CELEBRATES ALL THINGS HIPPO THIS PRESIDENTS’ DAY WEEKEND

 Hippo Awareness Weekend returns for a weekend of #HippoLove

Back and bigger than ever, visitors to Adventure Aquarium will be able to show the #HippoLove during Hippo Awareness Weekend, Saturday, February 18 through Monday, February 20.  Due to its popularity, the event has expanded to include activities in Zone D’s Hippo Haven as well as the Blue Mile, located in Zone B.

Guests seeking a kiss from a hippo have a few options to choose from this year. New in 2017, guests can purchase limited edition, custom designed hippo kiss t-shirts to showcase their smooches.  Visitors can also hop in Button and Genny’s “Hippo Kissing Booth” in the Blue Mile to have their photo taken.  Special “kiss” paintings, featuring a nose print from either Genny or Button in fun, vibrant colors, will also be available for purchase. 

Genny and Button also create one of a kind artwork with an imprint of their skin.  A hippo’s skin has a unique texture with many “wrinkles” and grooves.  These prints are created by applying animal safe, non-toxic paint, just like the hippo kiss paintings. Canvas is then pressed over the area revealing a skin print and a magnet is adhered to the reverse side.

“The girls put a lot of love into their special kiss paintings and new hippo print magnets for this weekend,” said Michele Pagel, Curator of Birds and Mammals. “The magnets are really cool and will definitely be an interesting conversation piece for your fridge. Whether you buy a painting, magnet, t-shirt or play a game – this weekend offers all-around great ways to show hippo love and all for a great cause.”

New hippo-themed games with a conservation message as well as crafts will also be available for kids of all ages to enjoy in the Blue Mile.  All donations made will help save hippos in the wild and benefit the Turgwe Hippo Trust, a non-profit organization in Zimbabwe, Africa.

Displays will be set up in Hippo Haven featuring their daily diet, a behind-the-scenes look at hippo painting in action and other fun hippo info for the whole family to enjoy. Biologists will also showcase special enrichment sessions including feeds featuring the hippos’ favorite treats, underwater target training, ice block interaction, hose spray play and more! 

Genny, born on July 10 at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Florida, is a 16-year-old Nile hippo and the larger of the two ladies, weighing in at over 4,000 pounds. Born March 22 at Parque Zoological de Leon in Mexico, 20-year-old Button is just over 3,000 pounds. Each hippo is unique and guests attending the weekend will have the opportunity to get to know the girls with help from biologists, including the ability to tell them apart by their physical differences as well as personality traits. 

Hippo Awareness Weekend Programming Includes

*NEW* Hippo Kissing Booth! Jump in Button and Genny’s “Hippo Kissing Booth” and take a H2O photo.  Location: Blue Mile (Zone B)

*NEW* Custom-Designed Hippo Kiss T-Shirts! Limited edition shirts to showcasing their smooches will be available for purchase (while supplies last). Location: Hippo Haven (Zone D)

*NEW* Unique Hippo Print Magnets! Don’t put boring magnets on the fridge!  Custom-made magnets featuring cool painted imprints of Genny or Button’s skin will be available (while supplies last). A hippo’s skin has a unique texture with many “wrinkles” and grooves.  These prints are created by applying animal safe, non-toxic paint, just like the hippo kiss paintings. Canvas is then pressed over the area revealing a skin print and a magnet is adhered to the reverse side. Location: Hippo Haven (Zone D)

*NEW* Hippo Games and Crafts! Play educational hippo-riffic games, including Hungry Hippos and Watering Hole. Spin the prize wheel for the chance to can win a unique hippo prize (while supplies last). And be sure to visit TD Bank’s hippo mini golf course and win fun, hippo-themed prizes (while supplies last).  Also, become artists just like Button and Genny by creating a hippo craft. Location: Blue Mile (Zone B)

Can’t get enough hippo kisses? Pucker up and pick-up the perfect painting. Purchase a special hippo kiss painting made by Button and Genny (while supplies last). Location: Hippo Haven (Zone D)

Join AAQ biologists inside Hippo Haven for lively hippo feeds, underwater workout training and unique enrichment sessions. Location: Hippo Haven (Zone D)

Stop by the Hippo Haven Curiosity Table. Learn all about the Aquarium’s two Nile hippos with various displays about the hippos and their diet. Location: Hippo Haven (Zone D)

Button and Genny are up for adoption! Well, sort of…Guests can adopt a hippo during their visit.  Receive a special adoption certificate, a hippo plush and more! Proceeds benefit hippo care and the Turgwe Hippo Trust. Location: The Gift Shop (Zone D)

To learn more about Hippo Awareness Weekend or to purchase tickets online, visit www.AdventureAquarium.com.