Monday, February 14, 2011

The NEW Single Most Important Day of My Life

You may remember my love of the Edinburgh Zoo penguin parade. Well, that experience has now been surpassed by the Moody Gardens Seal and Penguin Experience. This past weekend, we spent almost 6 amazing hours interacting with the penguins and seals in the Aquarium Pyramid.

We were keepers for a day, so first we cleaned their exhibit. Yay penguin poo!

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Next, we prepared their diet (read: stuffed vitamins into dead fish)

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Then we got to feed the penguins by hand. We don't have any pictures of this because it's harder than it looks! We had plenty of time to bond with them in the exhibit throughout the day. Originally, we had planned that Eddy would create a diversion to distract the keeper so that I could hug a penguin. It turns out this was not necessary. The king penguins were very social and liked to be petted and hugged! Here's Eddy getting friendly with one of our favorites--Bumblebee.

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We both had a couple of "romantic encounters" with Bumblebee, so that was very v-day apropos. Bumblebee has a genetic disorder that prevents him from growing feathers on this stomach.

After lunch, we got to pet one of the seals named Porter.

Porter only has one eye and one of the other seals, Squirt, is completely blind. But they are well-adjusted and frisky.

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We also got a sneak peek at the two newest penguins--a baby Gentoo and baby Chinstrap penguin. These guys aren't old enough yet to brave the public exhibit, but the Gentoo will be out on exhibit at the end of March and the Chinstrap should be out soon after that.

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Finally, we did some penguin art with our friend Bumblebee and another King penguin named Creole.

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This was an amazing opportunity to learn more about penguins and seals and have a chance to interact with them! Thanks so much, Carol, for the most amazing birthday present ever!