Warm-Weather Penguins

Photo via Aquarium of the Pacific

When you think about penguins, you probably picture a scene filled with ice and snow. At least that’s what we did before we visited the Aquarium of the Pacific’s new Magellanic penguin exhibit. It turns out that most penguins (10 out of 17 species) live in temperate areas and never even see frigid weather. That explains why these friendly Magellanic penguins, who frolic in a special habitat at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, are completely in their element.

Magellanic penguins (named after the explorer Ferdinand Magellan) live in coastal climates in South America, particularly Chile and Argentina. They’re petite little creatures – they grow to about two-and-a-half feet tall and weigh about 15 pounds when grown. But they vocalize to communicate, and each has a voice that is as distinctive as a human fingerprint. During our most recent visit, we got to know some of the friendlier penguins in the exhibit – specifically Kate, Avery, and Floyd (each penguin has a clearly labeled name tag), who were happy to slide up against the glass to greet us.

If you visit the aquarium’s new June Keyes Penguin Habitat, you can get to know more than a dozen penguins by name. Stop by and wave to them in front of the glass, or duck into the crawl-in space to watch them swim over and say hello. Miss them once you’re gone? You can watch them through a live cam above the water or under the water; or you can follow Avery the penguin on Twitter (no joke!).

Aquarium of the Pacific, 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, CA (562) 590-3100. Open 9 AM to 6 PM daily. General admission, $14,95 (kids) to $24.95 (adults); annual memberships with free admission begin at $45 for students, $55 for individuals.

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