The Lew Crew!

Blue or orange, Lew?

Our Jr. Marine Biologist 2 camp is all about experimental design and research projects.

A group of campers were curious to know if Lew, our river otter, has a color preference when it comes to his enrichment toys. 

They  decided to give him two identical football toys to test out and supplemented them with grape tomatoes, which are one  of his favorite snack foods.

Our otter trainer, Vicki, put them in his exhibit on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday for the experimental trials while the campers noted the results.

So which color does Lew prefer? Blue!

 

Check back with our blog or sign up for updates for more looks behind the scenes! In the meantime, you can stay up to date with us from every corner of the web. You’ll find us happily posting, pinning and tweeting away on FacebookTwitterPinterestInstagramGoogle+ and Tumblr.

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Our sea ravens have laid eggs, and they’re starting to hatch!

 

 

If you look closely, you can see some of the fish still inside the eggs. Those little black spots? Those are their eyes!

 

 

Once they hatch, an aquarist will transfer them into the second holding tank. We're holding the eggs behind schooling tank behind the scenes.

 

 

It’s normal for them to lie on their side on the floor of the tank. Swimming expends a lot of energy for the baby fish, and if they move too much, they won’t survive. Here they are all grown up!

We’ll keeping them behind the scenes until they’re big enough and strong enough to go on exhibit.

Check back with our blog or sign up for updates for more looks behind the scenes! In the meantime, you can stay up to date with us from every corner of the web. You’ll find us happily posting, pinning and tweeting away on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+ and Tumblr.

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Take a look inside our most popular camp program: Junior Marine Biologist!

JMB, as we call it around here, runs for five sessions over the summer at the Aquarium.

During JMB 1 and 2, campers enter the inner workings of the Aquarium. Over the course of the week, they maintain a group aquarium with live animals. They monitor the water quality, grow brine shrimp to feed their animals, do dissections and use microscopes to explore the hidden world of Long Island Sound.

Interested in our camp programs? Learn all about them on our website! Continue reading

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Maritime Aquarium President and CEO Jennifer Herring with her husband Fernand Brunschwig.

In December, Jennifer Herring, president and CEO of The Maritime Aquarium, announced she will retire in 2014. She has served in that position for 10 of the Aquarium’s 25-year history and, in that time, has come a wealth of unique experiences and memories.

As a reflection on her many years with the institution, Jennifer has compiled her favorite memories of the Aquarium – 10 memories for 10 years – to share with our visitors and fans. Over the next few months, we’ll share her thoughts on how the Aquarium has changed and grown under her care.

Read Part 1 here. Read Part 2 here. Read Part 3 here.

President and CEO Jennifer Herring:

With only one more year to go before I retire, I am moved to reflect on my best experiences with the organization.  Interestingly, I began learning about the institution with “best experience” stories from staff, volunteers, Trustees and the community in a wonderful strategic-planning process based on the Appreciative Inquiry organizational change theories.  Here are the first two of my 10 “best experience” stories – 10 stories for 10 years on the job.

#7 Thinc-ing Outside the Box

Open Ocean shark tank exhibit.

After the strategic plan was completed, we embarked on a master plan for the exhibits and the facility. We wanted to have the best exhibit design firm help us develop our master plan, and we interviewed many.  Before deciding, a team of senior staff and Trustees went on the road to see their work “in person” and meet with colleagues who had worked with them.  Not surprisingly, this quest led to the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Georgia Aquarium, but it also took us to places like the Mississippi River Museum in Dubuque, Iowa.  We visited eight institutions and were most impressed by the innovative temporary exhibits in a warehouse that Thinc Design had created for the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco.   So we hired them!

#8 Connecting Over the Sea

Long Island Sound.

Meanwhile, I was really enjoying getting to know the people who had founded the Aquarium and who were in a position to help us realize our vision for its future.  One of the most interesting was William Ziegler.  By the time I met him, Bill was in declining health, but his passion for the Sound and his quiet, dry humor were still in evidence.  One of my most moving experiences with him was a visit to his home, shortly before he died.  He was sitting in his bedroom, which had a balcony with a spectacular view of Long Island Sound.  I asked him if I could sing him a song my father had composed – a setting of the John Masefield poem Sea Fever.  He nodded, and then listened deeply as the words of longing for the sea filled the room. When I was finished, he told me this was one of his favorite poems.  He was a passionate sailor and loved the sea.

What is your “best experience” story about the Aquarium?  Share it on our Facebook page!

Check back with our blog or sign up for updates for the next installment of this series. In the meantime, you can stay up to date with us from every corner of the web. You’ll find us happily posting, pinning and tweeting away on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+ and Tumblr.

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It was an exciting weekend for our meerkats! It’s hard to believe that it’s already been five years since the six siblings were born in the Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City, Utah before making their way to The Maritime Aquarium.

 What kind of birthday would it be without some cake? Our Aquarium staff created a special cricket cake for the fiesty little meerkats to enjoy.

Watch them with their birthday-themed enrichment here:

Miss their birthday celebration? You can see what they’re up to right now on our live meerkat webcam.

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So The Maritime Aquarium is coming up on an anniversary. Two, actually.

We turn 26 next month. (On July 16. Yay!) And next week, on Tuesday, we’ll mark the 18th anniversary of being The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk.

Wait. What? We’re turning 26 but the Aquarium is only 18?

To explain: we opened in 1988 with the name The Maritime Center at Norwalk. But, in 1996, a decision was made to change our name to The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk.

Changing one’s name is a big thing for any business; not to be done lightly. We did it for several reasons. First, we primarily are an aquarium and not so much a maritime-history museum, so our name should reflect that. (Plus, more people visit aquariums than they do maritime-history museums, so we definitely wanted to distinguish ourselves as the former.)

Also, at the time, our original name created confusion between us and other regional businesses: a marina in Greenwich and an office building in New Haven, both also named “Maritime Center.”

We tested and polled and surveyed to see what people thought, before deciding to change just one word and to call ourselves The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk. (We adopted our seal logo at the same time as the name change.)

What do you call us? We find that what you call us can indicate how long you’ve lived in the area. It’s not uncommon for folks who have lived in the Norwalk area for 20+ years to still refer to us as The Maritime Center. (We’ve been The Maritime Aquarium more than twice as long as we were The Maritime Center. But change is obviously harder for some than others.) If you’re newer to the area, you probably properly call us The Maritime Aquarium. Then again, recently we found a reference to us in a local newspaper that called us The Maritime Museum. We were never that!

Shakespeare once asked, “What’s in a name?” Romeo and Juliet believed that true love was far more important than the lovers’ last names and family histories. But for businesses, the right name is critical – even more so today in the digital age when “keywords” and “search engine optimizations” can drive success far beyond what a bold-faced listing in the Yellow Pages ever could.

So says The Maritime Aquarium. Maritime Aquarium.

 

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Share your lorikeet photos and win one of eight packs of eight tickets to the Aquarium!

Do you love our colorful lorikeets? Help us capture our last summer with our feathered friends! Post your favorite photos with the lorikeets to Instagram with #TweetKeet for a chance to win an eight-pack of tickets to the Aquarium. The birds, and this contest, take flight on Labor Day weekend, so submit your pictures before Sept., 1. [Official Rules]

How to enter:

1. Set your Instagram profile to public and follow The Maritime Aquarium.
2. Take a photo inspired by our lorikeets and tag with with #TweetKeet.

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Cleaning up the seal habitat after Susie left behind a LOT of fur!

Think your dog sheds a lot? Just take a look how much fur Susie left behind after a morning hauled out on the rocks in her exhibit!

If you see our seals look a bit patchy lately, don’t be alarmed; they’re just molting!

Molting is a process that is import for seals’ thermoregulation — meaning how they maintain a core body temperature during warm and cold weather — once the hot summer months come around.

It isn’t their fur that keeps seals warm, it’s that their bodies secrete oils that protect and insulate their coats. Since they live in a region where they don’t need to keep warm in the winter, they molt to shed their coat in patches.

The harbor seals at The Maritime Aquarium go through the molting process once a year, and it usually occurs after breeding season.  Since our guests can see the physical signs of molting, our animal trainers explain the details and importance of their molt during our daily seal shows.

Molting puts a drain on their energy, so expect the seals to spend a bit more time resting the rocks during while they’re molting. The sun also warms their skins, which aids in the fur falling out. In the wild, seals typically molt  for 1-2 months. At the Aquarium, our seven seals molt from June – September, and it usually only takes a week or two.

Susie hauled out on the rocks showing off some of her bare spots during her molt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Want more from behind the scenes of the Aquarium? Check back with our blog or sign up for updates straight to your inbox. In the meantime, you can stay up to date with us from every corner of the web. You’ll find us happily posting, pinning and tweeting away on FacebookTwitterPinterestInstagramGoogle+ and Tumblr.

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"Is this what I really look like?"

It’s official: Summer is here! And how do we welcome the season here at The Maritime Aquarium? Watermelons, of course.

Our interns were hard at work last week carving summertime and animal-themed watermelons to place into exhibits around the aquarium. Changing up the animals’ habits (like the time we put pumpkins in the meerkat exhibit) by giving them something new to interact with is a fun way to keep them engaged and active.

Not only are enrichments good for the physical health of the animals, they are critical for their mental well-being, too.

If you missed seeing the watermelons in the exhibits last weekend, check out the gallery of photos from the interns and staff below! Continue reading

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By Dave Sigworth, Maritime Aquarium publicist

So imagine that you just got out of high school and you’re given the opportunity to work with someone who pioneered an absolute global change in the way we forever view –or live – our lives on Earth.  Like … to be a Watson working with Alexander Graham Bell. Or to be on the team perfecting rockets with Wernher von Braun.

Or perhaps to bunk on the research vessel Calypso and be a crew member for Jacques Cousteau, the filmmaker who invented SCUBA – or, as Cousteau called it, the aqualung – and who was giving the world its first amazing (and honest) look at life beneath the waves, and thus opening up the science of marine biology and ocean conservation.

Richard Hyman, speaking at The Maritime Aquarium on June 23.

Richard Hyman got to do the Cousteau thing. He shared his cool story at The Maritime Aquarium on Monday evening, in the final event of our 2013-14 lecture series that included the likes of Jeff Corwin, Fabien Cousteau (the grandson of Jacques Cousteau), Dr. Daniel Botkin, and Jack Hanna.

In 1973, just out of Weston High School, Hyman traveled to Los Angeles with his father, Fred, who had come on as a business partner with Cousteau to steady the explorer’s finances.

“He got things in order … as well as you can manage a budget and a business with a bunch of crazy Frenchmen, and I say that in a loving and respectful way,” Hyman said. Continue reading

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