By Dan Majka
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — If you’re looking for some fun this holiday season, there’s about two-million gallons of it at Camden’s Adventure Aquarium.
“It’s a great family activity. It’s very calming,” says Laura Batchelor, Marketing Manager at Adventure Aquarium. “People enjoy learning about animals. We have other things other than fish. We have hippos, we have penguins, so there’s a little something for everyone.”
Aside from the thousands of cool animals, the aquarium’s annual Christmas Celebration features larger-than-life decorations, twinkling lights, glowing trees, and variety of live shows, including a holiday favorite in the Rotunda.
“Remember in the 1970’s and 80’s, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and (Bumble) the Abominable Snow Monster? We actually have them at the aquarium,” Batchelor says. “The Abominable comes and lights the Christmas tree and we actually make it snow inside (the aquarium). Rudolph will be there. There are character appearances.”
And what would Christmas be without a certain special someone to help put the decorations on the tree?
“We also have Scuba Santa, which is a tradition for us,” Batchelor says. “You know, the animals need a Santa too, so you can actually meet him and there are I Believe In Scuba Santa shows throughout the day, every day.”
Every day during Christmas Celebration, children can share their Christmas wishes with Scuba Santa by delivering letters into a special mailbox. Batchelor says it’s just one of many kid-friendly activities throughout the aquarium.
“We have a whole area called KidZone, which is on the second floor of the aquarium,” she says. “All of the exhibits are at kid height, and you can touch a bunch of things in the aquarium, including sting rays, sharks, and starfish.”
And the holiday season doesn’t end with Christmas at Adventure Aquarium. Families are welcome to ring in the New Year at the third annual New Year’s Eve Splash.
“New Year’s Eve Splash is a family-friendly event,” says Batchelor. “After hours, you can come and explore the aquarium. It’s a more intimate affair. Gill, who’s our mascot, actually does a countdown (to the New Year) around eight or nine o’clock, and then we get to see the SugarHouse fireworks across the Delaware River.”
Batchelor says when timed right, visitors can make their trip to the aquarium last for several hours. She says there are plenty of areas that people aren’t even aware of.
“One of the big things for us is our shark tunnel, where you actually have 360 degree view of a shark,” she says. “It’s a forty-foot tunnel. You walk through, you can see all different kinds of sharks and their teeth. Their teeth fall out all of the time, so you get to see that.”
Speaking of sharks, Adventure Aquarium has the distinction of being the only one in the country with a great hammerhead shark on exhibit.
“He’s actually located in the Ocean Realm, which is one of our two largest tanks,” Batchelor says. “He lives there with a couple of Loggerhead Sea Turtles, a few other sharks and some sting rays.”
So whether it’s a Santa Claus in scuba gear, fireworks or simply fish you wish to see, the Adventure Aquarium is deep with family fun. Christmas Celebration runs until January 1.
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