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The re-energized focus on Long Island Sound's story is obvious in the colorfully redesigned main hall, which has been renamed Newman's Own Hall in celebration of a $1.2 million grant from Newman's Own Foundation."
– The Norwalk Citizen
Pedro Davila of White Plains is the first-place winner in The Maritime Aquarium's 13th annual "Festival of Lighthouses Contest."
A stone mason by trade, Davila titled his lighthouse, "Black Rock." It's made of precisely detailed in-laid stone, with several wooden windows, set on a rocky base that even has a stone stairway.
Because his entry received the most votes from Aquarium visitors during the holiday display, Davila was awarded the $1,500 first-place prize during a ceremony on Jan. 22. (Davila also won the contest in 2003, 2005 & 2008.)
The "Festival of Lighthouses Contest" ran from Nov. 22 to Jan. 19, and featured 24 large model lighthouses built by local artists, students and hobbyists. The annual contest’s winners are chosen by Aquarium visitors, who enjoy the lighthouses in the aquarium galleries and then vote for their favorite. More than 12,000 votes were tallied in this most recent display, which – as always – attracted a collection of widely creative works.
Other top winners are:
• second place ($750) – “Imagine Dragons”by woodworker David Bishop of Stamford (winner of the previous two contests).
• third place ($375) – “Frozen,” featuring characters from the Disney movie, by Amye Huizinga of Danbury.
• fourth place ($300) – “Lighthouse Island,” a crocheted lighthouse, by Margaret Phillips of Cos Cob.
• fifth place ($225) – “Seaside Bakery,” a dollhouse lighthouse, by Jo Stecker of Norwalk.
• sixth place ($150) – “Gingerbread – Man – Kind,” a lighthouse made of gingerbread, frosting and candies, by Donna Kern Ball of Newtown.
Winner of a new $500 bonus voting contest this year, conducted through Facebook, was "Gerald the Anglerfish" by students at The Ursuline School in New Rochelle, N.Y.
“Once again, we were able to offer Aquarium visitors a very fun and creative holiday display, all thanks to the thought and effort that our contestants put into their lighthouses,” said Chris Loynd, the Aquarium's marketing director. “For that, we are very honored and grateful.”
Entry forms for the 2015 “Festival of Lighthouses Contest” will be available on the Aquarium’s website this summer.
PLEASE NOTE: "Meerkats" will temporarily close Jan. 5-Feb. 13 to allow for adjacent exhibit construction. Be sure to visit the meerkats one more time before their hiatus!
First popularized by the comical sidekick Timon in Disney’s “The Lion King” and then celebrated in the Animal Planet television series “Meerkat Manor” (2005-2009), meerkats are members of the mongoose family that live in social “mobs” or “gangs” in burrows in the Kalahari Desert, in the southern African nations of Botswana and South Africa.
No mere cats, meerkats (Suricata suricatta) are fascinating for living in structured but cooperative societies, including a foraging strategy where adults take turns standing guard upright on their hind feet, watching for predators, while the others eat.
“These are active animals with very charismatic faces and highly interesting social structures, so they are a lot of fun for visitors to watch,” said John Lenzycki, the Aquarium’s curator of animals.
The exhibit features six sibling meerkats – three males, three females – born in the Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City, Utah. Their Maritime Aquarium habitat offers windows into their underground burrows, so all meerkat activity is within view. A viewing bubble even lets young visitors stand up right among the meerkats.
Meerkats get a pumpkin treat. Watch the video.