Posts Tagged 'halloween'

Happy Halloween from the National Aquarium!

From underwater pumpkin carving to themed enrichment (and snacks!), Halloween was celebrated to the fullest throughout the Aquarium today!

Here’s a re-cap of some of today’s activities:

Halloween-themed enrichment

Pumpkin carving in Blacktip Reef

In partnership with Discovery and Animal Planet L!VE, we broadcast our first-EVER underwater pumpkin carving from Blacktip Reef online via our Shark Cam! Didn’t get a chance to tune in live? Watch the carving here:

We hope everyone is having a safe and fun Halloween! 

Animal Health Update: Bat Procedure Going Spook-tacularly Well!

national aquarium animal expert update

Common images evoked during this spooky time of year include pumpkins, black cats, and – of course – bats!

national aquarium flying fox

The species of bats native to North America are small, quick flying, highly maneuverable and typically eat insects. These are the types of bats the use echolocation to hunt their food and are the ones generally portrayed in these spooky images.

However, in many other parts of the world, bat species are large, slow-flying frugivores (fruit-eaters). These bats do not use echolocation to find food. And these are the types of bats we have here at the Aquarium. We have grey-headed flying foxes (so called because of their triangular, fox-like faces). This is the largest bat species in Australia. They can weigh up to 2 pounds and have wing spans that are as wide as 3 feet.

We are currently treating one of the bats for a small abscess on his face. Right now keepers are “hot-packing” it daily and it’s definitely improving.

national aquarium bat procedure

To positively reinforce him for staying still while they apply the hot-pack, my team provides him juice or a bit of baby food. This type of reinforcement training is integral to our care of the animals.

Did you know that you can train your pets to voluntarily participate in their care (such as nail trimming, vaccines, blood draws) and even look forward to it? I’d love to have you share your stories about what husbandry behaviors you and your pets are doing.

Blog-Header-LeighClayton

Come in First With These Last-Minute Halloween Tips!

national aquarium family expert update

It’s just days before one of my all-time favorite holidays, Halloween!

Still not sure what your costume is, how to decorate your place or how you’re going to drag home all that candy? Not to worry. Before you hit the big Halloween stores (and crowds), you may want to consider some of these less expensive, eco-friendly options:

  • Thrift Store Treasures - Avoid the plastics, vinyl (PVC) and even lead that can be found in store-bought Halloween costumes by searching the racks of your nearby thrift store or closet. When I asked my 4-year-old what he liked about making his own costume he replied, “Because if I had a store costume, it would be just regular. If I made my own, it would be crazy and silly!” Hard to argue with that!
  • Re-Use and Re-Imagine - Scouring through your recycling bin may lead to some truly creative costume ideas. Re-used cardboard boxes could become a fire truck or train (held up by suspenders),  a robot, popcorn box, or hot air balloon basket. Plastic milk jugs might be transformed into fairy wings, a princess tiara, turtle shell or even a Frankenstein forehead!

    DIY mantis shrimp costume

    For those of you who like a challenge, check out this peacock mantis shrimp costume one of our educators made from recycled & thrifty materials!

  • Ditch the Disposables - Hosting a spooktacular Halloween party? Deck out your house in these fun and easy DIY decorations! When it comes time for trick-or-treating, forgo purchasing those plastic pumpkins and carry your candy in a pillowcase/reusable grocery bag!
  • Don’t Fill the Landfill - When all the parties have passed and your belly is full of candy, hold on to that costume and don’t toss it out with the trash. Next year, you could be the hero of your neighborhood by hosting a “costume swap” where everyone brings their old costumes and trades for a new one.

Hope everyone has a safe, planet-friendly (and most importantly FUN!) Halloween! 

Blog-Header-HeatherDoggett

Green Your Halloween With These Fun DIY Crafts!

On Saturday, October 26, and Sunday, October 27, National Aquarium will be celebrating Hallowmarine!

In addition to fun activities like a scare-venger hunt (see what we did there?) and creepy-crawly animal encounters taking place throughout the Aquarium, our celebration will also include some eco-friendly DIY crafts!

Can’t wait until this weekend to make some fun Halloween crafts? Try some of our favorites at home!

T-shirt Tote

Supplies:

  • An old t-shirt
  • Scissors
  • Peel ‘n’ stick fabric adhesive
  • Paint
  • Glitter

Directions:

  1. Lay your t-shirt down on a flat surface. Using the seams as your guide, cut off the sleeves and neck of the t-shirt.
  2. Place a long strip of fabric adhesive along the bottom seam of the shirt’s back.
  3. Using your fingers, seal the front and back of the shirt.
  4. On the front of your sealed shirt, use the paint and glitter to create whatever spook-tacular design your heart desires! Our team went for the classic jack-o-lantern look!national aquarium hallowmarine DIY

Ghost Luminary

Supplies:

  • An old mason jar
  • Glue or decoupage
  • Paint brush
  • Tissue paper
  • Black permanent marker
  • Tea candle or LED candle

Directions: 

  1. First, it’s important to make sure that the glass of your mason jar is clear of any paper or plastic coverings.
  2. Either rip or cut small strips of tissue paper. Set aside.
  3. Using your paintbrush, apply a thin layer of glue or decoupage to your jar.national aquarium hallowmarine DIY
  4. Apply your strips of tissue paper until your jar is evenly covered.
  5. Set your covered jar aside to dry.
  6. Once completely dry, use your permanent markers to draw a ghost face!

Do you have a favorite eco-friendly Halloween craft? Share it with us in the comments! 

Thoughtful Thursdays: Green DIY Halloween Decor

In the spirit of this upcoming weekend full of Hallowmarine fun, we’re sharing some of our team’s favorite eco-friendly, decoration ideas! Not only are these decorations a great way to use recyclable materials, they are also more cost-effective than buying traditional decorations AND the steps are simple, making this a great project for families to do together!

Floating Ghost

Materials:

  • cheesecloth or old fabric cut into a 12″ x 12″ square
  • an old tree ornament (preferably a clear globe)
  • string
  • a glow stick (optional)**
  • a permanent marker

Directions:

1. Draw two large oval eyes on the ornament with permanent marker.

2. If using a glowstick, activate it and place it inside the ornament. We used a shorter, thicker glow stick like this one, but the thinner variety work as well!

3. Cover the lit ornament with your fabric, if you are using an old sheet, make sure it has a small hole cut in the center of the square to fasten the string to the ornament.

4. Attach string to the ornament’s top hook and hang your ghost! These make great outdoor ornaments for trees and look great on banisters or doorways.

**Stick your activated glow sticks in the freezer to keep them glowing longer! 

Box Mummies

Materials:

  • a cracker or cereal box**
  • old white fabric such as sheets or pillowcases
  • googly eyes or eyes drawn onto scrap paper
  • tape and/or hot glue

Directions:

1. Tear the fabric into strips approximately three inches wide

2. Wrap the strips around the box, securing with tape or tying them together (as seen above), until the entire box is completely covered!

3.  Attach the eyes to the top half of your box mummy!

**If you use an empty box, you’ll want to put something in the bottom as a weight so your mummies don’t tip over!

Milk Gallon Ghost

Materials:

  • Plastic milk jugs (washed out)
  • Scissors
  • Permanent Marker
  • A glowstick (optional)

Directions:

1. Make sure your gallon is washed out and completely dry

2. Cut off the top of the milk jug, making an approximate six inch hole

3. Draw a ghoulish face on the front facet of the milk jug, opposite sides of the handle

4. Activate the glow stick and drop it in!

Join us this weekend for more exciting crafting at our Hallowmarine events in DC and Baltimore!  


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