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The Penguins Are Here!
Gentoos and Macaronis Make a Splash at Penguins’ Rock

Chattanooga, Tenn. (April 17, 2007) – It just got cooler at the Tennessee Aquarium. Twenty penguins are now waddling along the rocky shoreline of their new home, “Penguins’ Rock.”

Two groups of penguins arrived in Chattanooga by way of refrigerated Lesco trucks. Four macaroni penguins came from the Pittsburgh Zoo in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and the other 16 penguins came all the way from SeaWorld in San Antonio, Texas. All 20 birds are part of a breeding loan program from SeaWorld. Staff members from both the Tennessee Aquarium and SeaWorld accompanied the penguins during transport to ensure the birds safety.

Upon arriving at the Aquarium, the penguins were fed a fishy combo meal of smelt and capelin which were gobbled down quickly. The gentoo and macaroni penguins were introduced into “Penguins’ Rock” where the macaronis headed straight for the water. At first the gentoos seemed a little tentative about diving in with their crested friends, but after the first one took the plunge, the rest were right behind. In fact, within the first hour the penguins appeared to be having so much fun it was hard to believe they had lived anywhere else. “They are doing fantastic,” smiled SeaWorld senior aviculturist Phyllis Gutierrez. “They are really awesome to watch. They are very comical and very acrobatic in the water. The gentoos are just like little clowns. They are probably the most comical of all the penguins. And the macaronis are real water lovers. They are going to spend a lot of time swimming in the water while the gentoos will be diving in and rocketing out.”

Seeing the penguins adjusting so well has brought smiles to everyone’s faces at the Tennessee Aquarium, especially Amy Graves, the aviculturist in charge of these amazing animals. “They are really doing a great job of adjusting. They are having a lot of fun, and it’s a lot of fun to watch,” says Graves. “Especially watching them popping in and out of the water like popcorn.”

The penguins are in Chattanooga due to some very generous support from the entire community. As a non-profit organization, the Tennessee Aquarium relies on corporate gifts, individual donations and memberships to bring people and animals together in a way that is entertaining and educational.

“The penguins’ arrival sets a new high-water mark in fulfilling our mission to ‘inspire wonder and appreciation for the natural world’,” states Aquarium president Charlie Arant. “This spectacular new gallery insures that the Aquarium remains a dynamic, exciting place to visit. It is an effort that breaks new ground. Not only are we introducing new animals never seen before in this region, but we are also asking our valued members to help make it possible. This is an investment we believe will insure our continued success.”

“Penguins’ Rock” is a permanent exhibit at the Tennessee Aquarium and opens May 3rd.

Members who join or renew before “Penguins’ Rock” opens will be among the first to see the gentoo and macaroni penguins. The price of a membership for your entire family is just $85 if you join before May 1st, and you can visit as often as you like for free. Log onto or call 267-fish.


The Tennessee Aquarium inspires wonder and appreciation for the natural world. Admission is $19.95 per adult and $10.95 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 $24.95 for adults and $14.95 for children. Advance tickets may be purchased online at 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.

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