Peter the Penguin

RJ and I at the aquarium

All of my life I've loved penguins! I've never seen any in real life. I've been trying to get to the Georgia Aquarium for the longest time. Well, the Tennessee Aquarium has a large penguin exhibit. You have to drive right past the Tennessee Aquarium to get to Gatlinburg, and I wanted to stop there on our way to our cabin. Well, it sounded great in theory, but in reality we were both too tired. So I thus gave up on my dream of gazing at this darling creature - even if it is through glass.
Well, there is a great aquarium in Gatlinburg. It is owned by the Ripley's corporation. They did a great job on their aquarium, but the penguin exhibit was superb. The exhibit was full of tunnels, crawl spaces, and glass floors. I was simply in heaven! These birds were so adorable gliding through the water and playing with each other. I crawled through the tunnel (conquering my fears of tight enclosed spaces) in order to be up close and personal with these graceful birds! RJ had to coax me out of there, I did not want to leave.
The button!
This exhibit was the last one, and we exited through the gift shop. RJ told me to continue shopping and he would be right back. Of course I didn't second guess or become suspicious because RJ is always looking for ways to get out of shopping. Well after he disappeared for a while I went to look for him. Low and behold he was outside the gate with a pin on his shirt that read "Penguin Playhouse Participant." Fighting back tears, I asked him what it was. Just as I thought, he bought tickets that enabled us to meet a penguin up close and personal! I was so excited!
waiting patiently..
After we waited for what seemed like FOREVER, we went inside and waited some more. Eventually we were given the signal to follow and were lead downstairs with about 7 other penguin enthusiasts. I envied the trainer so much. Not only did she get to spend EVERYDAY with penguins she got paid for it! This lady had a good relationship with all the penguins and knew each of their personalities. Can we say DREAM JOB? We all got to learn about penguins and their life cycles. I am so excited to be so much more informed about my favorite animal.

Getting to pet Peter was really cool. The first time around the trainer held him and let us pet him. What did he feel like? AWESOME! Exactly what you'd think a penguin would feel like. His thousands of feathers created a sleek and soft coat that felt almost like skin. After we all got to pet him, she let him just walk around. It was at this point that I fell deeper in love with the animal. He was inquisitive like a cat, but he was very clumsy in stature. He waddled across the room in search of something. The trainer informed us that he was looking for his girlfriend. Penguins are "colony" animals. They enjoy the company of each other much more than solitude. They bond with a mate for life, and stay within the same colony for their entire life, too. This was one of the most memorable aquarium experiences, ever. It will be hard to beat! Check out this video of Peter...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am so glad you finally got to do this! LUV LUV LUV you and RJ!

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