Animal All-Stars: Where to Go to See Famous Zoo and Aquarium Residents in the U.S.
It takes willpower to keep your gaze away from the magazine stands filled with celebrities and juicy gossip. People want to know what is going on outside of their idol's latest movie or music video, but you can only get so much from the pictures and articles in magazines.
However, for many years, there have been stars willing to expose their lives to the public. These famous figures allow fans to watch them right outside their window! Animal all-stars have been soaking up the spotlight in a variety of cities throughout the nation. From the Dallas Zoo's Golden Girl Elephants to Myrtle the Green Sea Turtle in Boston's New England Zoo, there are plenty of celebrities you can see without getting pummeled by security or pushed down by other "number one fans."
Get to know some of the most famous finned and four-legged residents of various zoos and aquariums throughout the U.S. Let's take a sneak peek into the lives of some of America's wilder stars.
New England Aquatic All Stars at the New England Aquarium – Boston, MA
It's not very often (if at all) that you get to pet or feed one of your favorite actors. If you're heading over one of Boston’s premier tourist attractions, the New England Aquarium, however, you can pet, feed, and get up-close and personal with some first-class superstars.
Hoover, a famous talking harbor seal, was a charming young fellow who made the ladies swoon with his Boston accent. He could say things like "How are ya?" and "Get Outta Here," along with his own name "Hoover." Hoover lived a long life and is now swimming in the Great Beyond, but his descendants are slowly making their way up the ladder of fame. Hoover's grandson Chacoda is learning how to speak just like his grandpa did!
Another Hall-of-Famer residing at the lovely New England Aquarium is the 80-year Myrtle. Myrtle the green sea turtle spends her time swimming around the Giant Ocean Tank, a four-story exhibit made to wow and amaze. If you head to the Yawkey Coral Reef Center up at the top, you could get the chance to feed Myrtle a head of lettuce! Make a splash with some friendly seals one-on-one, or watch Myrtle the green sea turtle swim and sway at the New England Aquarium in Boston.
Ink the Octopus at the Seattle Aquarium – Seattle, WA
Hey! Maybe you saw that funny video clip where an octopus was seen trying to make a break for it, flinging his tentacles over the top of his glass enclosure? The Seattle Aquarium owes its internet fame to the viral YouTube video starring Ink the Octopus. In this video, Ink scales his tank in what appeared to have been an attempt to get out. His slippery tentacles pull himself nearly up and over the enclosure, but a staff member gently stops him before he gets a chance to run away.
Seattle Aquarium staff later clarified that, in all actuality, the loveable eight-tentacled critter had just been moved to a new spot and was just scoping out his new terrain. There haven't been any reports of Ink attempting a second “escape,” so for now, you can see him enjoying his new home at the Seattle Aquarium.
Although Ink may be the Aquarium’s most famous resident, there are so many other beautiful marine creatures that Seattle visitors can get acquainted with, such as breathtaking moon jellies, fuzzy fur seals, and playful sea otters.
Tony the Southern White Rhino at the Philadelphia Zoo – Philadelphia, PA
At the Philadelphia Zoo, there is a rambunctious rhino by the name of Tony strutting his stuff on the African Plains. Tony arrived at the Zoo on May 4th, 2006. On a normal day, you can catch him chomping on some Savannah grass or rolling in the mud. Tony is a Southern White Rhinoceros and is considered a "near threatened" species. This 4,500-pound gentle giant shares an enclosure with two female zebras, Laura and Suzie.
In addition to his size and status as an animal whose species is nearly threatened by extinction, Tony has a claim to fame tied to an actual celebrity: He happens to be a huge fan of comedian and television talk show host, Ellen DeGeneres. Zookeepers claim that whenever the Ellen show is playing, Tony will peek his head around his wall to watch the show inside the keeper’s area. Zookeepers also mentioned that rhinos do not have the best sense of sight, but make up for it with a keen sense of hearing. It’s likely Ellen’s voice and jokes that have made Tony such a “big” fan.
A must-see Philly attraction, the Philadelphia Zoo is the oldest zoo in the country, having established its charter in 1859 – the same year New York’s Central Park Zoo opened its gates. The actual opening of the zoo, however, was delayed until 1874 due to the ongoing American Civil War.
Blanco the Alligator at the Houston Zoo – Houston, TX
One of the many remarkable creatures that calls the Houston Zoo home, Blanco is an all-American alligator with a unique skin condition known as leucism. Although Blanco is white like an albino animal, he is not considered as such because his eyes are blue instead of red and he has a reduction in all types of pigment, not just melanin.
A not-so ragin’ Cajun, Blanco hails from Louisiana and was brought to Houston in 1994. Today, Blanco is 21 years old, eats small rodents and a yearly turkey, and can be seen hanging loose at the Houston Zoo.
The Golden Girls Elephants at the Dallas Zoo – Dallas, TX
If you want to see loveable, beautiful, and intelligent stars check out the Golden Girl Elephants at the Dallas Zoo. Just like their human counterparts, The Golden Girl Elephants at the Dallas Zoo's Giants of the Savannah Habitat are a matriarchal group of old, but young-at-heart ladies who spend their golden years in good company.
Mama (born 1970) is warm-hearted and wise. She's got a love for sugar cane and eats neatly like any proper lady should. Gypsy (born 1982) steals the show with her rowdy antics and attention-grabbing personality. Jenny (born 1976) is a regular fashionista; she loves a pampering pedicure but is just as playful as any tomboy. Congo (born 1978) and Kamba (born 1980) are best buds taking it easy in the Savannah habitat after their long haul in circus life. For a not-to-be-missed Dallas attraction, take a walk on the wild side and spend some quality time with “the girls” at the Dallas Zoo.
Capture some truly candid moments, feed some friendly sea creatures, or simply watch and enjoy the wonderful attractions these zoos and aquariums have to offer. Now that you know the names and stories of some wild celebrities, look to CityPASS to get you up close and personal with some of these captivating critters.