Penguins Break 'Social Distancing' Rules as They Take Field Trip Around Aquarium

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- With the Shedd Aquarium temporarily closed to the public through the end of March, the penguins decided to take a field trip around the aquarium and experience what it is like to be on the other side of the glass.

On Sunday, a group of rockhopper penguins were allowed to leave their habitat (with supervision, of course) and go explore!

“Without guests in the building, caretakers are getting creative in how they provide enrichment to animals,” the aquarium told the Chicago Tribune. “Introducing new experiences, activities, foods and more to keep them active, encourage them to explore, problem-solve and express natural behaviors.”

The aquarium posted a video to Facebook on Sunday of one of the penguins, named Wellington, meeting some fish in the Amazon exhibit.

"Penguins in the Amazon?! Some of the penguins went on a field trip to meet other animals at Shedd. Wellington seemed most interested in the fishes in Amazon Rising! The black-barred silver dollars also seemed interested in their unusual visitor," the aquarium wrote. 

The video has been shared on Facebook over 1,700 times and had over 400 comments.

The fun continued Tuesday, as penguins, Edward and Annie explored the rotunda.

"They are a bonded pair of rockhopper penguins, which means they are together for nesting season. Every spring is nesting season for the penguins here at Shedd, and this year is no different! Next week, penguins, including Edward and Annie, will begin to build their nests. You’re invited to digitally join us for the nesting coverage!" the Shedd wrote in a post.

"In the meantime, we will share a variety of animal activities, and yes, Wellington will return! While this may be a strange time for us, these days are relatively normal for the penguins and other animals at Shedd. Our caregivers are constantly providing new activities, experiences, food and more to allow the animals to express natural behaviors—even if that includes simply exploring. Let us know what penguin activities you want to see!"

The Shedd Aquarium announced Friday they are temporarily closed to the public for two weeks through Sunday, March 29.  

"While we are disappointed that we won’t be able to welcome you to the Aquarium during this time, we are closing out of an abundance of caution and to do our part in the social distancing efforts to help stop the further spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19)," the institution said in a statement. 

Those wanting to stay connected, can go behind-the-scenes via Shedd’s Facebook, Twitter , and Instagram, as well as explore, experience and learn more about the aquatic animal world through their other digital resources.

Craving more animal interaction during the self-quarantine? American Dairy is also hosting virtual farm tours for students to watch. Check them out below:

For kids aged 4 to 9, watch our tour from Dutch Hollow Farm.

Kids aged 10-13 will enjoy our virtual tour from Will-O-Crest Farm.

High school kids can enjoy our tour from JoBo Holsteins Farm.

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