GALVESTON, Texas, April 28, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- What's black, white and pink all over? The answer is Humboldt penguins, and Moody Gardens guests will have a chance to see them up close this summer when the Aquarium Pyramid opens May 27 with a grand reveal celebration and new penguin exhibit.
Moody Gardens is thrilled to introduce these unique warm-climate penguins that hail from Southern Hemisphere waters from the Antarctic Pole to the Equator. The addition of the Humboldts is part of the multi-phase $37 million renovation project and is the second penguin exhibit at Moody Gardens.
The Humboldts have settled into their new exhibit near the South Atlantic Penguin Habitat, home to the King, Gentoo, Chinstrap, Rockhopper and Macaroni penguins.
"We have a total of 10 Humboldts that came to us from the Oregon Zoo and Woodland Park Zoo in Washington state," said Diane Olsen, Moody Gardens assistant curator of seals and penguins.
This temperate species is found in the coastal areas of Peru and Chile. The penguins share their name with the chilly Humboldt Current, which flows north from Antarctica along the Pacific Coast of South America, where the birds live.
"Most people assume that all penguins live in the cold and on the ice. That's not the case. The Humboldts are a warmer species and can tolerate heat," Olsen said. "Their habitat is more like a desert and guests will notice that it looks very different from the South Atlantic Penguin Exhibit."
Guests will be able to see the Humboldts – a threatened species – both above water and underwater in a lower viewing area. The Humboldts are easily recognizable by the black band of feathers across their chest. Even more distinguishable are the pink patches on their face and feet, as well as the underside of their wings. That pink coloration isn't from their feathers, but the result of bare skin patches, which helps keep them cool in warmer climates.
Humboldts average about 28 inches long and weigh roughly 9 pounds. They can reach up to speeds of 30 miles per hour in the water.
"We knew we wanted to add another penguin species with this renovation, specifically a warm-climate penguin so that we could take the birds outside of their habitat to interact with guests," Olsen said. "We can take the Humboldts outside of their exhibit to do keeper chats with the birds so that guests can learn more about them and get an up close view."
Aquarium renovations will offer guests a spectacular aquarium experience including a new Gulf of Mexico Oil Rig Exhibit, Mangrove Exhibit, Caribbean Exhibit Touch Tank area and the new Flower Garden Banks Exhibit. Moody Gardens will unveil enhancements made to the Aquarium Pyramid to the public with a grand reveal May 27, just in time for Memorial Day weekend.
New exhibits will not only inspire visitor interest and empathy, but also connect visitors to specific ocean habitats. Visitors will travel from the Gulf of Mexico to the South Atlantic, the South Pacific, the North Pacific and the Caribbean. Each ocean exhibit will highlight different marine sanctuaries and different aspects of our relationship to the seas. The addition of jellyfish and tropical penguins will also be among the surprises for guests upon completion in May 2017 as this renovation further establishes the Aquarium Pyramid as the most diverse aquarium on the Gulf Coast.
To track progress of renovations, and for more information, please visit moodygardens.org or call 800-582-4673.
Moody Gardens® is a public, non-profit, educational destination utilizing nature in the advancement of rehabilitation, conservation, recreation, and research.
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SOURCE Moody Gardens