Fitness Friday: Harbor Seal Lap Swim

The Atlantic harbor seals that reside in the exhibit on the Aquarium Plaza can often be spotted bobbing in the water, napping or playing with toys. Sometimes you can catch them during a group lap swim!

In this post, we explain how the harbor seals and fur seals use very different techniques to glide through the water. The fur seals use their long, flexible front flippers to propel themselves through the water. The harbor seals use their hind flippers and body to glide through the water, their short front flippers are used more for navigation.

Visitors love interacting with the seals on the Aquarium's Plaza.

Come by to watch the seals in action at the New England Aquarium. Pay attention to see how they move through the water, then head inside to compare the harbor seal swim with our fur seals and sea lions. There are many different ways to get moving, and that's OK. Just stay active!


Fitness Friday: What obstacles?

Last week we showed you how Leu is learning some of the components of our fun fur seal obstacle course. He's just a little guy so he has a long way to go. But the mature fur seals, that's another story. In this picture you can see one of the svelte female fur seals scaling a speed bump and preparing to go under a limbo bar.

Believe it or not, the seals seem to enjoy these physical and mental challenges. It's all part of keeping our fur seals healthy and happy.

After yesterday's Thanksgiving feasts, it's a good day to get active and burn some energy! Go for a walk, throw the football around or even create an obstacle course for you and some friends. If you need some inspiration, check out these obstacle course challenges from when Aquarium staffers took on the fur seals!

Who's Tougher?
Triathlon Triumph
Water Hoops and Limbo
In Balance


Thanksgiving with the Seals

Here at the Aquarium we celebrate Thanksgiving a little differently.  Instead of preparing a meal full of turkey, we get here bright and early to make a fishy feast for the seals!

And instead of playing football, Zoe and Sierra, are having fun playing with their own mountain of frosty toys, ice cubes, and jello.


 And the day would not be complete without a little bonus for the trainers!

We're thankful for your support.  The animals couldn't enjoy their Thanksgiving feast without you.


Fitness Friday: Learning to Limbo

One of our little guys is joining the big kids at school! Leu has started working with trainers to learn some new skills. These training sessions are as much to keep the seals and sea lions active and fit as to keep their brains sharp. Leu is practicing the limbo with Paul right now.

This limbo skill isn't simply a fun activity. It's one piece of an obstacle course that we like to show off on Fitness Fridays. Maybe you remember our Northern fur seals competing against people in some obstacle course challenges? Little by little, Leu will learn the skills and he'll be able to compete in the races, too.

Not quite, Leu. Try again.

That's it! Good boy!


Fitness Friday: Puppy Play

We talk a lot about the sea lions and their antics. But they're not the only youngsters! Leu (the Northern fur seal pup rescued earlier this year) and Flaherty (the pup born to Ursula in July) are growing up and testing out their new-found strength on the deck and in the water.

Play is an important part of an active lifestyle. Sometimes it means being on a sports team, sometimes it means just kicking the ball around with a friend. If you're a fur seal, it means rough housing, pretending you're an adult male fur seal protecting your territory.

For Leu and Flaherty, play continues until they get tired or Flaherty's mom, Ursula, breaks things up (as you saw in the video). He's is still a baby protected under her watchful eye. But Flaherty's growing fast. If you want to see this little guy before he grows to be as big as his dad Isaac, you better come visit the New Balance Foundation Marine Mammal Center!


Fitness Friday: Fun and Games

Those sea lions, always up to something. Most recently they tore through the exhibit in a high-energy game of keep away, just another example of how you can get good exercise with some fun and games. And here, Exhibit A.

Zoe and Sierra really took porpoising to new levels with this game. It's amazing to watch them fly through the air and zip through the water. Check out more videos of them in action here, here and here.

You may have noticed the wall flowers in the background—the mature fur seals were having none of the young sea lions games. But did you hear Baranov whickering in the background? He seemed to be defending his patch of deck from the other male, Isaac, and those rascally pups.