National Sea Monkey Day is observed every year on May 16th, and is a day dedicated to celebrating this much-loved childhood ‘pet’. Most people have very happy memories of mail ordering their first Sea Monkeys and awaiting the delivery of the shipment of these magical seeming sea creatures.
Popular in the 60s and 70s, Sea Monkeys are a ‘pet’ that almost every child had at one point or another. Not only were they popular in the 60s and 70s but also right through the 90s and noughties too.
Usually, the arrival of Sea Monkeys came with a special mini aquarium that could be used to hatch your Sea Monkeys, and then once they had hatched, the aquarium-like tank could be used for them to live and grow in.
What actually are Sea Monkeys? Sea Monkeys are a special type of Artemia – also known as brine shrimp – that are super small. How did they get their name? Sea Monkeys got their name from the fact that they have a monkey-like tail shape, making them look like monkeys of the sea instead of traditional shrimp.
Sea Monkeys are sold as eggs that can then be added to water in their aquarium-like tank, along with water and a variety of specialist chemicals to encourage them to hatch.
If you were a comic book fan as a kid, or a science buff, you may remember these ads existing in your favorite magazine or catalog. They were heavily marketed in the same pages as X-Ray Goggles, Magic Tricks, and chemistry sets. They advertised the most unlikely of pets, monkeys that lived in salt water that you could easily have for your own. They’d be sent to you freeze-dried, and then burst into life when added to water. What you may not know is that Sea-Monkeys exploded into an amazing fortune that were loved by people everywhere.
History of National Sea Monkey Day
The history of sea monkeys starts, oddly enough, with ant farms. Milton Levine had popularized the idea of Ant-farm kits in 1956 and, presumably inspired by the success of his idea, Harold von Braunhut invented the aquatic equivalent with brine-shrimp. It was really ingenious looking back on it, and ultimately he had to work with a marine biologist to really bring it all together. With just a small packet of minerals and an aquarium you’d suddenly have a place rich with everything your brine-shrimp needed to survive.
So why sea monkeys? Because who was going to buy brine-shrimp? It was all a good bit of marketing, though the name didn’t come about for nearly 5 years. They were originally called “instant life”, referencing their ‘just add water’ nature. But when the resemblance of their tails to monkeys’ tails was noted by fans, he changed it to ‘Sea-Monkeys’ and so it’s been ever since! The marketing was amazing too! 3.2 million pages of comic book advertising a year, and the money just flowed in the door.
So what are Sea Monkeys exactly? They’re clever mad science really. Sea Monkeys don’t (or didn’t) exist in nature before they were created in a lab by hybridization. They’re known as Artemia NYOS (New York Ocean Science) and go through anhydrobiosis, or hibernation when they are dried out. Then, with the right mixture of water and nutrients they can spring right back into life! Amazing
Why are Sea Monkeys so famous?
These small hybrids have become famous over the years and have appeared on a variety of well-known television shows, including South Park, The Simpsons, and Desperate Housewives – they’ve become a key part of childhood culture for children across the globe.
Did you know that Sea Monkeys have even been into space? That’s right, in 1998 Sea Monkeys went into space with John Glenn onboard the Space Shuttle Discovery. The Sea Monkeys spent nine days in space and then returned to earth, where they then hatched eight weeks later. Scientists from across the globe were amazed to see that the Sea Monkeys were unaffected by their space travels and hatched healthily.
All sorts of animals have traveled into space, but Sea Monkeys are most definitely the most unique ‘pet’ to have ever made it into outer space!
Did you know that Sea Monkeys also had their own television show? The TV show was called ‘The Amazing Live Sea Monkeys’; it focused on the lives of three microscopic Sea Monkeys called Dave, Bull and Aquarius who were enlarged to human size by a crazy professor. The plot of the show revolved around the comical struggles faced by the Sea Monkeys and the professor in the human world. The TV show was a great success with fans of Sea Monkeys from across the globe, and gave children the opportunity to learn more about these magical creatures.
How to celebrate National Sea Monkey Day
If you love the idea of celebrating National Sea Monkey Day by buying yourself a set of Sea Monkeys to hatch and care for, you might be wondering where you can buy these from. The good news is that today you can order Sea Monkeys online, as well as buying them from toy stores. Sea Monkeys are available to buy online and have shipped directly to your home.
National Sea Monkey Day can also be used as an opportunity to educate children on the importance of caring for ‘pets’ properly, and teaching them about the responsibility that comes with ‘pet’ ownership. Sea Monkeys make great first pets as they’re easy to care for and look after but still require lots of attention. Why not celebrate National Sea Monkey Day by educating your children more about ‘pet’ care?
Sea Monkey day can also be celebrated by buying yourself a set of these amazing animals and experiencing the wonder for yourself! These little guys have orbited the earth and even gone to the moon, telling us a lot about how life survives in space. So have your own amazing Sea-Monkey kit by buying some today!