Here at the Aquarium, as with all institutions, we have our own jargon. Abbreviations, crazy terms and acronyms abound throughout the building. Exhibit names are shortened or acronym-ized (the “Giant Ocean Tank” goes to a smaller mouthful as “G-O-T”), gallery area names get shortened by Aquarium staff and volunteers (“Northern Waters of the World” = “Cold Marine”) and locations get their own nicknames (Behind the scenes on the 5th floor? why that’s “the Swamp”).
In the Visitor Education department, we are no different. We have our own set of acronyms that describe the assignments and interpretation jobs that our volunteers and staff do during the course of their day. An acronym that occurs a lot is LAP. And what exactly is a LAP? Why it’s a Live Animal Presentation!
Some common abbreviations used by Visitor Education in the main building
One way that visitors can get up close and personal with an Aquarium animal is to attend a Live Animal Presentation. Interpreters bring an animal from behind the scenes, showcasing that animal during a formal talk. A myriad of animals get their moment in the spotlight-anything from jellies, horseshoe crabs, turtles, toads and snakes!
An animal that is featured a lot during these presentations is one that is close to the New England psyche: the North American lobster! In Visitor Education jargon, that’s a LOB. This animal, common to many seaside restaurants, is also a common exhibit animal throughout the Aquarium and is one that visitors like to see up close. It does take a little bit of preparation to get the lobster ready to go!
Getting the container set for the lobster
Teen intern Victor with the LAP LOB
Most of our live animal presentation animals are kept behind the scenes. Once the interpreters are in the area, they need to prepare the holding container that the animal will be shown in. For the lobsters, that involves cold water, ice packs and an aerator to keep oxygen amounts at peak levels! Once the container is set; it’s an elevator ride downstairs to the main stage and then show time for both the lobster and the educators!
Teen interns Destiny, Victor and Volunteer Laura get ready to present
The particular lobster the educators brought out for this presentation is a fan favorite; can you guess why?
LAP lobster for the day-cool colors!
Visitors are completely blown away by this lobster’s unique coloration! Lobsters get their shell color from their diet and their genetics; this one has particularly unique DNA that causes its shell to be two different colors split right down the middle! It’s a pretty special lobster and one that visitors can only see during a LAP.
Some young visitors get a close-up view
In addition to the lobster, the educators bring down some biofacts or tools that are used in the lobster industry.
Tools of the trade-the LAP trade!
Visitors are allowed to touch them, pick them up and take pictures with them. When was the last time you were able to touch a pair of 19 pound lobster claws?
Some BIG claws
So next time you are at the Aquarium, check out the daily schedule to see when the next LAP is happening. It may or may not be the lobster featured today, but it will be always be a neat experience to be that up close to one of our Aquarium animals!