When I was a kid I so wanted to be a marine biologist. That dream may have passed, but not my adoration for sea creatures. Luckily, my youngest is also crazy about animals. So, for this recent birthday, we headed down to Mystic to take part in their Penguins Up Close program. It made all my dreams of meeting a penguin come true and both my bookish 10-year-old and I learned so much!
What is Mystic’s Penguins Up Close program?
For over 30 minutes my son and I got to spend time in the penguin care area behind-the-scenes at Mystic Aquarium. We met and interacted with one penguin, Yellow Blue, learned all about the birds and toured the care area. Because we came during mating season, we got to see the parents sitting on their eggs. How fabulous would it be to come in the spring and see chicks? Do you know that penguins mate for life and share egg care responsibilities? The experience fulfilled an awesome experience on the bucket list!
You can watch our encounter here:
What kind of penguins does Mystic have?
Did you know that penguins don’t just live in the cold? The penguins at Mystic are African penguins from South Africa. They are the only penguins in Africa. They are endangered and Mystic Aquarium is not only helping the population here, but also travels to South Africa to help use what they have learned with the wild population. There are only around 24,000 breeding pairs left in the wild, down from 150,000 in the 1950s. The money for programs such as this promote that work. So not only did we have a fabulous day, we can feel good about it as well. We also learned about actions we can use to protect penguins, such as eating seafood more responsibly using Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Website.
While one of the penguin scientists worked with us and the penguin, the other acted as our personal photographer. This made the experience even more relaxing and I have all these great photos to keep the memories alive. We were never rushed.
Booking Your Penguin Experience
Mystic has two ways that you can meet a penguin:
- Penguin Encounter- Meet a penguin in a classroom type atmosphere with a group of people. It is cheaper than Penguins Up Close. Book the Encounter here.
- Penguins Up Close- Limited to four participants at a time. Book Penguins Up Close here.
Even if you don’t live near or are planning to visit Connecticut, many aquariums offer them, so check it out from a quality establishment.
Have you met a penguin or done a similar encounter? Let me know about it in the comments. Would appreciate you sharing this with the world if you enjoyed it or it inspired you to meet a penguin.