BLUE BEACH AT BIRCH AQUARIUM
Birch Aquarium’s Blue Beach happy hours have just gotten even better, with the addition on July 19 of Science Nights. The aquarium will host a family-friendly happy hour on blue beach in July and August. This new area invites guests and visitors to interact with each other and the ocean. The aquarium’s family-friendly happy hours take place Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings in July and August Read more.
Birch Aquarium presents Little Blue Penguins, where guests come face-to-face with Little Blue Penguins as they waddle, swim and glide about their new home. The 2,900-square-foot habitat features an 18,000-gallon pool, multiple cozy burrows, a sandy beach and native plants that mimic the coast of Australia and New Zealand, where these penguins can be found in the wild. As guests step into the exhibit, they’re immersed in the world of Little Blues, learning from interpretative signs how they can help protect penguins and our ocean.
In addition, the habitat further explores the interdisciplinary penguin research of Scripps Oceanography scientists Jerry Kooyman, Paul Ponganis, and Tammy Russell. Their discoveries on penguin physiology have provided Scripps with a better understanding of the biology of these aquatic seabirds, and the impact of climate change on penguins.
“We are delighted to introduce the new Beyster Family Little Blue Penguins to San Diego. Our team has worked diligently to design, develop and open a new state-of-the-art facility for caring for and breeding this amazing seabird species,” said Executive Director, Harry Helling. “Penguins are great indicators of environmental changes in the ocean and will help Birch Aquarium to connect better understanding to protecting our ocean planet.”
Not every penguin lives in snow and ice — Little Blue Penguins reside in the coastal dunes and rocky shores of Southern Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand in a climate similar to San Diego. Little Blues are about a foot tall and weigh 2 to 3 pounds; they’re known for their unique blue color and their big personalities.
“We’re thrilled to welcome this colony of 15 penguins to our Birch family,” said Kayla Strate, Lead Penguin Aquarist. “The birds are happy, thriving and adapting nicely to their new surroundings. Eventually, we’re hoping the penguins will form a successful breeding colony.”
Each penguin in the exhibit wears a colorful wing band, which helps staff and guests quickly distinguish one bird from another. Azulito, who got his name after an online naming campaign in June, wears a blue band. Six other penguins in the exhibit received names through philanthropic gifts: Magic, Nero, Persimmon, Reka, Cornelius and Katie.