Marine mammals are always a crowd favorite but if you have a special fondness for fur seals or an obsession with orcas, this April is the time to really live it up. The Seattle Aquarium will host “Marine Mammal Mania” from April 7-16, and the schedule of events affords fans of marine mammals tons of opportunities to learn more about their favorite critters.
Here’s a sneak peek at what’s in store so you can plan to visit during demonstrations concerned with your most beloved marine mammal friends:
Learn “What makes an orca?”
The family activity center gives adults and kids a chance to learn about the orcas, also called killer whales, that live in the oceans of the Pacific Northwest. During “Marine Mammal Mania,” a special activity called “What makes an orca?” will explore how this species fits into the genealogical families established by marine biologists.
You can also learn about the Seattle Aquarium’s efforts to protect the endangered Southern Resident Community of Orca pods, which inhabit the waters near Seattle.
Meet up with a marine mammal biologist
Several scientists will host discussions during “Marine Mammal Mania” so that visitors can ask questions and learn more about what happens under the surface of the seas.
Depending on when you come, you can talk to an otter biologist, a seal biologist or a biologist who works across marine mammal species. Learn what it’s like to study these fascinating creatures and hear the latest updates on current investigations.
Stay for lunchtime
Not for you - for the animals! Watch a sea otter foraging feeding. You might see a sea otter perching its meal on its tummy or even retrieving a ball to get a tasty treat.
Go for a deep dive
The Window on Washington Waters” exhibit has several diving shows scheduled during “Marine Mammal Mania.” Visitors can see a gigantic 120,000-gallon tank filled with more than 800 invertebrates and fish indigenous to the waters of the Pacific Northwest, then ask the diver questions through an Aquarium interpreter to gain a deeper knowledge of local marine life.
Skype with specialists far and near
Every day of “Marine Mammal Mania” will feature a Skype session with an expert. The first weekend (April 7-9), the sessions will be with the caretakers of Rialto: the beloved sea otter who was rescued and nursed back to health right here at the Seattle Aquarium.
With 24/7 care from staff and skilled volunteers, Rialto was bottle and then hand fed, taught to swim and finally transported to his new home at the Vancouver Aquarium. The Skype session will let all of Rialto’s friends in Seattle know how he’s settling in.
Even if you come for the marine mammals, there are plenty of other animals at the aquarium to keep you busy. Watch an octopus feeding, learn about salmon’s crucial role in ocean ecosystems and touch the sea life that lives in Puget Sound tide pools. Whether you’re an animal enthusiast or just looking for a great family outing, the Seattle Aquarium is sure to please.
“Marine Mammal Mania” will feature hands-on activities for kids, special talks from experts and fun demonstrations. To see the complete schedule of events and plan your visit, head over to http://www.seattleaquarium.org/marine-mammal-mania.