Moms come in all shapes and sizes—something that’s especially true for the animal kingdom.

Whether your kids are furred, feathered, or flippered, motherhood is never easy. This Mother’s Day weekend, we’re highlighting some of the Aquarium’s favorite moms!


Tipper the California Sea Lion

Tipper and Ron snuggling

We can’t talk about Aquarium moms without mentioning Tipper, the California sea lion, mom to the indomitable and adorable Ron. Born on July 2, 2017, Ron is Tipper’s first baby. At nearly two, Ron is much more independent than he was as a pup (no more nursing) so Tipper should get to spend her Mother’s Day relaxing in the sun.

She’s earned it! Learn more about what goes in to raising a sea lion pup.

African Peng-wins

It’s African penguin breeding season at the Aquarium! African penguins (Spheniscus demersus) are in danger of extinction, so our penguin biologists are doing all they can to keep the birds in our care happy and healthy, and that means maintaining a thoughtful breeding program. Next time you visit, keep an eye out for some of our all-star African penguin moms. Peeko (a blue and white ID band) and Harlequin (a purple ID band) have each raised EIGHT healthy chicks!

A note from penguin biologist Shanon Freyer: Even though these moms are great it’s important to remember it’s a two-parent job to raise a chick (the species we have both share incubating and feeding responsibilities)!

penguin biologist holding african penguins

Seven Right Whale Moms

North Atlantic right whale mother and calf

This winter, seven North Atlantic right whales gave birth to calves. With fewer than 415 right whales alive today, the moms with their calves were a very welcome sight. Especially since last winter, when no new calves were born. Still, our Anderson Cabot Center right whale scientists say the species isn’t out of the woods yet. Average annual births are usually around 20, so seven calves, while better than zero, still leaves these endangered whales with a long way to go.

Right whale scientist Philip Hamilton calls the new moms “a spark of hope” for the endangered species.

Photo by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, taken under NOAA permit 20556-01.