Camden’s Hippos Get Playful in Made-Over Home

The hippos at the newly-renovated Adventure Aquarium in Camden are happy in their new home--and so are the patrons.

“They’re kissing!”

It’s not often you hear a 5-year-old boy squeal with joy watching a playful smooch. But it’s happening at the revitalized Hippo Haven exhibit at Adventure Aquarium in Camden.

Admittedly, the kissing “couple,” hippopotamuses named Genny and Button, look a bit cartoonish with their huge faces and bulbous bodies. Swimming in their 60,000-gallon pool, the female pair, who weigh 4,200 and 3,100 pounds, respectively, did flips and jumps, came nose-to-nose with spectators separated by a glass wall, and yes, touched lips in what humans would call a kiss.

The 5-year-old was delighted.

Animal keepers at the aquarium were pleased as well. When they unveiled the $1 million update of their 9-year-old hippopotamus exhibit at the end of May, they found that the new light-and-music show inspired both hippos to become more playful.

“They’re way more active now,” says Ann-Marie Bisagno, the aquarium’s supervisor of birds and mammals.

Underneath a light display that whimsically depicts African river life, the hippos ham it up, play with tractor tires and interact with their audience—from behind the glass, of course. Several times a day, keepers lead chats outside the tank. “The demonstrations and the hippos’ behavior change throughout the day,” Bisagno says.

Adventure Aquarium is open 10 am to 5 pm daily. General admission is $25.95 for adults and $18.95 for ages 2 to 12. Children under 2, free.

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