Aquarium Close Up!

With so many exhibits, habitats, colors and patterns, not to mention animals, it's no wonder that visitors can find the New England Aquarium a bit overwhelming. However, if you slow down and take a closer look, amazing details start to pop out!

It takes practice to look a little closer. Here's a quick guide to start you off. Can you tell what each animal or exhibit is by just seeing a small piece? Take a guess using the pictures below...and then look below to see if you were right!

The nose knows...
One part...of five
Strong stuff!
Light the way?
I spy with my little eye...

Done guessing? Think you know what each item is or belongs to? Okay...let's see if you were right!

First up...the furry nose.
The nose knows...
Harbor seal!
If you think that furry nose belongs to one of our marine mammals, you would be right! The nose above belongs to one of our harbor seals. Located in the front of the Aquarium, our harbor seals look sleek underwater. But once they have some time to dry, particularly when they are molting and growing in a new fur coat, you can see their fur clearly.

The second closeup can be found in the tide pool touch tank. That's right, a sea star!

One part of the whole...four more parts to go!

If you take a close look, or better yet feel the surface, of the sea star, you'll notice small, raised bumps. These bumps help keep the skin of the star clean, which is important as their gills are on the surface!

The next set of items should look familiar-you have similar looking bones in your body, though much smaller in size. These large items are some vertebrae of the North Atlantic right whale skeleton!

Strong stuff!

Hanging above the penguin exhibit, the whale skeleton gives visitors an idea of how large these animals can be. With only around 500 of them left, New England Aquarium researchers work hard to document the population in the area. This skeleton has been at the Aquarium for quite some time and came from an animal stranded on a beach. [Get a feel for the work these right whale researchers do in the field, check out the Right Whale Research Blog!]

Okay, next one! Is it a strange, bioluminescent jelly? Sunlight off some glass panel? Nope! That glowing fin fits in on the shark wall!

Light the way?
See some sharks on the shark wall

This exhibit feature showcases the silhouettes of different shark species. Many visitors don't stop to take a look, but it's definitely worth checking out! The species depicted are full size, so it's a great way to compare the size of some larger species, including basking and white sharks, with smaller species like the spiny dogfish. It's not just a pretty wall covering-it's a well-lit way to learn about sharks!

Now...what about that eye...

I spy with my little eye...
Nassau grouper in the Giant Ocean Tank
Meet the Nassau grouper, one of 120 species inside the Giant Ocean Tank! These large fish hang out towards the bottom of the exhibit, resting near sandy trays or against coral structures. You may even find these larger fish being cleaned by cleaner gobies and wrasses. Keep an "eye" out for them at the bottom of the exhibit!

So next time you are feeling overwhelmed by all of the cool things the Aquarium has to offer, take a closer look! It's a great way to slow down and see some amazing animal or exhibit details you might not have seen before!

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