Posts Tagged 'summer'

NEW Summer Morning Hours in Baltimore!

We’re now opening at 8:30 am on weekends, giving YOU the opportunity to get an inside look at what happens as the Aquarium comes to life!

Arriving early is a great way to:

  • Catch an early-morning animal encounter!
  • Avoid the lines!
  • Get an intimate look at our brand new exhibit, Blacktip Reef!
  • Beat the heat!
Calypso green sea turtle

You may even get to see Calypso enjoying her breakfast greens!

Click here to reserve your tickets online today! We hope to see you in the morning! 

Thoughtful Thursdays: Get Out & Explore Nature!

Blog-Header-FamiliesExpertU

This Summer,  National Wildlife Federation’s Be Out There initiative is encouraging families to get outdoors and explore the natural beauty around them!

We all know spending time outside is a lot of fun but did you know it is also great for our bodies and brain development? Since the average 9 – 13 year old child only plays outside 6 percent of their week, it’s even more important than ever to spend time in nature. The benefits are wide-reaching and well documented: playing in nature decreases stress levels, increases creativity, increases focus in school and improves eyesight.

Wow! If the s’mores weren’t motivation enough, those are great reasons to campout with the family this weekend!

When you do camp and explore the outdoors, there are a few simple environmental manners to keep in mind. I find these 7 principles from the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics particularly helpful:

  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
 - Whether it’s your neighborhood trails or a National Park, it’s always best to know the rules when it comes to food, camping equipment, etc.
  2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces 
- When choosing a place to set-up camp or the day’s rest area, keep it to the established trails/site areas. Not only is it in the best interest of your safety, but it ensures that we don’t further disrupt the natural environment you’re enjoying!
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly
 - When you’re ready to leave, ensure that all your products, waste and litter leave with you!
  4. Leave What You Find 
- Avoid taking natural objects and organisms with you. The transport of non-native species and cultural/historic artifacts from their natural habitat can have a lasting, negative impact.
  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
 - Where campfires are permitted, take the precautionary measures to ensure that fires remain small and controlled.
  6. Respect Wildlife - One of the greatest parts of getting outside is being able to experience an abundance of wildlife (sometimes even in your own backyard)! As exciting as those experiences are, it’s important to remember that animals need to be observed from a distance and that feeding animals can be extremely harmful to their health!
  7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors - Let’s make sure that the families coming after us also have a great experience! By following the above principles, we can all ensure that these natural areas can continue to be enjoyed for years to come!

Planning on getting outside and exploring your natural surroundings this weekend? Share your plans/ideas in the comments section! 

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What’s behind the sting?

This weekend marks the start official start of beach season! Every year around this time we start to hear more about jellies because people see them while visiting beaches and swimming in oceans. But unfortunately, the interactions we tend to have with jellies in the ocean are not very pleasant ones.

Recently, a young girl from Australia was the chatter among medical experts around the world for her amazing recovery from a “deadly” jellyfish sting. We all know that jellies have the power to inflict pain to us humans, and have heard that some jellies can even be deadly.  So is her survival of a box jelly sting a miracle?

Box jellies are not a part of the Jellies Invasion exhibit, so our experts don’t have to deal with them on a daily basis. But when asked, Aquarist Vicky Poole said, “As this is a creature with one of the most toxic venoms in the world, I’d say it was a miracle.”

The odds of surviving a severe box jelly envenomation is extremely rare. Box jelly stings have a 20% mortality rate, which includes both severe and mild cases, but the extent of the sting, covering her entire leg, is what makes her survival such a surprise for her doctors.

So what’s behind the sting? Jellies are animals without brains (or hearts, for that matter), so there is no “decision” about stinging. They indiscriminately will sting anything they happen to bump into – prey (for food) or predator (for defense). Vicky reminds us that it’s really their survival strategy…sting first and ask no questions later!

What happens when a jelly stings? Their tentacles have tiny microscopic stinging cells called “nematocysts” that look like fishing harpoons with barbs that penetrate our skin, and then stay in place while the venom is injected into the body of the victim. There is often pain at the site, and usually you’ll notice localized swelling or welts due to the skin’s reaction to the toxins. Depending on the species of jelly, the body’s reaction will vary in severity, and some people have a more severe reaction than others. In extremely toxic species, severe reactions may involve difficulty breathing, coma, or even death.

Let’s bust some myths – can anything really treat a sting? Although weak acids (like vinegar) and very hot water have been reportedly used to neutralize jelly stings, your body will still react to the venom in your system so pain management is needed. And if you’re in areas where dangerous species of jellies exist, Vicki suggests that you seek medical attention immediately. After all, she’s no doctor, just a humble jelly aquarist!

Even though these brainless, heartless creatures instill fear among beach-goers around the world, they are truly fascinating creatures that are an important part of our marine ecosystem. This summer before you hit the beach, we invite you learn more about jellies. You can start by exploring the Jellies Invasion: Oceans Out of Balance website!


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