Shedd Aquarium in Chicago,while the facility is closed because of the coronavirus.
Last month, a video of some of the penguins walking around the aquarium went viral, so CBC Kids News decided to check in with the aquarium to find out more about this adorable excursion.
Christy Sterling, a supervisor in the marine mammal department at Shedd, said field trips aren’t new for the penguins, but they’re happening more frequently these days.
“We’re just taking advantage of the fact that there was no one around so we could go to areas that maybe we hadn’t gone to before,” Sterling told CBC Kids News.
On Monday, March 16, the aquarium’s animal care staff (who are still onsite 24 hours a day to keep the animals healthy and active) shared some very important footage on Twitter: a group of Shedd’s penguins on a “field trip” throughout the aquarium.
The videos, which in just a few days have amassed millions of views on Twitter, have turned the penguin personalities into virtual celebrities during this time of global hardship.
In another series of videos posted to the Shedd’s Twitter, a pair of bonded penguins named Edward and Annie wander throughout the empty aquarium, passing by a tank full of sharks and rays and an information desk. Edward and Annie, both rockhopper penguins, will begin to build their nest next week, according to the tweet from the aquarium. (This refers to the process when a male rockhopper arranges a selection small rocks in a circle to keep his mate’s eggs from rolling away, which either attracts a female, for unbonded rockhoppers, or reinforces an existing pair bond, as in Edward and Annie’s case.)
The now-famous penguin who starred in the original video is named Wellington, a rockhopper penguin.
Rockhoppers got their name because they like hopping around rocks.
If it seems as if Wellington is curious as he explores the aquarium, it’s probably because he is.
“We take them to various spots,” said Sterling. “Usually it appears that the reaction is pretty inquisitive and kind of looking around.”
And the penguins aren’t the only animals that get to walk about, she said.
Some of the sea lions are going on walks, too.
The Shedd isn’t the only temporarily shuttered aquarium that’s sharing the penguin love right now. Cape Town’s Two Oceans Aquarium, which announced its closure due to coronavirus concerns on March 17, shared a video (originally posted in 2019) of some of its African and rockhopper penguins hopping down the aquarium’s stairs.