When we heard we could go “backstage” at Audubon Aquarium and not only interact with penguins, but also feed them and return to the office with paintings that penguins had created, we decided that this Try This would need all four of us to take part.
Audubon Senior Aviculturist Darwin Long was our guide through the world of penguins – breeds, feeding habits, reasons for certain species inclusion on the endangered species list, mating habits and so much more.
We helped prepare their afternoon meal; cuddled with baby Humpty and rockhopper Bunny; chose the colors in which they would create art for us; and went into the habitat to feed and cuddle with these amazing creatures some more.
Kelly Massicot: I thought I learned everything I needed to know about penguins from Happy Feet, but Darwin (Long) blew my mind with all of the interesting facts he shared with us. Who knew there were so many different kinds of penguins? Each type has different personalities, living habits and mating rituals. And those female Adelie penguins really know what they’re doing when it comes to finding a mate; maybe we should all take their dating advice.
Sarah Ravits: The penguins were much more social than I thought they would be, and a couple of them were real characters – like Sticky, who grabbed my sweater with his beak and tried to pull me into the water, and Georgie, who pooped on my foot right after I fed him!
Melanie Warner Spencer: It’s surprising how affectionate the penguins are when you’re holding one. The baby, Humpty, was especially sweet and loved to nibble on my bracelets and my hair.
Morgan Packard: I had such a great time cuddling with the penguins and watching them interact with each other that it wasn’t until I got home and was prattling on to my husband about everything I had learned that I understood what an educational experience this is as well.
Backstage Penguin Pass at Audubon Aquarium
Available Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
Tickets are $115 per person for Audubon members; $125 for non-members (purchasing in advance is recommended)
Limited to six guests, age 4 or older, for each pass (each person 16 or younger must be accompanied by an adult)
Visit AudubonInstitute.org/backstage-penguin-pass for more information.