(WITI) -- Penguins are some of the most beloved animals in zoos and aquariums today. However, these animals are much more than their adorable waddles, beautiful markings and quirky personalities.
Penguins are a unique and important part of our natural world, and on Saturday, April 25, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Milwaukee County Zoo will host its first “World Penguin Day,” to highlight these remarkable animals, and to draw attention to their dwindling populations in the wild.
Here are some of the activities the Zoo has planned for the day:
- Be sure to wear your finest tuxedo (or plenty of black and white clothing will do just fine!) on this special day to draw attention to the plight of wild penguins and the need to conserve these precious birds. The first 100 visitors wearing black and white will receive a plush penguin toy.
- Learn about how our zookeepers care for penguins that need to be hand-reared. Animal care staff feed them what appears to be a milkshake made from ground fish and supplements. Visitors can purchase a similar milkshake, except theirs will be delicious strawberry milk, instead of fish! Proceeds benefit the Humboldt Penguin Conservation Fund, in partnership with the Zoological Society.
- Donate “Pennies for Penguins!” Even though it’s common practice to make a wish and toss a coin into a body of water, doing so can hurt the animals that live there. See an actual X-ray from one of our penguins who had a coin lodged in her stomach. Instead of tossing a coin into water, toss them into a special jug, with the proceeds benefitting the Punta San Juan (PSJ) reserve in Peru, home to the largest Humboldt penguin colony in Peru.
- Learn how Antarctic penguins stay warm in bone-chilling water through a special activity showing how blubber acts as an insulator for these cold-weather species. You’ll see firsthand how blubber gives marine mammals both warmth and buoyancy.
- Enjoy a special zookeeper talk presented by one of our Humboldt penguin keepers. You’ll learn more about the care involved in making sure the Zoo penguins are healthy, enriched and monitored on a daily basis.