sent to other Aquarium for breeding since 2001 — 28

AEWA the African penguin

Now that you're armed with a whole slew of penguin facts, come impress your friends during a visit to the New England Aquarium this week!