After Closing Down, Shedd Aquarium Allows Its Penguins To Roam Around And Explore

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.




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.”


Wellington the Rockhopper Penguin
Shedd Aquarium


“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!”

edward and annie the bonded penguins
Shedd Aquarium


“Penguins like Edward and Annie will begin to build their nests next week.”

bonded penguins exploring shedd aquarium
Shedd Aquarium


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.”

bonded penguins exploring the shedd aquarium
Shedd Aquarium

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.



Wellington seems to be a crowd favorite

“Wellington meets sea otters!”

wellington visits the sea otters
Shedd Aquarium


“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.”

wellington leads a group of penguins through the aquarium premises
Shedd Aquarium


The adorable coverage of these penguins’ adventures have certainly got people talking








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.

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