Adventure Aquarium’s Nile hippos, Button and Genny, will be opening their newly renovated home and welcoming new friends to Hippo Haven starting Friday, June 21 – just in time for summer break. In addition, Adventure Aquarium will be hosting The Hippo Festival throughout the Hippo-Sized Summer of Fun for Button, Genny and their new friends that will call Hippo Haven home.
The project, which begins May 2019, will virtually transform the entrance of Hippo Haven to fully immerse guests in a habitat that would be seen in Africa. Guests will be introduced to Hippo Haven with big, beautiful lanterns, and lush tree branches hanging above the intricate huts, which will house Button and Genny’s new friends.
Button, weighing in at just over 3,000 pounds, was born on March 22, 1997 at Parque Zoological de Leon in Mexico. Her hippo gal pal, Genny, is 18-years-old and was born on July 10, 2000 at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Florida. Genny is the larger of the two ladies, weighing over 4,000 pounds.
Button and Genny’s new friends will include four uromastyx, named after the popular Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo and Raphael. Louise and Gertrude, pancake tortoises, will also be added to Hippo Haven, along with spiny tailed lizards, shield tailed agamas and a grey parrot. All animals, like Button and Genny, call Africa home.
“In the last year alone, we’ve invested over $5 million in enhancing the guest experience. We’ve opened a brand-new Marketplace café, constructed Penguin Park – the new home to our largest African Penguin colony ever, and now we are turning our attention to Hippo Haven,” said Vince Nicoletti, Executive Director of Adventure Aquarium. “Button and Genny, our two Nile Hippos, are among the most beloved animals at Adventure Aquarium. The enhancements in Hippo Haven will provide more ways for families to explore and discover the wonders of Africa together.”
Hippo Haven first opened in 2005 with the opening of Adventure Aquarium then re-opened in 2014 as a reimagined experience, including lights and a theatrical environment. “As part of the renovation, we are revamping the area to be a natural and immersive experience for our guests,” said Nicoletti. “The idea of adding elements that you would see in Africa allows our guests to be fully submerged.”
The Hippo Festival celebration is too big to be contained by Hippo Haven. The aquarium will be extending the hippo celebration to the Blue Mile where Adventure Aquarium will be hosting The Hippo Festival Friday, June 21 through Sunday, July 21. The festival will include interactive animal charades, hippo crafts, hippo cookie decorating, hippo-themed games and so much more!
“Button and Genny are fan favorites at the aquarium,” said Sara Frias, Director of Marketing and Sales at Adventure Aquarium. “Our hippos and our guests deserve a month-long celebration devoted to all things ‘Hippo.’ Genny and Button are fun loving animals who enjoy the water, snacking on summertime favorites like watermelon, and most of all spending time playing together. Summer is already a great time to come to Adventure Aquarium and with the addition of the Hippo Festival a visit to the aquarium is a must.”
Throughout the festival, Button and Genny will also have a few hippo-sized events planned. Be on the lookout for our Hippo-Sized Independence Day Splash, Genny’s 19th Birthday Bash, Hippo Sips and more. Event dates are to be determined.
As always, Adventure Aquarium Members will be invited to this new hippo experience first with our Members-only Hippo Haven Sneak Peek event on Friday, June 14. Invitations will be sent out via email in the upcoming weeks. Members are also welcome to join us for Member Hippo Early Opens throughout the festival. Dates are to be determined. Memberships can be purchased online as well as at the aquarium.
Guests are invited to visit adventureaquarium.com and follow AAQ’s social media accounts for Hippo Haven construction and other updates.
Downloadable hippo and aquarium fact sheets and images of the before images of Hippo Haven, Hippo Haven concept art, hippos and up close animals are available here.
Photo Credit: Adventure Aquarium/Meghan Smith