Mystic Aquarium
USINFO | 2013-05-20 10:33

The Mystic Aquarium is an aquarium and oceanography institute in Mystic, Connecticut. The Aquarium is one of four U.S. facilities holding Steller sea lions and it has one of the largest outdoor Beluga Whale exhibits in the United States. Special exhibits include a ray and shark touch pool, a penguin exhibit, and a jelly gallery.

The Ocean Exploration Center features maps, diagrams, and models from Dr. Robert Ballard's explorations of the Black Sea and of the wreck of the RMS Titanic. At the Nautilus Live Theater, presentations tell more of Dr. Ballard's more recent explorations and the ship E/V Nautilus. Through technology, audience members are linked to crew members on the ship at sea and can ask them questions directly.

The aquarium is a member of the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums (AMMPA) and is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Mystic Aquarium holds four beluga whales, four Steller sea lions, six California sea lions, 4 harbor seals, a large colony of African black-footed penguins, sea stars, unicorn fish, blue tang[disambiguation needed], octopus, leopard shark, bamboo sharks, sheepshead fish, horn sharks, sea turtles, clownfish and other oceanic creatures. As part of its conservation work, it is among the first aquariums to attempt artificial insemination of a beluga whale, in order to increase breeding in captivity.

Within the aquarium, encounter programs are offered to visitors for an additional fee. For instance, the penguin encounter programs allow visitors to get close to one of the African Penguins; visitors may also touch and stand in the water with a beluga whale. In summer, visitors may touchencounter where you are able to touch and stand in the water with a whale. Also, visitors may feed and touch the sting rays in a special pool.
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