Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Single Most Important Day of My Life

I am a penguin fanatic. See exhibit A:

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We own no fewer than 3 stuffed penguins, one of which is a 3 foot king penguin who sleeps in bed with us--his name is Captain Duvet. So when we found on that the Edinburgh Zoo has the largest penguin exhibit and the largest population of captive penguins in the world, we had to go.

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The Gentoo penguins had just begun their nesting season, so we got to watch some amazing nesting and coupling behavior.

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There was even a baby King penguin.

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The most amazing part of the visit, however, was the penguin parade. I was a little bit worried about the parade because zoos sometimes make me feel sad if the animals don't look well-treated or well-adjusted. I had visions of keepers parading the penguins around for the pleasure of spectators. Also, I expected all kinds of fan fare that would make these little birds anxious. I am happy to report that the parade was very well-handled. All of the spectators lined up along a path and were warned not to touch the penguins as they walked by (they bite). Then the gates were opened and any penguins who chose to walk the "parade route" between one part of the enclosure and another part were allowed to go at their own pace, closely supervised by the keepers.

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They get higher parade participation in the Summer months, but we got a group of 8 Gentoo penguins who walked the parade that day. Needless to say, it was a rare opportunity to see these beautiful birds up close.

Click here for more photos of our visit to the Edinburgh Zoo


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