Aquarium Announces Record-Breaking $15,000 Donation

All hail to hippo heroes!  Adventure Aquarium experienced a large amount of #HippoLove with a record-setting donation total of $15,000 collected during Hippo Awareness Weekend, held last Saturday, February 13 through Monday, February 15.  The entire amount collected from the weekend benefits the non-profit organization Turgwe Hippo Trust in Zimbabwe, Africa and the wild hippos that reside there.

“It’s truly inspiring to see our guests and our staff come together to raise conservation awareness and support for such a worthy cause,” said Vince Nicoletti, Executive Director and Vice President, Adventure Aquarium. “This donation comes at a time of desperate need as the Turgwe hippos are experiencing a severe drought which has affected the food supply in the area.”

Guests participated in the weekend’s conservation event and supported the cause in a variety of ways, including purchasing over 200 unique “kiss” paintings created by Button and Genny as well as bracelets and hippo foot cut-outs.  The hippo residents also participated in a variety of enrichment sessions, showcasing their underwater skills as well as lively appetites.

“Genny and Button served as important ambassadors and were integral to the success of this weekend,” said Marc Kind, Director, Husbandry.  “Not only did their artwork help raise monetary donations but they also reinforced the connection between our animals here at Adventure Aquarium and their wild counterparts.  Whether it’s hippos, sharks, penguins or sea turtles, we are proud to connect families with a greater understanding of conservation awareness.”  

The donation will go toward the purchase of food from now until December including hay, survival ration, game cubes and molasses, as well as transportation of supplies and other needs.  

“On behalf of the Turgwe hippos, thank you so much to Adventure Aquarium for supporting us here in Africa,” said Karen Paolillo, Founder, Turgwe Hippo Trust. “Food is the first priority and with this generous donation we will be able to feed 21 hippos and other wildlife.  We also hope to help fund game scouts who actively work to catch poachers in the area.”  

Adventure Aquarium looks forward to future conservation awareness weekends being held in 2016, including Sea Turtle Awareness Weekend (June 18 and 19) and African Penguin Awareness Weekend (Columbus Day Weekend, October 8-10).  For more information on upcoming events, visit  

Adventure Aquarium is just minutes from downtown Philadelphia on the Camden Waterfront and features one-of-a-kind exhibits with more than 8,500 aquatic species throughout two million gallons of water.  The Aquarium is home to the largest collection of sharks on the East Coast, including the only Great Hammerhead Shark on exhibit in the United States, the only aquarium in the world to exhibit hippos and one of only six facilities in the US to have Little Blue Penguins as permanent residents.  Adventure Aquarium is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), and is held to the absolute highest standards in animal care and exhibition. Open 365 days a year, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  For more information, visit