Long Island Aquarium’s year-round Penguin Pavilion provides an
Atlantis-themed home to African penguins (Spheniscus demersus).
The exhibit’s 800-square foot enclosure features representations
of the ocean and beach, as well as burrows in the back that the penguins
will use for nesting.
Visitors can view the penguins both above and below the
water, and can even “pop in” through an observation
bubble in the beach portion of the exhibit.
Native to Namibia and South Africa, African penguins – the
first penguin species to be discovered by Europeans – have
declined dramatically in the wild over the last century.
In the early 1900s, the population stood at 1.5 million
penguins; today, just over 179,000 remain.
The African penguins exhibited here were captive-bred
in South Africa and imported illegally into the US. They
arrived at Long Island Aquarium in April 2004, when the
US Fish and Wildlife Service contacted the Aquarium about
providing the penguins with a new home.
Did you know?
- African penguins are comfortable in temperate regions
like Long Island. They stay cool by swimming, resting
in shady areas, and keeping their backs to the sun to
shade their feet, flippers, and faces.
- The African penguin is also called the “jackass” penguin,
because its call sounds like a donkey’s bray.
- While penguins can’t fly, they can reach speeds
of up to 15 mph in the water.
- After studying each bird’s habits and traits,
Long Island Aquarium Aquarists named all penguins in
this exhibit after characters from the popular “Seinfeld” television
show. Look, there's Jerry!