I decided to take a virtual visit to the New England Aquarium this weekend. The New England aquarium is located in Boston, Massachusetts. I go to Boston all of the time and yet to visit this aquarium. The aquarium is home to over one thousand marine animals. It consists of a two hundred-thousand-gallon coral reef exhibit. The aquarium offers many camps, school visits, regular visits, volunteer experiences and a chance to host your own event. I decided to virtually check out the aquarium because I love animals. For the longest time I wanted to be a marine biologist,  I enjoy observing marine life. It was very comforting being able to have this “aquarium” like experience from my own bed. I truly felt like I was at the aquarium minus the crowds. One thing that really made this tour interactive was that they answered many questions about their own aquatic species’s life as well as their aquarium in general. I assume this would be a feature they would offer in person.

The Coral Reef Exhibit

After scrolling around the webpage, I decided to visit two of the live cams. The first live cam was of the giant ocean tank. The ocean tank is full of fish, sea turtles, stingrays and  eels. According to their web page it consists of two hundred thousand gallons of water. In my personal opinion I do not believe that fish are all that exciting, but I did manage to see some massive fish (see picture reference below). I also got a glimpse of some sharks. They almost looked as if they were nerf sharks. I was able to catch many stingrays, as they would take up the entire camera at some points. I must say that is probably the closest I will ever get to a stingray (No thank, you!). I spent a while looking for sea turtles until I realized they only bring the turtles out a few times a year. The camera eventually switched angles and brought me over to another view. This angle was much clearer and brighter (I am guessing the lights are off since it is night).  This view allowed me to see two eels’ shimmy across the screen. They were swimming right next to each other, but sadly the screen shot came out fuzzy. Normally, I would never support places that trap animals in closed exhibits but I was pleased to see how wide the tanks were. Every day at 10am and 3pm they dive feed the animals and you can catch it right here on the live cam.

Here is a photo of a stingray in the tank swimming past a school of fish

Here are some very massive fish (it is hard to catch them moving!)

A.m: I logged back on in the morning so I could see what the tank was like in the daytime. This time all of the lights were on so the exhibit was very vibrant and the pictures were much clearer. A sea turtle came up to the webcam and just sat there for a good minute or so (photo below). It was a much better experience being able to see marine life with the lights on. I did enjoy coming here virtually because it let me visit some marine life safely from my home.

This sea turtle sat there for a good minute or so!

A photo of a sword fish and the coral reef

Penguin Exhibit

After visiting the coral reef exhibit, I then head over to watch the African Penguin Colony. I am not going to lie; I must have come at a bad time because the penguins were all sleeping. I watched them for maybe a good thirty minutes, the way they sleep is so strange. They lay on their stomach but with their beaks facing the sky. I assume the lights are off because the footage is in black and white. The camera is currently showing ten penguins. Nine of them are sleeping and one is standing. The penguins are fed twice a day and you are able to watch them on camera. They have feeding times at 9am and 2:30 pm. One thing I found fascinating from this virtual tour is that the aquarium is home to over seventy penguins. The penguins come from two different species the African penguins and Southern Rockhopper Penguins. If you look closely at the penguin’s ankles you will be able to see they have colored tags (I personally could not find the tags), that is how they name the penguins.

The penguins sleeping (notice their funny sleeping position!)

A.m.: The next morning I logged back on to see what their mornings are like. This time the lights were on so you could actually see them. Many of the penguins were conjugating around a big rock in a huddle. In the water you could see many bolt by in a fast paced motion with their winds expanded. One penguin was standing on the rock trying to get the courage to jump into the water. This penguin reminded me of myself when I jump into water. After ten minutes of him rocking back and forth he finally jumped.  I believe they were all waiting for breakfast since I logged on at their feeding time. I highly recommend coming during the day when there is a lot more action.

A photo with the lights on

A photo with the penguins swimming in the water below

Sea Turtles Video

Sadly, they do not have a sea turtle exhibit, however they do have this video of them getting check-ups! I enjoyed watching this video because it walked you through the steps of caring and checking on turtles.

I personally thought that The New England Aquarium did such a fantastic job hosting live web cams. This is something you are able to fully immerse yourself in whether it is watching live cams, learning facts and reading. You are able to take part in this at any time of the day. I recommend exploring these cams during the day so the marine life is more vibrant and the penguins are not sleeping. Even with them sleeping this was such an enjoyable and unique thing to do. This virtual tour was not only interactive but also very informational. I think this would be such a great way for kids to learn whether it is a school that shows this, parents or a babysitter. I am in my twenties and I truly learned a lot from these webcams and this website. The greatest part about this experience is your virtual interaction will never be the same because the live stream will always be different. At the bottom of the webcam, they answer a bunch of questions. Unfortunately, they only have two live cams, but if you decide to go in person, here is a map with all of the exhibits. I hope to visit in person one day and see the sea lions!

For example, one fun fact that I learned that I truly have always wondered was how do they make sure all of the fish and other marine species get fed? Well, Luckily, they answered that for me. A few times a day they have specific divers that go down there with a targeted species and feed them. How cool! I never would have thought about that. I hope you enjoy this virtual experience as much as I did!

This blog post is a virtual experience at the New England Aquarium. This piece was written in past tense after I experienced it. Here you can find skills such a s creativity and hands-on-experience.

Citation links:

Aquarium map- https://www.neaq.org/visit/aquarium-map/

Boston Webpage- https://www.bostonusa.com/

Giant ocean webcam- https://www.neaq.org/visit/at-home-events-and-activities/webcams/giant-ocean-tank-webcam/

Penguin webcam- https://www.neaq.org/visit/at-home-events-and-activities/webcams/penguin-colony-webcam/

Turtle video- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XPtmAOMJAY&feature=youtu.be