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See-Worthy Attractions – Splashy new exhibits make these aquariums perfect for winter sightseeing
Who says you need to jet off to Hawaii to catch a few rays this winter. Adventure Aquarium (Camden, N.J.), recently opened its wildly popular Stingray Beach Club, where guests can touch and hand-feed stingrays — a few lucky visitors are randomly chosen each day to wade in with these curious, gentle creatures. Entry to the exhibit is included with CityPASS (there is a $3 charge to buy food to feed the rays).
It doesn’t get any bigger than Atlanta’s Georgia Aquarium. With more than 100,000 animals and 10 million gallons of marine and fresh water, this is the largest aquarium in the world. Thankfully, the aquarium’s roomy footprint made it easy to welcome some new — and rather plus-sized — members to its flowing, growing family. On November 21, two juvenile beluga whales joined the adult belugas in the Georgia-Pacific Cold Water Quest gallery. Qinu (pronounced Kee-nu) is a two-year-old female who weighs more than 600 pounds. Her companion, Grayson, a three-year-old male, tips the scales at some 800 pounds.
Beluga whales can also be found at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium, whose recently reimagined Abbott Oceanarium reopened in 2009. Among the exhibits: Polar Play Zone, a hands-on area where kids can learn through play as they dress up like a penguin, “board” a submarine to explore beneath the Arctic ice; splash around in shallow seas; Regenstein Otter Trail and Otter Habitat; and a Tide Pool Habitat, where curious visitors can hang with anemones, mollusks, sea stars, urchins, crabs and more. The Abbott Oceanarium’s upgrade also created swanky new digs for many of the aquariums most popular residents, including the beloved belugas, high-energy otters, sassy sea lions, and agile, acrobatic dolphins.