Today is former Cincinnati Reds’ shortstop Barry Larkin’s birthday and the perfect occasion to announce that Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s bird team has selected Larkin as the name for its six-week-old African penguin.
“There are several Cincinnati Reds fans on the bird team, including me, and I actually lived in the same neighborhood as the Larkins when I was a kid,” said Cincinnati Zoo bird team leader Rickey Kinley. “Our little chick was two weeks old when the City of Cincinnati renamed a street after Barry Larkin, and that gave me the idea to give the penguin his name too.”
Larkin (the penguin) had to be hand-raised because he had trouble eating, despite multiple attempts by his parents to feed him. The bird team was able to help him figure out how to eat, and he’s been doing great ever since.
“I saw and talked to Barry on occasion as a kid when he would come home to visit,” said Kinley. “After he became a Cincinnati Reds player, I was able to get him to sign a few of my baseball cards, and I still have those signed cards. It will be fun to work with a “Larkin”!
Larkin has already shown that he’s a team player. He and a kea chick had separate nests in the same brooder, but he was found snuggled up next to the kea in its nest every time the keepers came for feedings!
Visitors should be able to see Larkin in African Penguin Point sometime in May, the month that the Zoo celebrates Zoo Babies, sponsored by General Electric Credit Union. The Zoo opens at 10 a.m. and closes at 5 p.m. Members get Early Entry and are welcome to enter the Zoo at 9 a.m.
DID YOU KNOW…. You pay more than $10 less per ticket, on select days, when you purchase tickets online! That’s a $40 savings for a family of 4!
The world-famous Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is committed to inspiring visitors to care about wildlife and wild places. It was voted the #1 Best Zoo in a USA TODAY reader poll and has also received rave reviews from Child Magazine, Parents Magazine, USA Today and TripAdvisor. Over 1.8 million people visit the Zoo’s award-winning habitats, 400 animal and 3000 plant species annually. The Zoo, an accredited member of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) for almost 30 years, is internationally known for its success in the protection and propagation of endangered animals and plants and engages in research and conservation projects worldwide. Known as the #GreenestZooInAmerica, the Zoo is doing its part to conserve natural resources that are critical to saving wildlife and its habitats and is committed to greening its daily operations and reducing its impact on the environment with rain gardens, recycled building materials, solar panels and more. The Cincinnati Zoo is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.