Friday, June 12, 2009

Penguin Encounter!!

Life goal: pet a penguin at least once in my life. *check*

I was absolutely giddy with excitement today. My sweet husband planned a private Penguin Encounter to Moody Gardens for my birthday to get to meet some penguins up close and personal. *thanks so much, Chuck!*

Met our biologist outside the penguin exhibit at 11am and then got a tour of the facilities. She showed us the kitchen where the penguin dinners are prepared. They get restaurant (food grade) quality fish.

Interesting to find out that several people stayed at Moody Gardens during the hurricane last September. The outlets in there are 12' high but the water rose 14' so they did not have access to generators. All of the penguins came through fine but the the freshwater fish in the rainforest pyramid all died. :(

The kitchen:
Then on the way to the "enrichment" room we passed the door to the penguin exhibit and got to meet a curious king penguin. So cute. The temp in the exhibit is 35 degrees. Brrrr.
Meet Hendrix the Northern Rockhopper penguin. Since they are called rockhoppers all of them are named after rock stars, hence Hendrix. They have Bon Jovi and Kid Rock and Tommy Lee too. :)
Hendrix is so cute. He is super curious and kept getting in to everything including paint! He loves to play bubbles. He hopped around chasing the bubbles.
Loved to chase the bubble wand around and try to catch it. He also pulled on our shoelaces and just liked to explore behind everything.
Hendrix got in to paint (as you see on his beak) and then went nuts. The paint was non toxic. He was just having a good time and got a little carried away. He was hopping around everywhere and feeling frisky and bit my pants leg. He flapped his wings and even smacked the biologist pretty hard on the butt while she was kneeling down. He started to get rambunctious so Hendrix had to go back to the exhibit. He really wanted to stay with us and show off though. He has a big personality. We were told that he even comes when you call his name.
Now meet Pekabo (pronounced peek-a-boo) the king penguin. She was much more laid back and a little shy at first.
She is a funny girl. She would walk across the non-toxic paint and then look back to see what she had painted. We got to keep the paintings!!! You can see two of them in the background.
Pekabo checked us out several times and was curious but not as much as Hendrix. She was a quiet girl with dignity. The penguins outside of the entrance door could hear us and were trying to break in so they could come in and play which would have been just fine to me.
They do a lot of enrichment games for the birds. They play with toys, forage, play with bubbles and get kiddie pools which they fight over even though they have 90,000 gallons to play in. Crazy birds.
I gave her directions to my house in case she can sneak out of there. :)
This was one of the coolest things I have ever done. I am still in shock that I actually pet a penguin today. Two penguins! If you get a chance to do this I highly recommend it. Check with your local aquarium or zoo if they have penguins.
Tonight we are going out for sushi with friends. Hope y'all have a great weekend. I'll be catching up with you on Sunday or Monday. :)

16 comments:

  1. Sounds like quite an adventure. Now you can move on to the next item on your life checklist. Nude skydiving, wasn't it?

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  2. kelly, this sounds like it was so much fun!! I love this post..

    and CHUCK ROCKS!! He's the man for gifting this present to you..

    So cool!!

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  3. I'm green with envy! I'm SO happy for you that you all got to experience this!

    I could watch penguins forever, I love them!

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  4. I am so happy you got to do this! It looks like so much fun :D The penguins are adorable.

    One lifelong dream accomplished :D Have a lovely weekend!

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  5. the "coolest" thing...penguins...incredible!

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  6. This is so cool!!! I love the emperor penguin looking back to see what he painted! Hendrix sounds like so much fun...you are so lucky!

    Glad you got to experience the 'guins!

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  7. How awesome! What a great birthday gift!!!

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  8. That's awesome, Kelly! Glad you got to have a great time!

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  9. How fun!! Glad you had such a good time!

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  10. From one penguin lover to another - you have my vote @blogger's choice! I'm new to your blog through Megan Telpner's blog. Looking forward to following your blog.

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  11. My son would go crazy! He is a huge fan of penguins.

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  12. Never thought to make pet a pengiun one of my life goals, but after seeing the pictures may have to add it to the list!

    I do not want to see the nude skydiving pictures.

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  13. What a fun day! My daughter went to Sea World Career Camp and got to get into the water with the penguins. I think it was her favorite animal encounter. She loves all sea animals and is working on getting to Sea World to be an orca trainer.
    Path to Health

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  14. AWW your hubby is soooo sweet!!! I envy you!!

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  15. I'm so behind on reading (and posting), but I had to comment on this one. I was so excited when you said that you would be doing this, and it was even more cool than I imagined. I'm so jealous, and these penguins are ADORABLE!! This may be one of the coolest gifts ever. I wish I had some penguin art. Such fun! :-)

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