Remember Madagascar? The animals in that movie would wander across the zoo after it was closed. That scene came to life at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium after much of the world headed into lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic.
These little penguins were allowed on a small “field trip” that enabled them to explore the rest of the aquarium and get a taste of what it’s like on the other side of the glass.
The aquarium had announced in a statement released on its website that it was planning to close its doors to the public until 29 March “in the best interest of overall wellness for our community and for each other.”
As you’d imagine, this left a huge room for the caretakers to get creative in how they provided enrichment to animals.
The aquarium told the Chicago Tribune, “The caretakers are introducing new experiences, activities, foods, and more to keep them active, encourage them to explore, problem-solve, and express natural behaviors.”
The aquarium shared the adorable videos of some penguins enjoying a tour of their own and getting a chance to stretch out their legs.
One of the penguins, named Wellington, met some fish in the Amazon Exhibit, and probably, the fish were lucky that this encounter happened with a glass wall in between them.
Penguins in the Amazon?! 🐧🌴— Shedd Aquarium (@shedd_aquarium) March 15, 2020
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! The black-barred silver dollars also seemed interested in their unusual visitor. pic.twitter.com/KgYWsp5VQD
Afterwards, the adventure continued, and the nesting buddies Edward and Annie explored the aquarium’s rotunda.
The adventure continues! 🐧🐧— Shedd Aquarium (@shedd_aquarium) March 16, 2020
This morning, Edward and Annie explored Shedd’s rotunda. They are a bonded pair of rockhopper penguins, which means they are together for nesting season. Springtime is nesting season for penguins at Shedd, and this year is no different! (1/3) 👇 pic.twitter.com/VdxN3oQAfe
While they are a bonded pair who never leave each other's side, we should remind you that you should practice social distancing at all instances and don't act like penguins.
Penguins like Edward and Annie will begin to build their nests next week. Join us digitally for nesting coverage! In the meantime, we will be sharing lots of different animal updates (and yes, Wellington will return!) 🐧👀 (2/3) pic.twitter.com/eCYKOwdOMz— Shedd Aquarium (@shedd_aquarium) March 16, 2020
Look at them waddle around to get that sweet Information.
While this may be a strange time for us, these days feel normal for animals at Shedd. Our caregivers are constantly providing new experiences for the animals to explore and express their natural behaviors with. Let us know what penguin activities you would like to see! (3/3) pic.twitter.com/ftlow7iPHl— Shedd Aquarium (@shedd_aquarium) March 16, 2020
These videos remind us of the uplifting power of clueless animals. Watching them waddle around and probably whispering “Smile and wave, boys” to each other has cheered up thousands of viewers, especially important at a time where anxiety and fear are widespread.