Sweetie and I went to a program/talk by a marine biologist given at the Newport Aquarium a few months ago and Sweetie is so lucky, he won a Penguin Encounter. What is a Penguin Encounter? It's where you go behind the scenes and get up close with the penguins and hear what they are all about. Since Friday, October 16 was a day all three grandkids were off school and their mother could get the day off, too, we went! A big group of 7 of us, but the penguins didn't think it was too many.
And it was a great experience. Allie, the animal husbandry employee, gave us the little tour and lots of information, telling us many facts about the African Penguins (also called Jackass Penguins because they make a braying sound just like a donkey and it wasn't long before we were hearing that sound!!). She answered questions and told us about her many trips to research and study penguins and other animals.
Being introduced to Blueberry, Red Pepper, Green Bean, Sandy, Speckles, Randi, and Simon (those are all I can remember and I don't know how long it would take a keeper to remember whick bird was which - but they do have colored tags on their flippers to help with identification).
You really can't help laughing when they make their donkey braying sounds to get attention from Allie!
Allie took our photo with two of the penguins - I think it was Simon and Sandy?
Although some of the penguins have male names (Randy, Simon), the African penguins at the Newport Aquarium are all females. This is because they don't want captive breeding in the group due to the genetic pool these sister and cousins are in. When a male from another zoo or aquarium is ready for a mate, one of our females will go on a date with him and see if they get along :) Because these are endangered creatures, they want to keep the gene pool "flowing" and not interbreed.
Thanks, Allie, for a great time!!
After the program, we toured the Aquarium, taking our time and letting the grands do whatever they wanted to do; then a walk across the plaza to lunch at Dewey's Pizza - yum! And walking around Newport on the Levee was great because it was a gorgeous fall day on the river!