Historic Hippo Awareness Weekend donations raised for second consecutive year!

Adventure Aquarium guests have helped raise a record-setting $16,093.24 donation during Hippo Awareness Weekend, held over the Presidents’ Day holiday weekend.  All of the funds raised from the weekend benefit the non-profit organization Turgwe Hippo Trust in Zimbabwe, Africa and the wild hippos that reside there.

“Thanks to the generous contributions of our guests and the hard work of our staff, we matched and surpassed last year’s record donation to support this worthy cause,” said Michele Pagel, Curator for Birds and Mammals at Adventure Aquarium. “It is truly inspiring for so many individuals to come together to raise conservation awareness and make such an incredible impact.”

Thousands of guests participated in the weekend’s three day conservation event and supported the cause in a variety of ways, including purchasing unique “hippo kiss” paintings created by Button and Genny as well as custom-designed hippo kiss t-shirts, hippo print magnets, playing hippo-focused interactive games and more.  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 two huge reasons this weekend was so successful,” said Pagel.  “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.”

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

“Once again, the Turgwe Hippos here in Zimbabwe have been helped by the amazing supporters of Adventure Aquarium, the staff and management,” said Karen Paolillo, Founder, Turgwe Hippo Trust. “Last year, your wonderful donation was a major part of keeping the hippos alive by helping us to feed them and the other wild animals. Your donation will keep the Trust going for the next five months as well as pay off a couple of outstanding debts from last year’s severe drought.  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 2017, including Shark Awareness Weekend (Memorial Day Weekend, May 27-29), African Penguin Awareness Weekend (Labor Day Weekend, September 2-4) and Sea Turtle Awareness Weekend (Columbus Day Weekend, October 7-9).  For more information on upcoming events, visit