SAN DIEGO — Tuesday marks a big day at the Birch Aquarium when the Little Blue Penguins Exhibit opens to the public. The exhibit is the biggest addition to the Birch Aquarium in 30 years.
The Beyster Family Little Blue Penguins Exhibit “follows the world’s smallest penguins on their journey from hatchlings to adults, highlighting the challenges they face in a changing climate while celebrating the features that make Little Blues so unique.”
According to the aquarium, Little Blue Penguins are the smallest species of penguin – 10 to 12 inches tall, and weighing just 2 to 3 pounds. Birch Aquarium will be the only aquarium in the Western U.S. to house these gregarious seabirds.
“Many people don't realize that not all penguins live in the ice and snow. Little Blues are from Australia and New Zealand, where the climate is surprisingly similar to ours,” said Kayla Strate, lead penguin aquarist. “We are so proud to be able to bring this species for the first time to the West Coast.”
The new 2,900-square-foot exhibit was named to honor a $1 million gift from the Beyster Family. It will will include an 18,000-gallon pool where guests can observe the penguins socializing, interacting and nest building. The exhibit also includes a small amphitheater for guests to observe birds swimming, and a discovery portal where the aquarium’s youngest guests can get up close to Little Blue Penguins on land and inside their nesting burrows. Upon opening, there will be 15 Little Blue Penguins in the habitat.
“We are so very excited to be adding this amazing new experience to Birch Aquarium at Scripps. The new habitat will allow us to contribute to an international Species Survival Plan and create a fun and engaging guest experience,” said Executive Director, Harry Helling. “Little Blue Penguins will be wonderful ambassadors that can help us to engage our community more deeply and further our mission to connect understanding to protecting our ocean planet.”
Though penguins are common in zoos and aquariums, only a handful of AZA institutions have Little Blue Penguins. They are Dallas World Aquarium, the Bronx Zoo, Adventure Aquarium, Louisville Zoo and the Cincinnati Zoo.
Beyster Family Little Blue Penguins is included in the cost of general admission to Birch Aquarium which is $24.95 for adults and $19.95 for children ages 3-17.
WATCH RELATED: Sneak Peek of the new Little Blue Penguins habitat at Birch Aquarium