Friday, August 12, 2011

A Day with Penguins

If you follow me on Twitter you most likely read one of my tweets about planning my boyfriends, Eric, birthday. If not let me explain. Last year for his 30th birthday I got him the day off of work, which was easy since he works for my dad, and planned a day of birthday fun. Though, I didn't tell him until he was outside in his work clothes ready to start his day. It made it that much more of surprise when he found out he didn't have to go to work. I had handed him a piece of paper with a silly poem I created that basically informed him that it's his birthday and did he really think I would let him go to work and then it told him we would spend the day at  the NYC Aquarium (If you haven't been don't go. I know that might sound terrible but it is one of the worst aquariums I have been too.) After the aquarium we walked the Coney Island boardwalk and I gave him another piece of paper that told him we would be going into Manhattan for dinner at Sushi Samba (this place I would definitely recommend especially their mojitos). As we ate I handed him another piece of paper and tickets to see Blue Man Group. We ended the night meeting the performers then driving home listening to music. It was an awesome day. An awesome birthday. So of course this year all I could think was how am I going to top that?

It was days of looking up things to do/places to go and on a smaller budget than last year. Eric loves aquariums. He loves marine life and can spend hours staring at a fish tank. On Long Island we have the Atlantis Marine World Aquarium (which is worth the trip. It's a beautiful, clean aquarium) and just recently they opened up a new butterfly exhibit. Granted we've been to the aquarium more times than I could count, but figured what they heck. It's something he loves so why not. On the website I came across a penguin encounter. How cool is that? We could actually hang out with penguins for forty five minutes. Sign me up. So naturally I did just that.

The day of his birthday I let him get dressed for work (I get amusement out of it) he said goodbye and was about to walk out the door when I yelled "Wait!" He came in and I handed him a piece of paper with a number one on it (I have a thing for Publisher). It basically told him we would spend the day at the aquarium. I then cooked breakfast and if you knew me you would know this was a big deal. We headed out once our plates were clean (breakfast was darn good if I do say so myself). I didn't give him another piece of paper detailing the penguin encounter until we got to the aquarium. 

We were put in a group with five young girls and of course I got a look or four from him. I just rolled my eyes and focused on our guide. She brought us into the actual penguin exhibit. So we were behind the clear walls of the tank with the penguins while people watched us from the outside. It was so cool. We met all the penguins that were all named after Seinfeld characters. At one point one of the penguins, Mona I believe, was staring down Eric's flip flop. She literally was crouched down looking like she might attack. He asked the obvious question "Uh is she going to attack my foot?" The guide told him no that she was just focusing on the reflection my camera was making on the ground. Then she disappeared and came back with a mirror. She held it up until a bright reflection shimmered on the rocks and suddenly every penguins (13 in all) head snapped up and in sync moved back and forth following the shimmer of light. It was the funniest thing I have ever seen. She said for some reason they love reflections and try to chase them.

After we finished with the adult penguins we went to Penguin Preschool where we met Pam, Kevin and Angela (All named after characters from The Office). All three were younger than two years, but already full grown. However, they were sweeter and friendlier and even more adorable. They listened to our guide as children listen to their mother. She said come here and they waddled over to her. She told them to go swimming and they jumped in their pool. She brought them around and we were able to pet them and then at the end we got to take pictures with Kevin. And yes I always look that awkward in pictures.

After Penguin Preschool we said goodbye to our friends and explored the rest of the aquarium. The butterfly exhibit we saved for last and it was awesome. We stepped into a peaceful indoor garden and there were hundreds of butterflies flying around us. Eric was hoping one would land on him and right before we walked out a beautiful yellow and black butterfly landed directly on his chest.

From the aquarium we went to The Long Ireland Brewery tasting room that just recently opened as well. We got to taste the four beers they had on tap and then got to taste them again. We bought a growler of raspberry wheat and headed home. I took a nap. Hanging out with penguins is exhausting. After my nap we went to his favorite sushi restaurant, Kotobuki, and had an amazing dinner. So all in all I think this year came very close to topping last year's birthday. Below are a few more pics. 





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