Saturday, May 2, 2015

Octopus Enrichment Program Begins at SEA LIFE Aquarium- Meet Ruby!


Our family just had the experience of a lifetime! I am honored to serve on the Sea Life Charlotte-Concord Parent Advisory Council, and we were invited to visit the aquarium, and check out their new Octopus Enrichment Program, featuring Ruby, a Giant Pacific Octopus! Sacha (my husband) and I were very much looking forward to seeing Ruby up close, and learning more about the life of a Giant Pacific Octopus. As parents, we were also excited to see B's reaction to meeting such a magnificent creature! 

We were totally wowed by Ruby- we found it interesting to learn that the staff will be working with her over the next few months, teaching and engaging her. Like many 5-year-olds, Ruby can become bored easily, sometimes makes a mess in her tank by rearranging things, etc. Ruby loves to play with toys- she has her own Mr. Potato Head toy, which B thought was so cool, and she 'finger-paints' with her tentacles! We were able to see a painting that Ruby painted while we were there, visiting. 

The staff interacted with Ruby, and we stood watching in amazement, as Ruby played, and even painted!

Ruby's red coloring tells the staff that she is calm, and content. Ruby's color changes with her mood.

SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium (SEA LIFE) launched a new creature educational program, Octopus Enrichment. The program is designed to mentally stimulate SEA LIFE’s resident Giant Pacific octopus, Ruby. With proper engagement, Giant Pacific octopuses can develop the mental capacity of a five-year-old.

During daily enrichment sessions, Ruby will participate in solving puzzle-type activities with a team of trained SEA LIFE aquarists. Currently, the team is teaching Ruby how to “tentacle” paint onto paper by utilizing positive treat reinforcement. These activities will also acclimate her to being handled by the aquarist team, which is an important component in keeping Ruby happy and engaged.

“The Octopus Enrichment daily sessions are a great way for guests to see Ruby learn and grow at SEA LIFE,” said Dalia Goldgor, General Manager at SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord. “The new program is an important component of ensuring Ruby will become strong physically and mentally. We look forward to seeing what she’ll be doing in a few months.”

Sister location SEA LIFE Aukland in New Zealand recently partnered with Sony and taught their Giant Pacific octopus, Rambo, to take photographs of visitors using a specially mounted camera in her tank.

SEA LIFE’s Octopus Enrichment program will occur daily at 2:15 p.m. and is open to all visitors. The sessions, led by a staff educator, will take place at Ruby’s tank in the Shipwreck area of the aquarium.


After we met Ruby and learned about her life, and what she'll be doing while at Sea Life Charlotte-Concord, we headed to some of our other favorite exhibits at the aquarium, and even ran across a new one!

B loves the atmosphere at Sea Life Charlotte-Concord... he felt like he was swimming among the sharks and fishies!


The green eel gave me the eye... and the willies!


B very bravely put his hand into the Touch Tank for the very first time- we were so proud of him!


We let our fingers graze over lots of starfish. I thought it was cool that they are soft on the underside, and hard on the outside- they also harden up when touched.

B loved the Touch Tank. We spent a lot of time there, and chatted quite a bit with the staff. B was able to point out the decorator crabs to me, which I thought was pretty impressive. We were also told that there are six bamboo shark eggs in an area of the touch tank that is roped off, and they will be hatching in a few weeks!

The lobsters were particularly active!


We also enjoyed the Creatures of the Deep exhibit, where we were able to see Giant Spider Crabs up close. These guys live in the deepest parts of the Pacific.


Don't let the photo fool you- these crabs are ginormous!

We had a wonderful afternoon visiting Sea Life Charlotte-Concord, and are so thankful to have had the opportunity to meet Ruby. We can't wait to go back and see her again! There are always new exhibits and programs coming to Sea Life Charlotte-Concord, so be sure to check back or visit often! It's a wonderful way to spend the day or part of the day if you're in the Charlotte-Concord area. Season Passes are available, and well worth looking into if you're local!

 To plan your visit or learn more, visit www.visitsealife.com/charlotte-concord.

About SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord
SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord is a 26,000-square-foot indoor aquarium with another 10,000 square feet planned for future expansion. This one-of-a-kind attraction allows visitors to experience the magical world beneath our seas with marine habitats, displays, and close encounters with thousands of sea creatures. SEA LIFE provides a glimpse of the diversity of marine life while also playing an active role in animal and environmental conservation. Visitors see strong evidence of SEA LIFE’s Breed, Rescue and Protect activities around the world, including new projects developed locally.

SEA LIFE is the world’s largest aquarium chain with over 45 attractions around the world. SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord is the sixth SEA LIFE aquarium launched in the U.S. and parent company Merlin Entertainments’ 100th attraction worldwide. SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord is located at Concord Mills, 8111 Concord Mills Blvd. in Concord, NC. For more information, visit www.visitsealife.com/charlotte-concord.

Special thanks to Sea Life Charlotte-Concord for hosting us, and inviting us to meet Ruby!



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