Friday, February 27, 2009

SC Zoo's Penguins in New Habitat

South Carolina Finally Is Able To Get The Penguins Indoors

By Beth Nathan

Charleston, SC - Flightless birds arrive at the South Carolina Aquarium Charleston, S.C. - February 25, 2009 - From San Diego to Charleston, 4 Magellanic penguins flew into their new home, Penguin Planet, last night at the South Carolina Aquarium. The birds, on loan from SeaWorld San Diego will be visiting the Aquarium for a limited time only.

"They are actively exploring their new habitat and adjusting well," said Dr. Shane Boylan, the Aquarium's full-time veterinarian. The birds, all male, were all hatched at SeaWorld parks. During their stay at the Aquarium they will receive regular on-site veterinary exams from Dr. Boylan and enjoy a diet of assorted fresh fish.

Magellanic penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus) are a near threatened species distinguished by two brown stripes on their chests. They are a small bird ranging from 24-28 inches tall and average 8-11 pounds in weight. Magellanic penguins are typically found in the Falkland Islands, Chile and Argentina coasts. They prey on small fishes and invertebrates. Natural predators for the birds include Southern sea lions, leopard seals, and Patagonian foxes. A near threatened species, there is estimated to be only 1,300,000 pairs of Magellanic penguins in the world.

Opening March 21, 2009, Penguin Planet will feature a Magellanic penguin habitat and 550 square feet of gallery space. Located on the Aquarium's first floor, guests will have the opportunity to see these aquatic flightless birds firsthand through the exhibit's 10 foot wide window allowing for underwater viewing. Included in general admission, Penguin Planet will delight and educate visitors through its awe-inspiring Magellanic penguins, children's interactive learning games, educational exhibits on climate change effects in South Carolina and of course - daily programs staring the penguins!

Penguin Planet grand opening festivities include special member only previews, a Penguins n' Pajamas Family Sleepover on Friday, March 20, 2009 and the grand opening celebration on Saturday, March 21, 2009. The experience, set to open in March will be a temporary exhibit, visiting through March 2010.

The public can keep up with the penguins online by visiting,

An accredited institution by the Association of Zoo's and Aquarium's (AZA), the South Carolina Aquarium's Penguin Planet exhibit has approval from the AZA Penguin Taxon advisory group. AZA is the leading accrediting organization for zoos and aquariums and accredits only those institutions that have achieved meticulous standards for animal health, education, wildlife conservation and science. With approximately 2,400 animal exhibitors licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture, only 10% of the institutions are accredited.
For all media inquiries, please contact Beth Nathan at (843) 579-8660 or

Please click here to visit the South Carolina Aquarium's online Press Room.
About the South Carolina Aquarium:
The South Carolina Aquarium, Charleston's most visited attraction, features thousands of amazing aquatic animals from river otters and sharks to loggerhead turtles in more than 60 exhibits representing the rich biodiversity of South Carolina from the mountains to the sea. Dedicated to promoting education and conservation, the Aquarium also presents fabulous views of Charleston harbor and interactive exhibits and programs for visitors of all ages.

The South Carolina Aquarium, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, is open Monday - Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. (last ticket sold at 5 p.m.) from April 1 to August 15 and is open Monday - Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. (last ticket sold at 4 p.m.) from August 16 to March 31. The Aquarium is closed Thanksgiving Day, half day Dec. 24 (open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.) and Dec. 25. Admission prices are: Children 1 and under (free); Youth 2-11 ($10); Adults ($17); Seniors 62+ ($16). Military, senior, college and group discounts are available. Memberships are available by calling 843.577.FISH. For more information call 843.720.1990 or visit

Story and image courtesy of Zoo and Aquarium Visitor @

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