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At-Home Activities

Let’s have some science-related fun while we’re social distancing!

Tune in every day to the Aquarium’s facebook page to step behind-the-scenes and see how we take care of the animals at the Aquarium!

Each day will be accompanied by an activity you can do from home.

Tuesday, March 17: Keeping Clean in the Commissary

Wednesday, March 18: The World of Water Testing

As part of the standard care of our animals, Aquarium staff test the water our animals live in. These tests help us to ensure that the exhibit conditions are optimum for the animals to live and thrive.

Depending on the exhibit and animals present, we may test the water every few days, every day, or several times per day. Some of the most important tests we run are for temperature, salinity, and pH.

Thursday, March 19: Jellies, Jellies, and more Jellies

After seeing how we breed jellies, you may be a little confused about how the jelly life cycle works. It is more complex than most animals, which can be surprising considering jellies have rather simple bodies.

Friday, March 20: Making Our Exhibits Sparkle

When creating an exhibit at the Aquarium of Niagara, there are many things to consider before the animals go on display. The first step is to come up with a theme, and think about what we want our guests to learn from seeing our exhibit. Do we want to connect them to places far away or show them the ecosystems in their own backyard? Do we want them to learn about endangered species? Or how we impact our aquatic ecosystems? Once we figure out what we want our exhibit to say, we can then plan on what it is going to look like and what animals will be included.

Sunday, March 22: Enrichment — More Than Entertainment

Enrichment is an essential part of life for animals and people!

Our zoological staff work very hard to ensure all our animals at the aquarium are stimulated throughout the day. For this, our staff adds enrichment to their exhibit as part of their routine care. Depending on the animal, this can range from a couple times per week to multiple times each day. Enrichment helps to satisfy both the physical and psychological needs of an animal and allows them to make choices. It also brings out an animal’s natural behaviors and allows them to be more active and increase the animal’s control over their environment!

Monday, March 23: Penguins Can Paint!

Painting is colorful and safe fun for our penguin colony!

Tuesday, March 24: Animals, Quarantine, and You

When a new animal comes to the Aquarium of Niagara or if an animal gets sick, they must go into quarantine. This is probably familiar as we are all experiencing quarantine in different ways right now.

Wednesday, March 25: Sea Lions Show Off Their Skills

Sea lions have some brilliant behaviors!

Wow! Aren’t our sea lions amazing!? During that show they showed off their intelligence, athleticism and trust in their trainers.

Thursday, March 26: SCUBA, Swim Bladders & Buoyancy

Buoyancy is important for fish and scuba divers.

Friday, March 27: Creating A Home For Sharks & Rays

As you can see from the video — a lot goes in to creating a habitat that’s suitable for sharks and sting rays, especially one that’s indoors!

Saturday, March 28: Animals Need Vitamins Too!

Balanced diets and vitamin supplements ensure our animals are healthy.

Our animal care team oversees making sure all our animals at the Aquarium of Niagara stay healthy. Along with checking water quality and cleaning the spaces they live in, feeding them proper nutrition is one of the most important duties we have.

Sunday, March 29: So Think You’d Like To Be An Animal Trainer?

Working with animals sounds like a lot of fun, but it takes a lot of dedication and training!

Monday, March 30: Mia Walks About the Aquarium

California sea lions like Mia have special adaptations that allow them to move, or “walk” on land.

Tuesday, March 31: Lake Sturgeon — Saving a Species

The Aquarium of Niagara teams up with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to rear fingerling lake sturgeon before releasing them, with thousands of others, into the Genesee River every year.

Wednesday, April 1: Meet Our Electric Eel & Other Species From The Amazon

The Amazon is home to some fascinating wildlife, including colorful fish, poison dart frogs, and the electric eel!

Thursday, April 2: Sea Lions Can Paint, Too!

Our marine mammal trainers work with our sea lions to put natural behaviors to cues. Training is enriching for the animals and allows them to participate in their own care, show off their personalities, and stay mentally stimulated.

Friday, April 3: Hungry Humboldt Penguins

Humboldt penguins typically eat 10-14% of their body weight in fish each day! At the Aquarium, penguins eat four different types of fish, and our keepers work hard to make sure every penguin gets the perfect combination based on their individual weights and needs.

Saturday, April 4: Shark Feeding

At the Aquarium we feed our sharks three times a week, using a technique called “target feeding.” Our White Spotted Bamboo Sharks are trained to associate a target at the end of a long pole with food! When they respond to the target, our aquarist uses a whistle to reward the behavior. Our Black Tipped Reef Sharks are trained to take food directly from a pole.

Sunday, April 5: Animal Husbandry Training

Do you remember the first time your teeth were brushed? The first time you visited the doctor or dentist? The first time your mouth, ears, and eyes were checked? The first time you had blood taken? You may or may not, but there is a good chance that first time was a little uncomfortable, strange, and maybe scary for you.

Monday, April 6: Meet Our Bonnetheads!

Bonnethead sharks are one species in a group of sharks easily identified by their unique head shapes – hammerhead sharks, also known as sphyrnid sharks. There are 8 species of sphyrnid sharks found around the world, each one with slight variations.

Tuesday, April 7: Sounding Off About Spotted Turtles


Wednesday, April 8: Citizen Science With Our Sea Lions

This sea lion show was brought to you by science!

Science is an intrinsic part of our world. The movie that you watch, the paint on your walls, the food in your fridge, and even why you are staying home right now have all been brought to you by science. It is easy to overlook the work done to bring us all the parts of our life, but we would not be where we are without the scientific efforts made in the background.

Our sea lion shows are like this. They are examples of animal behavior, psychology, biology, and chemistry presented in a way that may seem like simple entertainment to the viewer. There is a lot of work done by our zoological staff, the teachers and mentors they learned from, and the scientists that have studied this species for decades

Thursday, April 9: Working With Animals in the Water

For our rescued seals and sea lions, the water is their domain. That means our trainers must have a special and strong bond with our animals before getting into the water with them. Just like behaviors on land, water work takes step-by-step training, time, and lots of positive reinforcement.

The sea lion pool at the Aquarium of Niagara is only 67 degrees! Our trainers wear wetsuits to protect them from the cold water, but our seals and sea lions have natural insulation in the blubber layer.

Friday, April 10: Invertebrates Are All Around Us!

The animals in our touch tanks are all invertebrates, meaning they do not have backbones. They may seem strange, but invertebrates make up the majority of animals on Earth – at least 95%! Knowing this, you can not only find invertebrates in oceans, but on land and in the air.

April 11, 2020: Meet Della The Grey Seal!

All the seals at the Aquarium of Niagara are rescued animals. They started life in the ocean, but were found injured or unhealthy. They went through rehabilitation and regained their health, but something prevented them from returning to their natural environment.

There are various reasons that a seal would not be able to return to the ocean. Amputations, not eating live food, or loss of sight are all reasons that our seals needed a new home. Our trainers have worked hard to ensure the seals are healthy and comfortable, no matter what accommodations are needed. We are proud to be their forever home!

Meet our rescued marine mammals.

Sunday, April 12: SEAster Egg Hunt!

  1. Download this Official SEAster Egg Hunt form.
  2. Watch the Facebook Live video in this post.
  3. Watch as we take you on a virtual tour of our first floor exhibits, and look for the Easter eggs hidden inside!
  4. Count the Easter eggs in each exhibit while learning about the fascinating species that live there.

Monday, April 13, 2020: Training Our Penguins To Assist In Their Own Care

Caring for penguins requires a lot of work!

Besides feeding and cleaning, one of the additional duties our staff perform are regular weigh-ins for each of the birds in the colony.

There are several reasons this is important for maintaining their health- ensure proper diet consumption, understand changes in their life cycle, and detect any health issues that may arise.

Tuesday, April 14: Jellyfish – Going With The Flow

Adult jellies are gentle and elegant swimmers, with fragile bodies that can be easily damaged. Caring for them requires a different kind of exhibit without any corners where they could become stuck or strong currents that may injure their tissues.

Wednesday, April 15: Measuring Our Animals

Measuring Animals One of the most common questions asked about animals is “how big do they get?” Answering this question is not as easy as you may think.

Thursday, April 16: All About Our Octopus

Octopus and their cephalopod relatives are masters of disguise. They have some of the most complex forms of camouflage, or ability to blend in.

Friday, April 17: Diving The Shark Tank – Why Sharks Are Misunderstood

Diving with sharks may cause some people to think twice about getting in the water. However, as you saw in the video, there is not much to be concerned about.

Saturday, April 18: The Fascinating Adaptations and Communication Skills of the California Sea Lion

Sea Lions are very social animals! They communicate by both vocalizations and with body postures, and their adaptations, including their strong rotating hind flippers, play key roles in that physical communication.

Sunday, April 19: Clownfish & Anemones — A Special Relationship

All animals are in a relationship of some sort, but we usually focus on the one-sided versions found in food chains or food webs: plants eaten by herbivores, herbivores eaten by carnivores, etc. However, these do not define all the relationships we see in the natural world.

Monday, April 20: We’re Crazy About Coral!

Coral are complex animals.

There are at least 800 different species of corals that we know of in the ocean, but there could easily be more. Each one has a unique growth structure to their calcium skeleton, but their basic body structure remains the same.

Can you help?

As a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, the Aquarium of Niagara relies on ticket sales, programs, events and donations to operate. Even though we are closed, we are still committed to providing the exemplary standard of animal care that earned us accreditation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. But as you can imagine, this closure will have a significant impact on our overall operating budget. Please consider a donation to assist us in the care of our animals and team members. Your support is more critical now than it has been in our nearly 55 years operating as an Aquarium.

Junior Vet Class