Little Blue Penguin Hatchlings Kick Off Cincinnati Zoo’s Year of the Penguin!

Posted January 13, 2020

CINCINNATI, OH (January 13, 2020) – It’s fitting that Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s first babies of 2020 are penguins. In addition to hatching during Penguin Days (one on 1/6 and the other on 1/7), which features king penguin parades every weekend, the two chicks will move to a brand new habitat with the rest of the little penguin colony, including their mom, “Reuben”, and dad, “Chip”, this summer when Roo Valley opens. Their former neighbors, the African penguins, will get new digs too!

“It’s a good time to be a penguin at the Cincinnati Zoo,” said curator of aviculture Jennifer Gainer.  “The little blue penguins’ new habitat is going to be fantastic!  There will be a lot of fun, enriching features that will encourage natural behaviors and allow the colony, which numbers 38 and is the largest in North America, to stay out longer in the season.”

The underwater viewing area will give guests the opportunity to see little blue penguins diving, porpoising, and hunting like never before, and RFID technology will add interactive elements. A splash, for example, may be triggered when a penguin swims in a certain area of the pool, or the name of the individual swimming by could be displayed to give visitors more information about what they’re seeing.

“Input from our experts in the aviculture department was key to optimize the new penguin habitats for each species,” said Cincinnati Zoo director Thane Maynard.  “Our goal throughout the Zoo, as part of our More Home to Roam capital campaign expansion, is to give animals better homes and visitors a better experience.  The little blue and African penguin habitats will certainly do that.”

The African penguin habitat, located by the train station in the middle of the Zoo, will also open this summer, soon after Roo Valley. It will be three times the size of the current space with a dramatically larger indoor bedroom area to encourage breeding, expand nesting sites and ultimately result in a thriving colony of 30+ birds, up from the 11 that live at the Zoo now.

The Zoo is open from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.  Admission is deeply discounted during Penguin Days, which runs through March 13.  Dynamic ticket prices change from day-to-day, so lock in the best price by purchasing now!  Every weekend, in addition to penguin parades, guests can watch penguins, polar bears and even elephants enjoy the winter weather in their own way during a variety of animal enrichment activities.

Got a great name in mind for the new chicks?  The Zoo will be accepting name suggestions via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.