Takeover Tuesday: Celebrate World Penguin Day at Newport Aquarium

Happy World Penguin Day! My name is Dan Clady, I am the Senior Biologist in charge of penguins. Thank you for joining me on this special Takeover Tuesday. Every day, I take care of the almost 50 penguins in Penguin Palooza.


Senior Biologist, Dan Clady, has worked at Newport Aquarium for 13 years. He takes care of almost 50 penguins in Penguin Palooza.

Feeding is my favorite part – I’m like a waiter, working the room (Penguin Palooza) and feeding anybody (any penguin) that looks hungry.


Two Gentoo penguin eggs.

I’m holding two Gentoo eggs in this picture. I’m getting ready to “candle” the eggs, to see if they’re fertile. Stay tuned, if we have baby penguins, we’ll announce it on our social media pages.


Spike, one of the Chinstrap penguins, just turned 30 years old.

Spike is a Chinstrap penguin. She just turned 30 years old in January. She is blind in one eye – she has a cataract in her right eye. When I feed her, I feed on her left side, because she cannot see on the right side. Even with the cataracts, she is as vocal as any other bird.

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King penguin, Madonna, is standing at center of attention in this photo.

Madonna  is a King penguin who is in love with people. She follows us around anytime we are in there, she “courts” us the whole time. Madonna is a wild collected egg from 1996, and is one of the original birds in Penguin Palooza.




Penguins eat about 65-pounds of fish every day.

Feeding penguins is my favorite part of the day. Our flock of penguins eat about 65-pounds of fish every single day, 365 days a year. We hand feed them herring. They also eat ocean smelt and silver sides whenever they want.

Listen to Madonna, the boastful King penguin. In this video, she is showing courtship behavior, the sound she’s making is a courting call. She is “courting” us; it might be me, but she follows anyone around in Penguin Palooza.

Penguins in snow

King penguins take time to play in the snow.

Oops, someone left the snow machine on all NIGHT!

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I give the Macaroni penguins and Gentoo penguins rocks to build a nest. The igloos in this picture are for the Rockhoppers. They prefer grasses instead of rocks. I leave the rocks and igloos in there all year, it helps the penguins pair-bond for when breeding season comes around. Late fall, the Macaroni, Gentoo, Rockhopper and Chinstrap penguins all breed. The King penguins lay their eggs around Christmas time.

Thank you for celebrating World Penguin Day and #TakeoverTuesday with me today!

To learn more about all of the species of penguins at Newport Aquarium, and how we, along with other AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums are working to save species, read our previous World Penguin Day blog post here.






Newport Aquarium treats third graders on field trip to surprise announcement

Third king penguin chick hatched at Aquarium in less than 12 months

NEWPORT, Ky.Newport Aquarium announced to a group of schoolchildren Tuesday the addition of a baby king penguin that hatched inside the Kroger Penguin Palooza exhibit.

Third-grade students from St. Francis de Sales School in Lebanon, Ohio, went on a field trip to Newport Aquarium and took an “All About Penguins” class ran by the WAVE Foundation’s Manager of Education Programs Dan Dunlap.

At the end of the class, Dunlap revealed to the schoolchildren that a king penguin chick hatched on the afternoon of Feb. 7. Senior biologists Dan Clady and Jen Hazeres were stationed inside the cold-penguin exhibit and displayed the chick for the students to see following the announcement.

A photo of king penguin chick Kevin Bacon from Feb. 12, five days after it hatched.

A photo of king penguin chick Kevin Bacon from Feb. 12, five days after it hatched.

The king penguin chick has been affectionately named Kevin Bacon in reference to the renowned actor’s 1980 film “Friday the 13th” – the young bird’s due date.

Bebe (father) and Wednesday (mother) are the biological parents of Kevin Bacon, the second chick the couple has reproduced in the less than a year after a pair of chicks hatched simultaneously May 24, 2014.

Kevin Bacon is the second third-generation king penguin that has hatched at Newport Aquarium. Wednesday was the last king penguin hatched at the aquarium in 2010, before the cold penguin exhibit was renovated and reopened as Kroger Penguin Palooza in March 2011.

Kevin Bacon initially weighed in at 225 grams and has grown to more than 2.5 pounds (1,188 grams) as of Feb. 24.

Actor Kevin Bacon, who starred in the 1980 movie "Friday the 13th" was the inspiration behind Newport Aquarium's newest king penguin chick's name.

Actor Kevin Bacon, who starred in the 1980 movie “Friday the 13th” was the inspiration behind Newport Aquarium’s newest king penguin chick’s name. (Photo via ABCnews.com)

Guests can catch a glimpse of the chick inside the Kroger Penguin Palooza while the parents share rearing duties.

Newport Aquarium is one of only 16 institutions in the United States to exhibit king penguins, the second largest species of penguin in the world with adults growing to more than three feet in height.

The successful breeding of three king penguins from one institution over a nearly nine-month span is a rarity. There has been an average of only 14 king penguin hatchings annually over the last 10 years at Association of Zoos and Aquariums institutions in the U.S.

King penguin chick Kevin Bacon hatched Feb. 7 and already weight more than 2.5 pounds.

King penguin chick Kevin Bacon hatched Feb. 7 and already weight more than 2.5 pounds.

Newport Aquarium has exhibited king penguins since the Northern Kentucky attraction first opened to the public in May 1999, originally exhibiting king penguins acquired from Adventure World near Shirahama, Japan.

Kroger Penguin Palooza features 50 birds that form one of the most diverse collections of penguins in the country. With the addition to Kevin Bacon, there are 13 king penguins in total, as well as chinstrap, gentoo, macaroni and rockhopper penguins. A sixth penguin species, the African penguin, is also on exhibit at Newport Aquarium in The Penguin House.

King penguin facts:

  • With their fluffy brown appearance, king penguin chicks look so dissimilar to adult king penguins that early explorers described them as an entirely different species, the woolly penguin.
  • King penguins are one of the few birds that do not build nests. Instead, they incubate their eggs under the belly on top of their feet.
  • King penguins can be found in the waters of the sub-Antarctic. They breed on many of the sub-Antarctic islands, such as South Georgia, Crozet, the Falklands, and the islands southeast of Australia and southwest of New Zealand.

For more information on Newport Aquarium, visit NewportAquarium.com or call toll free 800-406-FISH (3474).


Newport Aquarium, voted the No. 1 aquarium in the country by USA Today’s 10Best.com in 2012, has showcased thousands of animals from around the world in a million gallons of water since 1999. Named a top U.S. aquarium by US City Traveler and Destinations Travel Magazine in 2014, and also by Travel Channel in 2013, Newport Aquarium is a Herschend Family Entertainment company and an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Newport Aquarium is open to the public 365 days a year and is located across the Ohio River from downtown Cincinnati at Newport on the Levee.

Find us on: Facebook.com/NewportAquarium | Twitter: @NewportAquarium

One Aquarium Way | Newport, KY 41071 | 859-261-7444