Meet My New Friend ~ Gray Silver!

Our family spent all day today at Mystic Aquarium where we got to make good on our Hanukkah present to The Cuties; a Penguin Encounter!

We had wanted to wait until warmer weather as you walk outside between exhibits at Mystic.  Big Cutie is in the middle of a research project on animal adaptations and has chosen penguins, so today was a perfect choice.

The Penguin Encounter is really cool.  It’s limited to 10 people at a time, and you get to go into a little room with an African Penguin and a trainer and learn all about the species while the penguin is free to waddle around the room and can choose to come up to the guests and interact.  Penguins at Mystic are banded with colored beads by gender and birth and that’s how they’re named.

So without further ado, let me introduce Gray Silver ~

When I say we got to get up close and personal, I really mean it!


Not only did The Cuties get to pet Gray Silver, but they were able to assist Trainer Jen with some animal husbandry and help Gray Silver become accustomed to being touched with a stethoscope in case he ever needs to be examined by a vet.

I was really impressed with how much knowledge was imparted upon us in just an hour.  We learned tons about penguins in general, and specifically about the endangered African Penguins.  For instance, did you know there are more penguin species that live in warmer climates than cold ones?  I didn’t!  Even though penguin ears are super tiny they have incredible hearing and can pick out their mate’s call amongst thousands of other penguins.  African Penguins are nicknamed “Jackass Penguins” because their particular call sounds like a donkey braying.  It was a very comical sound and Gray Silver showed off a little for us and gave us some good loud donkey hee haws!

Here’s all of us with Jen and Gray Silver.  If you want to meet his mate {FYI ~ African Penguins mate for life}, you can check out a really cool video of her painting here!

While at Mystic we did some other cool stuff!

Here we are petting female white spotted bamboo sharks.  This absolutely falls into the category of doing something to alleviate my children’s fears that I was totally freaked out about doing.  I’m glad I did it and convinced the girls to do it; one, they both were able to overcome their fears and touch the sharks, and two it wasn’t that bad after all!

We ended up touching lots of stuff.  Big Cutie and Cute Husband picked up Sea Stars ~

And Little Cutie thought this crab was “funky.”

As a Mom, I found these signs at all the hand washing stations just hilarious!

Of course no trip to Mystic is complete without visiting Juno, Naku and Kela, the Beluga Whales.  The Raffi song Baby Beluga was Little Cutie’s favorite song when she was a baby, and we read the board book until we literally wore the pages out.  For her second birthday I spend HOURS on the Internet searching out a stuffed Beluga Whale.  Turns out it came from the Mystic Aquarium gift shop, even though we then lived about 800 miles away.  Little Cutie still sleeps with her stuffed Baby Beluga and he even came with us today in the van.  He’s softer than the real thing, but aren’t they cool?

Finally, the crafter in me was mesmerized by the giant fabric jelly fish hanging from the ceiling of the Indoor Exhibits.  There were about a half dozen of them, each different, and they were made out of fabric.

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One Response to Meet My New Friend ~ Gray Silver!

  1. Angela orr says:

    I love the Mystic Aquarium! My family west last summer when we lived up there on assignment. Thanks for sharing, brings back great memories :)

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