Our daughters and grandson have always loved penguins, so when our local zoo opened the largest permanent penguin exhibit in North America, I knew it would be a hit with our family. Home to Humboldt, gentoo, king, and rockhopper, the Penguin Plunge exhibit is a realistic rocky shoreline complete with a waterfall and dive pool outside, an ice cavern and rock cave on the inside. The temperature is kept extremely clean and at a constant temperature of 7C. to keep the penguins happy and healthy.
There are daily talks by the keepers at feeding time in the mornings, where you can learn about these magnificent creatures who come to our zoo from far-reaching places as Antarctica, Chile, and Peru! And then there are the very special, limited time only walks with the King penguins. This event generally runs from mid-January to the end of March (weather permitting) but often will be canceled if the day is too windy, too cold, or too warm. As I said, it is a very special occasion when it happens, and a wonderful way for your family to experience penguins up close and personal.
We have traveled to many places in North America where we have seen a variety of penguin species, but never have we been able to walk along with them as they waddle their way through their daily exercise, something a king penguin wants to do even in the wild, where they travel great distances to reach open water. Of course, even at the zoo, the kings get to decide whether they will go for a walk that day or not.
It’s hard to believe it, but 2019 marks the seventh year of Walking with the Penguins at the Calgary Zoo! It hardly seems like yesterday when our girls bundled EJ up into his stroller, and made their way to the new exhibit. The first site of the elegant waddlers was amazing, walking along amongst zookeepers and guests. This is certainly a field trip that is a step above the usual!
Our family has returned for the penguin walk every year since, and has learned a lot about penguins along the way.
Did you know:
- Just before hatching, baby penguins call to their parents from inside their egg.
- Rockhoppers are found on only two small islands in the southern Atlantic Ocean.
- Humboldt penguins are in danger from fishermen in their native Peru and Chile.
- Kings will walk 30 km to reach open water.
- Gentoo penguins are romantic, giving each other gifts of pebbles and rocks.
We look forward to learning more about penguins as we visit both our own zoo and while we travel. By learning about this important species, we can be part of the solution to their threatened and endangered status. One thing the Calgary zoo encourages us to do is to take part in their 1 Degree of Change challenge. The idea is to turn down your house temperature by 1C in the winter and imitate the animals to keep warm, adding fuzzy socks or a sweater rather than turning up the heat. I think this is the least we can do to help our feathered friends!
Kimberley Linkletter – After a 20-plus year career in politics and government, my life took a turn and I became a homeschooling gramma to our energetic and adventurous grandson EJ. There is nothing we like better than loading up our car and hitting the road to see what we can see. As my girls have always said, “Mom says everywhere is on the way to somewhere,” so we love to take detours along our route. You find some of the best places that way!
We keep busy reviewing homeschool products, visiting small town (and not so small town) diners and cafes, museums, National Parks, hotels, and campgrounds.
EJ and I (Miss Kimmy to my friends) love to share our adventures with you here on Vintage Blue Suitcase.