The Aquarium of Niagara – one of Niagara Falls, NY’s gems. While I personally feel like the Aquarium doesn’t get enough recognition from its neighboring suburbs, it has so, SO much to offer! A short 30 minute drive from the City of Buffalo, their are multiple sea mammal shows, talks with the keepers and feedings that take place throughout the day and are free with admission.

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Last week I was lucky enough to sit down and snag some time with Ilene Strober the Director of Development and Marketing at the Aquarium, she told me about their Capital Campaign and fun things taking place, so I won’t waste any time and will jump right into it.

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“Join Our Journey”  – is a $3.2 million capital campaign featuring an interactive exhibit with classroom, smart boards and a beautiful, one of a kind home for the Humboldt Penguins.  The Aquarium of Niagara is above code in everything, but in order to receive accreditation with the AZA {Association of Zoos and Aquariums} a new exhibit needs to be built for the Humboldt Penguins. This new exhibit will be an exhibit for people of all ages.

Currently the Aquarium is $1 million short of their goal – so they are calling on the community for support. The Aquarium has visitors from all over Niagara County, Erie County, Western Pennsylvania, Ohio and Southern Ontario. A non -profit that does so much for the community, now will the community help them?

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One thing that opened my eyes during my interview with Ilene is how big the Aquarium is on conservation, not only here at home, but all over the world – from local lakes and rivers to ocean life. We play a huge part in these animals lives and habitats and we have to learn to do a better job on sustainability.

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{These Humboldt penguins are the cutest!}

While walking through the building I learned a lot from talking with Ilene. There are 23 new/refurbished exhibits on hand. Penguins have their own personalities and have strong bonds with one another- they come out in pairs. All of the sea lions, including seals that are at the Aquarium of Niagara are rescued and non-releasable into the wild. The shows that are held for the guests actually help the trainers teach them things and to help them learn enrichment.

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{Ripple – a fun interactive video game for kids to play when they visit}

Some other fun facts I learned from my visit -Octopus only live for 3-5 year, use their brain and are very smart. Sturgeon fish have a 100 year life span, but are endangered because they are hunted before they are sexually mature, because of this there is no reproducing taking place – going back to the whole sustainability topic I mentioned earlier.  We can throw off the ecosystem if we have to much of one thing.

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{Trainers Hallie and Colleen with sea lions Kia and Arie}

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{Sea lions are extremely curious and playful}

And how about this – the Aquarium of Niagara has one of the most poisonous and deadly fish there is – a lion fish. If you ask me they look pretty cool though!

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What other fun things can you do at the Aquarium, do you ask? {obviously call ahead to make an appointment for these activities}

Public Touch Tank, Meet a Seal, Behind the Scenes Tour {there is so much more to the animals exhibits that the public doesn’t see}, Humboldt Penguin Interactive Program, the list goes on. For more info on any of these activities click here. And for a complete list of upcoming events go here . SEALED with a Kiss is coming up on Valentine’s Day weekend and that looks to be a fun event to take part in.

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A few summers ago I took my niece to feed the seals and she had such a fun time and thought it was the coolest thing. For a couple of dollars she got to experience something not a lot of people say they do. The Aquarium of Niagara is such a fun place to go, all year round.

If you want to help be a part of the journey contact Ilene to see how you can help.

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-B

{All photos: Just a Blonde in Buffalo photos}

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