An Special Section FRIDAY, MAY 14, 1999
Hours, prices, and other information were current at time of publication and may have changed.


- Introduction
- Going there
- The murals
- The music
- Shop and Eat
- Beginnings


- World Rivers
- Shore Gallery
- Touch Pool
- Bizarre & Beautiful
- Dangerous & Deadly
- Riverbank
- 'Gator Bayou
-Amazon Rain Forest
- Coral Reef
- Jellyfish Gallery
- Kingdom of Penguins
- Ray Nursery
- Repopulation
- Surrounded by Sharks


- Staff and keepers
Oceanic Adventures Newport Aquarium] [Building image]
Kingdom of penguins
Come down to their level for a long, playful visit with these curious critters

        Check out the King Penguins as they swim in the pool and strut their stuff on the gray rocky shoreline. They are, of course, dressed in their natural formal wear. Minutes can easily turn into hours in the extended seating area as the captivating birds go about their daily business.

Keeper Crystal Phillips feeds each bird by hand.
        The seating area is a series of carpeted steps that put visitors at eye-level with the birds as they dart through the water. The penguins often bump up against the glass as if curious to see who is visiting.

        They are extremely playful and lively.

        The pool lies immediately behind the aquarium's largest single piece of acrylic so the penguins can swim in full view. They continuously waddle along the rocky deck and dive into the water for a quick glide. A machine creates light snowfall that adds to the scene. Occasional spots of accumulation cap some of the rocks.

        There are 16 King Penguins in the exhibit — eight male, eight female. It was important to get even numbers because the penguins mate with only one partner for life. Mating occurs primarily in September and October with hatching in December.

        After arriving at the aquarium, the penguins spent 30 days in quarantine under U.S. Department of Agriculture regulations. For a month, nothing and no one could enter or exit the birds' quarantine area without showering first to ensure that no disease was carried inside or out.

        Video monitors offer different perspectives of King Penguins in their natural habitat.

        While many regard these sea birds as flightless, that is not entirely true. These penguins flew in from Japan — on an airplane.

        Penguins are found from the equator south to Antarctica. They live on both icy land and in the water. Penguins do their hunting in the ocean.

        Each bird cost $16,500. Multiply that by 16 and the total cost of the birds is $264,000. The exhibit cost $2.5 million.

What they eat
        King Penguins' diet consists of fish and crustaceans. Here they are fed herring and caplin.

How big do they get?
        King Penguins can weigh up to 40 pounds and grow to 3 feet tall.

What you won't see
        • Preparing dinner for 16 King Penguins is no simple task. In fact, the preparation requires so much space, these penguins have their own kitchen. (All other animals share the aquarium's other kitchen.)

        The kitchen's enormous freezer is packed with frozen herring and caplin. Keeper Crystal Phillips thaws 225 pounds of fish overnight in the refrigerator, put it in cold water to thaw completely, then sorts it by hand in order to ensure quality. Once the food gets Ms. Phillips' stamp of approval, it is then hand fed to each bird.

        • How does the snow get into the penguin exhibit? Ms. Phillips has a snow-maker, and makes the white stuff twice a day. The birds need it for their health. They like to eat it, too. The snow adds something to the exhibit as well.

Exhibit by the numbers
        16 King Penguins in the exhibit

        8,000 gallons of water in the pool

        11,000 pounds is the weight of window

        4 pounds of food is eaten per day by each bird

        448 pounds of herring is ingested in a week

        34 degrees is temperature

        37 hours it took to transport birds from Shirahama, Japan, to Newport

        640 square feet in the exhibit

Star of the Tank
        King Penguins live on islands between the southern tip of South America and Antarctica. They are the second largest penguins, Emperor Penguins being the largest.

        The most colorful of the species, King Penguins have bright yellow rings around their necks that look like the bow-ties to accessorize their tuxedos.

        Unlike most birds, King Penguins do not build nests. Instead, the birds incubate a single egg on top of their feet. They mate for life and change partners only after a mate dies or several unsuccessful mating attempts occur.

        They can tolerate temperatures ranging from 80 degrees below zero to 104 degrees.

        During March, penguins lose their feathers and are not water proof. Thus, they are unable to go to sea for food. King Penguins nearly double their body weights in an eating binge that precedes moulting.

The Tristate is Goin' Fishin'
Going to the Aquarium
Murals bring seascapes to life
Music sets the mood for 16 exhibits
Shop, eat and watch a movie
The making of an aquarium
World Rivers
Shore Gallery
Touch Pool
Bizarre & Beautiful
Dangerous & Deadly
'Gator Bayou
Amazon Rain Forest
Coral Reef
Jellyfish Gallery
- Kingdom of Penguins
Ray Nursery
Surrounded by Sharks
Meet the staff and keepers

Copyright 1999 The Cincinnati Enquirer, a Gannett Co. Inc. newspaper.
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