O4E on the Road: the lives and loves of macaroni and gentoo penguins at the Tennesse Aquarium

Filed Under (Aquariums, Penguins, conservation) by Alexa & Cindy on 14-04-2009

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Aquarium road trip!

It’s something we’ve talked about doing for a series here on O4E, and what better time to kick it off than spring break?

Last week, the vacation train stopped in Chattanooga, Tennessee for a day at the Tennessee Aquarium – and what a day it was.

Alexa went behind-the-scenes of the Penguins Rock exhibit for her first video interview, and found out they really do ROCK. Thanks to Amy Graves, aviculturist (that means penguin expert in her case) at TN aq., she got an eye – and earful – of amazing facts about penguins, including gossip about their love lives.

We couldn’t have time our visit better, in fact, we arrived just as mating season starts and penguins are choosing partners and making nests (with any luck).

We had a great day learning about penguins, and we think Hercules, a grand male macaroni penguin, should be the next “Bachelor.”

Check out the video, and get ready for more penguin fun this week, as we can’t stop talking and learning – and that means sharing – about penguins.

What would you have asked Amy about penguins?

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Cavefish

Filed Under (Road Trip) by Alexa & Cindy on 13-04-2009

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We hope everyone had a great Easter weekend!

Last week was spring break for the O4E family, and though we technically took a land-locked vacation, there was no shortage of ocean in our travels (more details later this week)!
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First, here’s Alexa in Mammoth Cave, the longest cave system in the world (367 miles and counting) in Edmonson, Kentucky.

She knew there was probably no chance of finding marine life down in the cave, as we were not allowed to visit the cave’s river on our tour.

She was happy anyway – even though she was forced to wear her coat over a bulky sweatshirt in the year-round 54F depths, sometimes as far down as 300 feet – as caves are sweet, and there’s candle graffiti from 100++ years ago on the walls and ceilings (even though we wish there wasn’t).

She descended the “Steps of Time” backward and added at least 9 days to her life. She was also relieved to make it through “Fat Man’s Misery,” an extremely narrow passageway on our two-mile underground journey, without getting stuck (she was really worried about that). ;)

But hold on! It’s her eagle-eye dad who saves the day when he spots a fish, high above us, nestled in the rocks of the cave wall. Can you see it? We’re helping you out a bit.

It’s a stonefish of another sort. We stared at him a long time, but could not make an I.D.

What species would you say he is?

cavestonefish4253We all thought some kind of baby shark.

Speaking of which, know what is imbedded in the cave’s walls? Shark teeth. What does that tell you about what the cave once was? Very old. Very cool.

Stay tuned, as this train moves on from caves to…well, we’ll just show you, coming up.

Make a Difference Monday will return next week, and in the meantime, we’re putting on our webbed feet and donning black-and-white, because LOVE is in the air. At least where we went, it was!

Splash you tomorrow!

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