I love penguins! Never in my life did I think I would be able to get so close to a penguin I would be able to pick it up (if I were allowed but that is strictly forbidden). These gorgeous little creatures are fiercely protected by their carers and great lengths are put in place to make sure no penguin ever gets hurt or a disease. These little guys and girls live in an isolated bubble where no harm will come to them. More about that later.
I'm at the SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium where visitors can book in and get this close to these penguins. Apparently I'm about the 5th visitor to have this experience and I'm deeply honoured. I've already been to the penguin enclosure before, you can read about that SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium Penguin experience here.
This time was different I was the only person on the tour with my guide Dallas, Selena who looks after the marketing and the two Penguin Keepers. Patty O'Neil is the Penguin Trainer and truly loves what she does.
So let's begin the journey.
First of all we took a shortcut through the Aquarium and hopped on the boat to go through the penguin expedition open to the public. Dallas was my guide and I really enjoyed his company and knowledge of the penguins. I've put some information about penguin conservation further down this post.
Before I was allowed into the pen my camera had to be sterilised. My tour guides showed me the love they have for these penguins and the lengths SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium go to, to ensure the penguins have the best life ever. Their passion for these little creatures is contagious. Every precaution is taken to ensure their little eco system is protected from outside germs. Anyone who enters has to suit up in cold weather jackets and pants, gumboots (which are constantly sterilised in trays), hands must be washed and jewellery, and mobile phones are forbidden. I was allowed the camera. Don't worry all your items are secured in a locker.
Visitors must not have been in contact with birds within 24 hours or have a cold or illness. The staff are not allowed at work if they are sick. Behind the scenes is phenomenal with filter systems and maintenance procedures that are as high tech as you can get.
Once all the formalities were over it was time to meet my new little friends and I was super excited. As soon as I stepped into the area where I was allowed I was in awe of the penguins. It wasn't as cold as I had imagined but when I actually left the pen I really noticed the change to the warmer temperature.
Once I was out in the pen, (behind a plastic barricade) the little Gentoo penguins came up to say hello. They are far more social and outgoing than the King Penguins.
PHOTO GALLERY FIRST MEETING AND LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT
The staff were wonderful and I asked countless questions and every one was answered. I was given a lot of information on penguins and their feeding habits, toilet habits and when they moult, whoa stay back; they are not happy!
THIS GALLERY SWIMMING, PLAYING AND SHOWING OFF
The time went way too fast and soon it was time to say ta ta to my new found friends. Once we changed out of our cold climate gear it was back downstairs to the viewing gallery to watch feeding time. Oh and what a performance it was. The King Penguins needed a distraction feed so that everybody got fed; otherwise the Kings tend to be a bit greedy and pushy.
Finally it was time to say goodbye to Dallas and I was escorted back to the front of the Aquarium so I could do another solo tour of the Aquarium, which I enjoyed very much. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to get this close to penguins and you can do it too. It costs $180 and worth every cent. You can book tickets to Penguin Passport here.
Thank you SEA LIFE Sydney for the opportunity to have this experience and share with my readers.
SOME AQUARIUM PHOTOS GALLERY
Penguin Expedition Conservation Penguin Expedition includes on-site education talks, a dedicated conservation area – the Macquarie Island Explorer Hut – and uninterrupted observation areas, both on land and in the water. Guests learn about the issues facing penguins in the wild and the simple ways they can make a difference, including reducing single-use plastic consumption and inspiring the next generation of healthy ocean ambassadors. The attraction also plays an important role in educating the public on the effect of plastic pollution on the penguins’ native home, and what they can do to reduce their plastic footprint including avoiding single-use plastics such as plastic bags, single use coffee cups and water bottles. Penguin Expedition is more than a world first ride it’s also about inspiring our guests to conserve our marine life for future generations and educating them on the simple ways they can make a difference. SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium is dedicated to reducing all singe use plastic in its retail and food and beverage stores, whilst increasing the percentage of recycled materials incorporated into future building projects and site upgrades. Sustainable Seafood
SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium has committed to serving only MSC Certified seafood in its café, ensuring that by doing so it will encourage guests to make sustainable choices at home. SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium guests can pick-up an MSC Sustainable Seafood pocket guide at the Boardwalk Café. With 85 per cent of Australians purchasing seafood on a regular basis and consuming on average 18.7kg of seafood per year (Ref: Marine Stewardship Council Consumer Survey 2016), it’s crucial for Australians to choose MSC certified seafood and help protect our oceans and marine life for future generations.