Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies had some very exciting news to share on World Penguin Day! At the end of April, the Gatlinburg aquarium officially announced the debut of Benny Hill and Falkor, two baby African penguins. Visit My Smokies has all the details on these adorable additions to the Ripley’s Aquarium family.
Healthy and Happy Babies
The baby penguins at Ripley’s Aquarium are brothers who were born four days apart. Benny Hill hatched on February 17 weighing in at 52 grams and Falkor was born on February 21 weighing in at 62 grams. The penguins’ parents are Maggie and Atreyu.
Although Benny and Falkor were born a few months ago, Ripley’s waited a little while to introduce the baby penguins to the world because they wanted to ensure that the chicks were healthy. We are pleased to report that the penguin brothers are eating well, bonding with their caretaker, and developing normally.
You can watch a short video of Benny and Falkor below:
Swimming Lessons in Their Future
As you may have noticed in the above clip, the baby penguins don’t have their adult feathers yet. Instead, they look like little gray puffballs! In about another month, Benny and Falkor will shed their fluffy gray feathers in favor of the black and white feathers you’re used to seeing.
Once their waterproof adult feathers come in, the young birds will head over to the main penguin habitat for swimming lessons. Much like human children, baby penguins don’t instinctively know how to swim – they need to be taught. In the wild, baby penguins learn how to swim from their parents, but in this case, the Ripley’s team will teach Benny and Falkor how to splash around.
How to See the Baby Penguins at Ripley’s Aquarium
The baby penguins are currently located in the room right next to the Penguin Playhouse (the main penguin habitat at Ripley’s). The room has a large glass window, so guests can look inside to see Benny and Falkor playing in their daycare area.
The young penguins will stay in their own room for most of May. When their adult feathers arrive and they start learning to swim, the brothers will be slowly introduced into the Penguin Playhouse with the rest of the birds. So, if you want to see Benny and Falkor while they still look gray and fluffy, you should visit Ripley’s Aquarium as soon as possible!
When you purchase tickets to the aquarium from Visit My Smokies, you’ll receive $4 off the price of admission as well as free cancellation. You can buy tickets by clicking the large green button below:
Penguin Encounters at Ripley’s Aquarium
If you want to get up close and personal with one of Ripley’s penguins, be sure to sign up for the Penguin Encounter! As part of this add-on experience, guests at the aquarium get to pet a penguin, take a souvenir photo with their new feathered friend, and learn all about these fascinating animals from a penguin expert.
Ripley’s also offers a unique Penguin Painting Experience. In this special encounter, you’ll watch as one of the aquarium’s penguins dip their feet in paint and waddle across a canvas to create a one-of-a-kind piece of art that you get to take home.
For pricing information on these awesome penguin packages, visit the Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies website.
New Adventures at Ripley’s Aquarium
In addition to the introduction of Benny and Falkor, Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies has a number of new things to see. The aquarium has recently added a Splash with the Stingrays Experience and Glass Bottom Boat Rides through Shark Lagoon. For more information, read all about the exciting new attractions at the Gatlinburg aquarium!