Join the penguins on Memorial Day weekend at Aquarium of the Pacific

The Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, CA just opened its June Keyes Penguin Exhibit, which houses 13 Magellanic Penguins in an open-air enclosure that enables visitors to see them up close and personal.

The Magellanic Penguins, all 13 of them are going to be somewhat permanent inhabitants at the Aquarium of the Pacific in downtown Long Beach. The Long Beach Post noted that while the aquarium is happy to have them, the reason they arrived makes it a bittersweet story.

"The environmental pressures of global warming and overfishing have impelled many penguins to migrate ever further northward from their natural southern latitudes in search of food. Thus did four of the exhibit's penguins become stranded near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil — several hundreds of miles north of their proper habitat, which ends in Argentina."

The other nine penguins arrived care of Sea World and the San Francisco Zoo. Visitors will learn about the penguins and how to help them along with getting close enough to feel like they are part of the exhibit via a small crawl space.

The new habitat will feature educational exhibit panels, and interactive touch screens where visitors can learn more about Magellanic Penguins and others of the species and issues that are affecting their survival. The exhibit will also include nesting areas resembling the burrows that Magellanic Penguins use for laying eggs and rearing their chicks in the wild.

It has caused the aquarium to install new educational programming about all types of penguins. Two short films about penguins, a children’s program, and a penguin guest speaker series are all part of the new exhibit.

There will even be a penguin encounter starting on June 2 where visitors can set a date to go behind the scenes for the chance to feed a penguin while learning about these birds. Reservations are required to participate in the new Penguin Animal Encounter and costs $90 per person ages 10-adult.

The Aquarium of the Pacific opened its door in 1998 and has become a favorite stop for convention visitors to Long Beach as well as the general public who seem to return often to the lovely space on the Rainbow Harbor, across the water from the Queen Mary Hotel and Attraction.

In addition to the new penguin exhibit the aquarium welcomes visitors without charge on Friday nights for what is called Shark Lagoon Nights. Guests will have the opportunity to touch bamboo sharks and see large sharks such as sandtigers as well as rays in the Aquarium’s Shark Lagoon. No other areas of the museum will be open to the public on these designated nights.

On Saturdays, an educational program for pre-school and early grade school children called Saturday Family Fun is offered as a way to introduce young children to sea life. It is designed for parents and young children to interact together in a fun and dynamic learning environment.

For those kids interested in learning what it takes to become a marine animal veterinarian, the Aquairum of the Pacific offers the latest in its series entitled Job Shadow. In a three-hour program guests are treated to a behind-the-scenes look at what a typical day is like.

Activities include going on rounds to check on a range of animals currently under the veterinarians care, a tour of the veterinarian facility and even a peek at how the professionals coaxe the marine life to take their medication.

The website for the Aquarium of the Pacific has information on its hours, exhibits, directions and ticket prices. You can find that, here.

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons