Our Aquarist team is giving spring breakers a “taste” of how Aquarium experts serve up a super-sized buffet for all of the creatures within River Journey and Ocean Journey. Staff and volunteer "chefs" create specialized diets each day in two Aquarium kitchens. Much of the food is restaurant quality, and in some cases, it's enhanced with nutritional supplements to ensure each animal receives a varied and well-balanced diet.
Here's a sample of what's on the Aquarium's annual grocery list:
832,000 meal worms for birds
5,616 heads of romaine lettuce for turtles and fish
5,184 pounds of squid for sharks and other fish
40,000 crickets for frogs, salamanders and newts
10,800 pounds of capelin fish for penguins
3,000 night crawlers for turtles and amphibians
2,000 shrimp for cuttlefish
681 pounds of grapes and 200 pounds of macadamia nuts for the macaws
1,056 oranges for butterflies
More than 5,000 mice and rats for reptiles and owls
Kids can meet “Chef Aqua” who will describe how the special kitchens in each building are beehives of activity every day. “Our chefs prepare nutritionally complete diets for all of our critters great and small,” said Thom Demas, the Aquarium’s curator of fishes. “This has been a popular program because people are fascinated to learn how many specialized diets we prepare each day.”
Chef Aqua is offered daily now through April 10 at 1:15 pm on Level 2 of the Ocean Journey building and is free with admission as part of the Aquarium's “Critter For A Day” spring break program.