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In Pictures: A Penguin Party At The Shedd Aquarium

By Samantha Abernethy in Arts & Entertainment on Jan 22, 2013 5:20PM

The Shedd Aquarium celebrated National Penguin Awareness Day on Sunday with the Shedd's Rockhopper and Magellanic penguins. In the photos here, provided by the Shedd, penguins play with colorful toys and foam-covered cones as part of their development and training. Rockhopper penguins are identified by the distinctive crest feathers on their heads, bright orange-red bills and tiny blood-red eyes. They are among the smallest of penguins, weighing four to six pounds and some shorter than a foot. Magellanic penguins can grow to more than twice that at around 27 inches tall, weighing seven to nine pounds.

Want to get a closer look? The next Illinois resident discount days are Jan. 28 and 29. Resident days offer free general admission and discounts to other exhibits. The Shedd trainers also hold daily habitat chats, or check out Planet Earth: From Pole to Pole 4-D Experience to learn about emperor penguins.

Want to get even closer? Book a Penguin Encounter in advance. That will get you a 30-minute session with the opportunity to touch a penguin's feathers and learn more from the Shedd's trainers. Encounters are offered on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Prices are $59.95 for adults, $50.95 for children.

The Shedd Aquarium is located at 1200 South Lake Shore Drive. The facilities are closed Jan. 23 and 24 for maintenance.