Posts Tagged 'Australia Day'

Aussie Week: Make Your Own Didgeridoo!

national aquarium australia day

Every year on January 26, Aussies around the world celebrate Australia Day! This national holiday marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the first fleet of British ships to Sydney Cove. 

In addition to our annual event in Animal Planet Australia: Wild Extremes this Sunday, we’ll be celebrating Australia Day with special posts on WATERblog all week long! 

Day Three: DIY Didgeridoo

The didgeridoo is a wind instrument first created by the aborigines of Northern Australia over 1,500 years ago.  Didgeridoos are still an important part of cultural celebrations in modern-day Australia and have gained popularity in many other parts of the world!

didgeridoo player

Didgeridoo player (Image via Wikipedia Commons).

This Sunday, a didgeridoo player will be on-site during our Australia Day celebration to delight guests with some authentic tunes. Folks will also be able to make their own didgeridoo out of recycled materials!

For those of you who won’t be able to join us on Sunday, here’s how YOU can make your own didgeridoo!

Materials:

  • Paper towel rolls
  • Pencils
  • Markers and/or crayons

Directions:

  1. Using a pencil, trace a design or pattern on your paper towel roll.
  2. Use your markers and/or crayons to fill in your design.
  3. Have fun practicing different sounds on your new didgeridoo!

DIY didgeridoo

Stay tuned for more Australia Week posts and join the conversation online using #AussieWeek!

Aussie Week: A National Symbol Is So Cute, It’s Laughable

national aquarium australia day

Every year on January 26, Aussies around the world celebrate Australia Day! This national holiday marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the first fleet of British ships to Sydney Cove. 

In addition to our annual event in Animal Planet Australia: Wild Extremes this Sunday, we’ll be celebrating Australia Day with special posts on WATERblog all week long! 

Day Two: Meet the Laughing Kookaburra

The laughing kookaburra is Australia’s national symbol. One of four known species of kookaburra, it is the only species that is recognized for its laugh-like call. Laughing kookaburras make a variety of call sounds, which are used for everything from courtship to marking territory.

national aquarium laughing kookaburra

FUN FACT: The call of the kookaburra is commonly used in movies to imitate the sound of monkeys in a jungle!

The kookaburra is a brown-colored bird, about the size of a crow, easily recognized by its very large bill. Males can be distinguished from females by the blue hues on their wing feathers and the darker blue on their tail feathers. Females have a small bit of blue on their wing feathers, but no blue on their tail feathers.

national aquarium laughing kookaburra

Laughing kookaburras are found throughout the eucalyptus forests of eastern Australia, the southwest corner of Western Australia, Tasmania, Flinders Island and Kangaroo Island.

These birds are the largest members of the kingfisher family. Contrary to what their family name suggests, laughing kookaburras rarely eat fish! Instead, they prefer to feed on insects, frogs, birds, rodents and reptiles.

The laughing kookaburra has been the subject of many Aboriginal legends over the years. Many tribes believed that the bird’s early morning call was a signal to the sky gods to once again illuminate and warm the Earth.

Stay tuned for more Australia Week posts and join the conversation online using #AussieWeek!

Take a (Virtual) Trip Down Under and Celebrate Australia Week With Us!

national aquarium australia day

Every year on January 26, Aussies around the world celebrate Australia Day! This national holiday marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the first fleet of British ships to Sydney Cove. 

In addition to our annual event in Animal Planet Australia: Wild Extremes this Sunday, we’ll be celebrating Australia Day with special posts on WATERblog all week long.

Day One: Australia’s Majesty

Situated between the Indian and Pacific oceans, the continent of Australia is roughly 3 million square miles in size. Its six different climatic zones give Australia a wide variety of habitats.

From the Great Barrier Reef to the Outback, Australia is home to more than 5,700 different animal species…a staggering number when you consider how much of the island continent remains unexplored.

Here are just a few of the Aussie species you can see at the Aquarium: 

Did you know? Seventeen of the world’s 26 most venomous snake species live in Australia. Check out this list of the country’s 30 deadliest animals.

national aquarium death adder

Death adders inject, on average, 40–100 mg of highly toxic venom in each bite.

Australia is also home to the world’s largest living structure, the Great Barrier Reef, which is 1,500 miles in length. Comprised of over 3,000 individual reef systems, the Great Barrier Reef hosts thousands of species of fish, mollusks, sharks, marine mammals and sea turtles.

national aquarium clownfish

It is the world’s largest marine sanctuary and just one of the countless biodiverse natural wonders Australia has to offer.

Stay tuned for more Australia Week posts and join the conversation online using #AussieWeek!

Make Your Own Boomerang Out of Recycled Materials!

Australia Day is a major holiday in Australia – a special day to honor the country’s rich cultural history and lush environment! You don’t have to live down under to participate, though. In fact, you can be right here in Maryland!

Our annual Australia Day celebration at the National Aquarium is TOMORROW!

Can’t wait until tomorrow? Here’s a sneak peek at one of the fun activities we have planned for the event!

DIY Boomerang

DIY Craft: Recycled Boomerang

Materials:

  • Cereal boxes/any rectangular pieces of cardboard
  • Boomerang stencil
  • Scissors
  • Permanent markers

Instructions (makes four boomerangs): 

  1. Print the boomerang stencil.
  2. Cut out the boomerang shape.
  3. Cut out the front and back sides of the cereal box and lay them down on a flat surface.
  4. Trace the boomerang shape twice onto each panel.
  5. Cut the boomerang shapes out and decorate them with permanent markers!
  6. To fly your boomerangs: grasp one of the blades between your thumb and index finger and use a sidearm motion. Applying more spin to the boomerang will cause it to fly longer and make a more complete arc when it returns.

Don’t forget to join us tomorrow in Baltimore for Australia Day! Our celebration includes fun activities, animal encounters and much more!

Thoughtful Thursdays: Conserving Australia’s Natural Wonders

In honor of our upcoming Australia Day celebration, today’s Thoughtful Thursday highlights the issues facing Australia’s fragile marine ecosystems.  

“Grief for the Reef” 

Possibly the most iconic coral reef in the world, the Great Barrier Reef, is home to close to 6,000 different species of marine life. Since becoming a protected marine park in 1975, researchers have closely monitored the effects pollution, overfishing and ocean acidification have on the overall health of the reef and its inhabitants.

Thanks to "Finding Nemo" the Great Barrier Reef and species like the percula clownfish have become loved by many!

Thanks to “Finding Nemo” the Great Barrier Reef and
species like the clownfish have become treasured
icons for coral reef ecosystems!

Although it has been historically well-protected (due in part to its global popularity), the reef has still been devastated by these effects. In the last 27 years, the Great Barrier Reef has lost 50 percent of its coral.

Without immediate action to curb pollution and activities that contribute to climate change, the reef’s future is grim.

Ocean acidification has caused coral bleaching on parts of the reef. Photo via CS Monitor

Ocean acidification has caused coral bleaching on parts of the reef. Photo via CS Monitor

Here’s what you can do to help save our coral reefs worldwide: 

  • Use less water. The less water you use, the less runoff and waste will pollute our oceans.
  • Walk, bike or ride the bus. Fossil fuel emissions from cars and industry raise lead to ocean warming which causes mass-bleaching of corals and can lead to widespread destruction of reefs.
  • Practice safe and responsible diving and snorkeling. Do not touch the reef or anchor your boat on the reef. Contact with the coral will damage the delicate coral animals, and anchoring on the reef can kill it, so look for sandy bottom or use moorings if available.
  • Learn more about National Aquarium’s conservation initiatives to save coral reefs.

Happy Australia Day!

January 26 is Australia Day, the official national day of Australia. While our friends across the Pacific participate in celebrations to commemorate the history of their great country, we want to remind the citizens of Baltimore that we too can toot our Aussie pride!

We have a slice of Australia right here in Baltimore. In December we celebrated the 5th anniversary of the opening of Animal Planet Australia: Wild Extremes. Five years later, life is thriving inside our glass pavilion! Our exhibit is home to over 1,800 native Australian animals, including freshwater crocodiles, turtles, fishes,  free flying birds and flying foxes.

If you’ve been to the exhibit, you may not have seen all of these animals. That’s because they are truly immersed into the habitat, which is made up of seven watery exhibits at floor level, and tall rocky gorges and trees that reach 120 feet at the highest point. That’s where you’ll the flying foxes hanging around.

There are some truly amazing Australian animals that call Baltimore home. We have Australian turtles that breathe underwater &  fish that breathe air! And did you know that an archerfish eat insects?  Their mouths have special adaptations that help them shoot streams of water several feet above the surface to knock insects from branches overhead. Our exhibit guides hold live feeding demonstrations every day!

If you come early enough, you may here the laughing kookaburra’s early morning calls, which gave it the nickname, “bushman’s alarm clock.” The bizarre looking pig-nosed turtles are fan favorite! Although images of these turtles are found in Aboriginal artwork, modern  science had been unable to find these strange-looking animals until the 1970s when a fisherman accidentally reeled one in!

There is plenty to see and learn inside of our exhibit. So if you’re yearning to get a glimpse of summer down under, then take a trip to the Aquarium this winter. No flight necessary! With temperatures reaching 80 degrees, it’s always summer in our Australia exhibit!

National Australia Day at the Aquarium!

Today is Australia Day, also known as Anniversary Day and Foundation Day, the official national day of Australia. aus-northernterCelebrated annually on 26 January, the day commemorates the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788, the unfurling of the British flag at Sydney Cove and the proclamation of British sovereignty over the eastern seaboard of Australia. This day of celebration is very similar to America’s 4th of July. The National Aquarium celebrated with visitors in the Animal Planet Australia: Wild Extremes exhibit  this past weekend. Let’s take a look at a very special Australian animal that is now featured in the exhibit:

Irwin’s Turtle:

Irwin’s turtle was discovered by Steve Irwin and his father Bob on a camping trip in 1990. Because the turtle was new to them, it was photographed and sent to a turtle expert. After Steve Irwin’s death, the expert, John Cann, determined that the animal was indeed a new species. It was subsequently named Elseya irwini, with the common name, Irwin’s turtle. Ecologist Dr. Ivan Lawler suggests that the species, known only from the Burdekin and Bowen rivers in Australia, may be endangered or close to it. Lawler’s “best guess” is that there are only 4,000 to 5,000 in the wild.

Continue reading ‘National Australia Day at the Aquarium!’


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