Posts Tagged 'aquarium'



Visit the Newly Redesigned Aqua.org!

We are thrilled to share a very special announcement with you: we’ve launched the redesigned Aqua.org! The new website is now home for both National Aquarium, Baltimore, MD, and Washington, D.C., provides more intuitive navigation, easy-to-access ticketing, tons of beautiful photography, event calendars, and up-to-the-minute news and intriguing facts about our animals!

Please take a look! We have added some really great features we think our community will enjoy! Take some time to explore the site (and believe us, there’s a lot to explore!). Starting with the homepage, we’ve made the site more beautiful with amazing images of our animals as well as interesting facts!

Our new Animals page gives you the opportunity to explore more of our animal collection in new and different ways. You can search by venue, color, geography, exhibit, and more!

Then, once you get to a specific animal page, you can explore even further! Each animal has various photos, facts, and sometimes videos. Plus many have a note from the animal’s Aquarium caretaker!

We also want to highlight the new Trip Planner functionality–you can plan your trip from almost EVERY PAGE! When you click the “Add to Trip Planner” button throughout the website, your choices will be compiled into a full itinerary that is easy to read and organize. Plus, it’s easy to print or e-mail in preparation for your visit!

There are TONS of other new features! Please visit and roam around. We hope you’ll enjoy it!

Please take a look and let us know what you think! AQUA.ORG 

The bubbles are back!

What is it about the bubble tubes that makes people smile? Why is it that every child who enters the Aquarium’s lobby runs to give them a hug?

Whatever the reason, this simply designed exhibit holds a fascinating, almost whimsical ingredient for success.

Millions of visitors have come to recognize the bubble tubes as one of the most familiar and iconic features at the Aquarium. After 30 years, the bubble tubes were showing their age, so we replaced them and made the lights more energy-efficient at the same time. 

Check out this video about the renovation:

Of course, this being the National Aquarium, we didn’t just throw the old tubes away! They were donated to a nonprofit animal sanctuary, where they’re being turned into enrichment items for the animals!

With the newly completed renovations, these lobby staples are brighter, clearer, and bluer (and “greener,” thanks to the new energy-efficient LED lighting). They continue to be a reminder that in our realistically simulated world there is indeed magic in water…and bubbles.
Bubble Tubes

New parents for a shark

The new school year has just begun, and this first-grade class has already done something amazing: they raised the money to adopt a shark from the Aquarium!

From Mrs. Detter, the teacher:

“While reading a book about endangered animals, the children expressed their interest in adopting an animal from a nearby zoo or aquarium. After many voting sessions, the children decided to adopt a shark from the National Aquarium. To make this possible, we need to raise $50.”

Tracking money raised

This is how we are tracking our progress.

It didn’t take these dedicated first-graders long to raise the money needed to submit their adoption papers.

We did it!

WE DID IT!!!

Congratulations, Mrs. Detter’s class! You should be receiving your Aquadopt package before long. We hope you come visit “your” adopted shark sometime soon! All the information you need for planning a great field trip is at aqua.org/teachers. In the meantime, here are some fun shark facts for you:

  •  Baby sharks are called pups.
  • The sand tiger shark adjusts its buoyancy by burping—gulping and expelling air at the surface. This allows the shark to hover nearly motionless in the water.
  • The largest fish in the world is the whale shark, which can grow up to 41 feet long. And whale sharks have no teeth!
  • Sharks have no bones at all. Their skeletons are made of cartilage. Feel your ears and the end of your nose. Notice how they’re kind of squishy, not bony? That’s cartilage!
  • Any of you have a loose tooth? A shark may lose up to 1,000 teeth a year, or 30,000 teeth in a lifetime! Shark teeth are constantly replaced as they wear or break. The inside of a shark’s jaw has five to 15 rows of teeth that usually lie flat until the tooth in front of it falls out. When a tooth is lost, another rotates forward to replace it, usually within 24 to 48 hours. The process of tooth replacement in sharks is very similar to the movement of a conveyor belt or the steps on an escalator.
Sand Tiger Shark

Look at those rows of teeth!

  • The skin of a shark is covered in tiny scales or skin teeth called dermal denticles. These skin teeth point toward a shark’s tail, so a shark feels smooth if touched from head to tail but feels like sandpaper if felt from tail to head.
  • There are approximately 400 species of sharks in the world. At the National Aquarium, we have eight different species, including bonnethead sharks, nurse sharks, zebra sharks, sawtooth sharks, and sand tiger sharks.
Bonnethead

Bonnethead shark

A salute to Jimmy & Teddy

This Presidents’ Day, join us in celebrating our two heads of state that are now residing in the Gray’s Reef exhibit at our Washington, DC, venue. Two adorable baby loggerhead sea turtles, named Jimmy and Teddy, came to their new temporary home in the nation’s capital from the North Carolina Aquarium, which is leading an effort to help rebuild sea turtle populations.

Jimmy and Teddy

The two turtles are named after presidents Jimmy Carter and Teddy Roosevelt. Roosevelt was well known for his conservation role while president; he greatly expanded the National Parks System. The National Aquarium’s freshwater gallery represents many of our National Parks today. Similarly, President Jimmy Carter designated Gray’s Reef, in the southeastern United States, as a National Marine Sanctuary. A Gray’s Reef exhibit is also represented at the Aquarium, and is the current home for the loggerheads.

Sea turtles have a challenging life. Weighing just 20 grams at birth, they face many natural predators both on the sandy beaches where they are hatched and in the oceans where they will dwell when they get older. Loggerheads were once actively hunted for their eggs and meat, and still are in some places of the world. Because of their low survival rate, they have been classified as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.

In order to help save these magnificent animals from extinction, we participate in the North Carolina Aquarium’s program that gives baby sea turtles a better chance at survival. Through this program, sea turtle hatchlings spend time in aquariums where they can safely grow. Once they are given a clean bill of health and an extra boost of nutrition, they are released back to the ocean.

The turtles were hatched on September 1 in North Carolina, and were brought to the Aquarium in mid-November. They have already tripled their weight since they arrived! The turtles now weigh more than 350 grams each. It is estimated that they will weigh around 1,500 grams (a little over 3 pounds) by fall when they will be returned to North Carolina for release into the ocean. Eventually, these turtles could weigh up to 200 pounds!

Under the Aquarium’s care, the turtles are measured monthly and will undergo exams with X-rays and blood work at 6 months old and 1 year old. The staff is also monitoring their calcium levels to ensure healthy shell growth. They are pole fed by the staff, who have noticed that the turtles love to steal food from the fish. They are very quick and love diving to the bottom to pick up leftovers that the fish don’t eat.

Next time you are visiting Washington, DC, stop in to see our adorable heads of state, and salute two presidents who contributed so much to the conservation of some of the most precious habitats our great country has to offer!

Counting dolphins

It’s the annual dolphin count! Tomorrow, July 16, members of the National Aquarium’s Marine Animal Rescue Program will be along the coast of Ocean City, Maryland, counting dolphins. Staff and volunteers will spend a few hours on the beach watching the water for passing dolphins and filling out data sheets.  Teams will be stationed on the beaches at 40th Street and 130th Street and at Assateague State Park. There will also be a vessel-based team aboard an Ocean City Coast Guard boat.

Why are we counting dolphins? Annual dolphin counts help marine mammal specialists gather long-term information about dolphin populations, reproduction rates and ocean health. We have learned that bottlenose dolphins use Maryland waters as a thoroughfare for migration, summertime breeding and feeding along the way.  Looking at population numbers over the years can help to determine the health of the coastal ecosystem, as well as the abundance of prey. With your help, we will continue to gather and analyze this information and learn more about the state of our waters and the dolphin populations that are found off our coast.

There are two ways to join in the fun: 1. Find us on the beach! If you are in the Ocean City area tomorrow from 9 a.m. to noon, look for our Aquarium teams in blue at 40th Street and 130th Street. Bring your binoculars and help us count dolphins. 2. Enter our dolphin count contest! Think you know how many dolphins we will spot tomorrow? Text “count” and your guess to 30644 and you could win a pair of tickets to the Aquarium. (Msg and data rates apply.) The contest will end at 1 p.m. ET on Friday. The official count and winners will be announced here, so please check back.

Good luck and happy counting!


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