“Penguins’ Rock” coming to the
Tennessee Aquarium’s Ocean Journey
Tenn. (January 23, 2007) - A big chill will soon sweep
through the Tennessee Aquarium when the latest addition
opens in May of 2007. A group of penguins are going to
waddle their way into Chattanooga and thrill Aquarium
visitors with their lively antics.
Rock” exhibit will feature 2 very active species
of cold climate penguins unique to this region. Gentoo
and Macaroni penguins will move into Ocean Journey and
take people to the world’s southern hemisphere and
the sub-Antarctic islands surrounding the South Pole.
visitors enter “Penguins’ Rock” they will
find themselves immersed in an interactive gallery that will
take them on a journey into the penguins’ world thousands
of miles away.
Imagine watching these busy birds diving into an 18,000 gallon
pool of 45 degree water, with waves rolling across the floor
to ceiling windows. On land penguins are not very graceful,
but you’ll soon understand why everyone says these birds
really “fly” underwater. With flippers providing
the speed, and their feet and tail providing steering and braking
these animals will amaze everyone with their agility below the
On land these penguins offer a wide range
of interesting behaviors as well. The Tennessee Aquarium will
have 20 birds on display, 5 pairs of Gentoo penguins and 5
pairs of Macaroni. Which means visitors will also get to view
these penguins very selectively choosing the best pebbles
for nesting materials and mating rituals. The expectation
is at some time in the future these pairs will provide hours
of fascination when eggs are laid, hatched and baby penguins
are reared by their parents. This will make “Penguins’
Rock” not only a must see exhibit . . . it will be a
“must see again and again” exhibit.
“Penguins’ Rock” will be
a fun and educational experience in several other ways as
well. Video displays will show guests penguins in their native
habitats which surround Antarctica. A touch pool will allow
visitors to feel the icy waters penguins call home. And visitors
will also be able to compare themselves to life-sized models
of three different penguin species. Lively graphics throughout
the exhibit will also take you on a fact finding scavenger
hunt of penguin points to ponder.
Penguins in the wild face several man-made
challenges including habitat destruction, over-fishing, oil
spills, and global warming. While Gentoo and Macaroni penguins
are not endangered, the birds that will be on display at the
Tennessee Aquarium will not be taken from the wild. These
birds will be acquired from Sea World in San Antonio, Texas
and transported to Chattanooga in a refrigerated truck.
are a few fast facts on the coolest critters coming
to the Tennessee Aquarium:
Pygoscelis genus includes Adelie, Chinstrap,
and Gentoo penguins.
Standing height: 30 to 35 inches
Weight: 10 to 14 pounds
Gentoo penguins breed on many of the
sub-Antarctic islands including the Falkland Islands,
South Georgia and Kerguelen Islands. Smaller populations
can be found on the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic
Peninsula. The total breeding population is estimated
at 320,000 world-wide.
Gentoo penguins at the Tennessee Aquarium
will have white markings around their eyes and over the
top of the head. The
name Gentoo refers to the inhabitants of India who wore
that resemble the
white band across this penguin’s head.
Gentoo penguins have red eyes,
orange feet, and their bills are reddish orange and
tipped with black.
Gentoos lay two eggs of equal size,
a process that is usually completed by late October.
Incubation of the eggs takes about 34 days. After the
two chicks are hatched, mom and dad put equal effort
into raising both chicks. Gentoo pairs remain together
for many years, but change nesting sites every season.
Eudyptes genus are crested penguins and include
the Erect-crested, Rockhopper, and Macaroni species.
Standing height: 25 to 28 inches
Weight: 9 to 13 pounds
Macaroni penguins breed from parts of
the Antarctic Peninsula through South Georgia Island
and the South Shetland Islands. Breeding colonies tend
to be very large and can number in the hundreds of thousands.
The total breeding population world-wide is estimated
at 9 million pairs.
Macaroni penguins will be easy to identify
at the Tennessee Aquarium. Their distinctive yellow
crest feathers will visually separate them from the
Gentoo penguins on display. In fact the
Macaroni penguins get their name from
this yellow plumage that resembled what young Englishmen
wore on their hats in the eighteenth century. Macaroni
penguins have eyes of red or varying shades of brown.
Their feet are pinkish on top and black on the bottom.
Their bills are orange.
lay two eggs at a time but their first egg is considerably
smaller in size than the second egg. The first egg takes
longer to incubate and is almost never successful. If
both eggs are lost, macaronis do not re-lay that season.
Like gentoos, macaronis practice strong mate fidelity,
but keep the same nesting sites each year.
Penguin video Macaroni
Downloadable images available at http://www.tnaqua.org/Newsroom/Photo_library.asp
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Tennessee Aquarium inspires wonder and appreciation for the
natural world. Admission is $17.95 per adult and $9.50 per
child, ages 3-12. Each ticket purchased helps support Aquarium
conservation programs. The IMAX® 3D Theater is next door
to the Aquarium. Ticket prices are $7.95 per adult and $5.50
per child. Aquarium/IMAX combo tickets are $22.95 for adults
and $13.50 for children. Advance tickets may be purchased
online at www.tnaqua.org or by phone at 1-800-262-0695. The
Aquarium, located on the banks of the Tennessee River in Chattanooga,
is a non-profit organization. Open every day except Thanksgiving
and Christmas, the Aquarium and IMAX are accessible to people
with disabilities. Members enjoy unlimited visits and other
benefits. Call 267-FISH to join.