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WEar Your Best "Tuxedo"
to the Milwaukee County Zoo's
World Penguin Day

Saturday, April 22, 2017


What’s black and white and cute all over?  Join the Milwaukee County Zoo on Saturday, April 22, as it celebrates World Penguin Day, which coincides with the annual migration of these unique, flightless birds.

Penguins are some of the most beloved animals in zoos and aquariums, and are an important component of our ecological world.  There are currently 17 different species of penguins—the largest being the Emperor penguin, weighing nearly 80 pounds, and the smallest being the little blue or “fairy” penguin, weighing only around 2 pounds.

Humboldt penguinThe Zoo has three penguin species in its collection:  Gentoo, rockerhopper and Humboldt.  The Zoo has been engaged in an important breeding program for the endangered Humboldt penguin for a number of years, and has been conducting research on a Humboldt penguin population on a small Chilean island since the early 1990’s.

Some of the day’s activities include:

  • Don your finest penguin-inspired clothing on this day to draw attention to the plight of wild penguins.  The first 100 visitors clad in black and white clothing will receive a plush penguin toy!
  • Learn about penguin adaptations, like the reason behind their distinctive black and white feathers, and how blubber enables penguins to stay warm and toasty amid the freezing Antarctic temperatures.
  • Color a penguin back into the ocean.  Learn about the threats to wild penguins and how you can help protect them.  Color a paper penguin and add it to the raft (a group of penguins floating at sea is called a “raft”), to represent doing your part to help our feathered friends.
  • Penguin maskPurchase paintings made by our penguins at the Zoo!  This enrichment exercise keeps the birds active, allowing them to exhibit instinctive behaviors similar to those seen in the wild.  All proceeds benefit penguin conservation.
  • Design your very own penguin mask, so you can look just like our black-and-white buddies here at the Zoo! 
  • Enjoy a special zookeeper talk presented by one of our Humboldt penguin keepers.  You’ll learn all about the care involved in making sure the Zoo penguins are healthy and enriched on a daily basis.

Join the Milwaukee County Zoo from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on this special day for all the festivities!  Every year at the end of April, scientists have observed penguins returning home after spending months at sea.  Researchers began to plan for the penguins’ arrival after observing this phenomenon, creating a time for celebration based on the penguins’ annual migration appearance.

For more information on World Penguin Day, contact the Zoo’s Marketing and Communications Division at 414.256.5466.