Many public institutions are closed to slow the spread of the coronavirus, and Chicago’s world-renowned Shedd Aquarium is no exception. But for some residents of the Shedd, this means the observed can now become observers themselves.
Though the aquarium is closed to the public through March 29, many workers at the Shedd are still showing up to care for the animals. Some of those staffers decided to take advantage of the aquarium’s empty public spaces and let some of the penguins loose to explore.
The Shedd has been posting the adventures of a few of their rockhopper penguins on social media, and the curious, waddling birds are the exact distraction we all need right now. Here are the delightful Edward and Annie, a bonded pair, checking out the rotunda and exploring all kinds of aquatic life from around the world.
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The adventure continues! ð§ð§ This morning, Edward and Annie explored the rotunda. They are a bonded pair of rockhopper penguins, which means they are together for nesting season. Every spring is nesting season for the penguins here at Shedd, and this year is no different! Next week, penguins, including Edward and Annie, will begin to build their nests. You’re invited to digitally join us for the nesting coverage! In the meantime, we will share a variety of animal activities, and yes, Wellington will return! While right now is strange to us, it’s a normal day for the penguins and other animals at Shedd. Our caregivers are constantly providing new activities, experiences, food and more to allow the animals to express natural behaviors. Let us what penguin activities you want to see! ð
They also appear to have cruised right by a check-in desk for human visitors. We have a feeling they would get free entrance to the Shedd’s exhibits, anyway.
The Instagram post notes that Edward and Annie will begin to build their nests soon, and we will all be able to watch digital coverage of that.
Meanwhile, Wellington the penguin did some exploring, too. He seemed particularly interested in the tropical fish.
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Penguins in the Amazon?! ð§ð´ Some of the penguins went on a field trip to meet other animals at Shedd. Wellington seemed most interested in the fishes in Amazon Rising! Other animals like the black-barred silver dollars also seemed interested in their unusual visitors. Swipe right to view Monte’s trip in Polar Play Zone.
He seems genuinely excited to meet (and eat?) some of those Amazonian fish! Wellington is also a rockhopper penguin, and at 30 years old, he’s one of the oldest in the U.S.
Meanwhile, at Forth Worth Zoo, Hector the Patagonian mara took a stroll and met some otters in another amazing instance of animals meeting animals they normally wouldn’t:
Hector took a walk today and with new sights and smells, it was a very enriching experience! Otters Benji, Hudson and Makita appeared to be curious about their new visitor. It was enriching for them, too! Hector made a few stops through the Zoo and we’ll share those this week. pic.twitter.com/c16Wu9hhBK
— Fort Worth Zoo (@FortWorthZoo) March 16, 2020
Other aquariums and zoos are pitching in to keep our spirits up with windows into their animals’ lives while they’re closed to the public, too. Many are running live cameras so you can see what the residents are up to, including the Oregon Coast Aquarium.
Missing your feathered friends already? You can see what they’re up to at https://t.co/iRkpORRupp
— Oregon Coast Aquarium (@orcoastaquarium) March 16, 2020
Zoo Atlanta is closed, but you can watch their panda cam. Houston Zoo has a variety of webcams, too, including a giraffe cam and one that follows the industrious leafcutter ants (they are surprisingly fascinating).
A little pawsitivity for the day: The Sea Otter Cam https://t.co/TJtzzLb2wJ
— Monterey Bay Aquarium (@MontereyAq) March 16, 2020
While these virtual visits are fun for all, they can also be educational moments for kids who are schooling from home right now. Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden is hosting “home safaris” for kids, and the first was a Facebook visit with the famous baby hippo Fiona as she munches on lettuce and melons with her mama, Bibi. The zookeepers gave a quiz about hippos at the end.