The spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has forced the bustling world to a standstill. People are working from home. Frantic shoppers are clearing shelves. Businesses and offices have suspended operations. And among them is Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium. The popular indoor aquarium announced their closure on March 13th, as a preventive measure against the health threat. However the aquarium came up with a quirky solution to ensure that both their residents and patrons don’t feel blue. A few days after their closure announcement, Shedd Aquarium surprised their Twitter followers with a video of one of their resident penguins exploring the premises.
Shedd Aquarium has been open for over 90 years. And every year, they manage to draw a crowd of 2 million people. Normally, this figure would inspire awe, but not at this time. We’re all being told to stay home, to avoid catching the currently incurable COVID-19. In response to this, crowd-drawing establishments like Shedd Aquarium had to close to discourage excursions, to protect their residents, their staff, and the public.
As part of preventative measures to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Shedd Aquarium will be temporarily closed for the next two weeks.
More information: https://t.co/uQJ7k2On33
In the meantime, let us know what animal updates you want! ? pic.twitter.com/6DA0P5KQb0
— Shedd Aquarium (@shedd_aquarium) March 13, 2020
Shedd Aquarium surprised the Internet when they decided to let their penguins have their very own field trip in the premises
Shedd Aquariums surprised their Twitter followers with a video of Wellington the Rockhopper penguin exploring the indoor aquarium’s Amazon fish section. In the 27-second long clip, you can see the penguin and fish curiously studying one another. This brief clip was enough to hook animal-loving Twitter users. The video has clocked in 3.5 million views and has earned 163.8k likes.
After Wellington’s happy reception, Shedd staff decided to continue the penguin excursion series with Edward and Annie, who’ve bonded for this year’s nesting season. The penguins’ nesting season has begun. And Shedd has promised that we’ll all be able to witness this event in the comfort of our homes, without disturbing the penguins.
“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.”
“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!”
“Penguins like Edward and Annie will begin to build their nests next week.”
For those worrying, the penguins aren’t totally left on their own
“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.”
Despite closing their doors to the public, leaving their residents unattended is not an option for Shedd Aquarium’s staff. The animals’ caregivers still watch over them, and keep them engaged and entertained despite the sudden lack of visitors. In fact, they took advantage of the situation to let their residents stretch their legs. It’s a great opportunity for them to learn more about their home and the creatures they share it with.
It's a #StPatricksDay penguin party! ?? While we can't go out & party, the animals can! Our caretakers are committed to providing enriching activities (like edible shamrocks) for the animals with or without guests here to see it. Check in throughout the day to see more! pic.twitter.com/Xz1bXd2zk0
— Shedd Aquarium (@shedd_aquarium) March 17, 2020
Wellington seems to be a crowd favorite
“Wellington meets sea otters!”
“Where’s Wellington now? This little rockhopper took a tour of Shedd’s Wild Reef… and he’s not alone! A few of the Magellanic penguins that call Shedd home joined this penguin party, check out this massive habitat.”
The adorable coverage of these penguins’ adventures have certainly got people talking
Oregon Zoo took the baby elephant around the zoo to visit the other animals. pic.twitter.com/c0zEMD6nyG
— Chris Hawks (@CHawksRun) March 16, 2020
calling this a peng-win!!
— Monterey Bay Aquarium (@MontereyAq) March 16, 2020
Fish are food? No, fish are too big for food. Fish are friend?
— Elizabeth Evans (@EClaireEvans) March 15, 2020
He's adorable, looks like an overdressed tourist enjoying a day at the zoo. ???
— Barbara ??? (@babsnyny) March 16, 2020
Please let the octopuses go on an adventure next!
— zac (at least i think) (@pr0zac) March 15, 2020
What a great idea to let the natives visit one another! Kudos to the staff. Thanks for making my day! ?
— Nan the Ram (@NandraR) March 16, 2020
Caretakers stay well all these beautiful creatures big and small need you. ???????????????
— ??????????? (@lpont117) March 16, 2020
I… I love them.
Thank you for this bright spot in a tough week!
— Kyle Lefler (@kylelefler) March 16, 2020
Penguin content is always welcome. ????
— Gotham_Knowledge (@GothamKnowledge) March 16, 2020
"see annie its gonna be like this everyday for us once we take over"
— Fonzy Lopez ? (@Grizzlegoist) March 17, 2020
Museum Campus: now 1,000% more adorable. ?
— Field Museum (@FieldMuseum) March 16, 2020
The staff put together a fun St. Patrick’s Day party for the penguins. The penguins got to wear green sequined bow ties and nibble on edible shamrocks! These charming residents sure to know how to make the most of their ‘alone time’! Shedd Aquarium may have closed their doors until April 20, but you are still more than welcome to show your support for them. You can choose to support their mission through symbolically adopting an aquatic animal, making a donation, or becoming a member.