New Species Puts Newport Aquarium in Rare Company

Share Article

Macaroni Penguins Become 5th Species in ‘Penguin Palooza’ Exhibit


With the addition of the Macs, we’ve made a great exhibit even better and we’ve made Newport Aquarium one of the top two places in the country to see penguin diversity.

Newport Aquarium announced today the addition of 11 new Macaroni penguins to its recently opened Penguin Palooza exhibit. The new species is the fifth penguin species on display in the exhibit, making Newport Aquarium’s gallery the second most diverse collection of cold-weather penguins in the country.

The Macaroni penguins join the King, Gentoo, Chinstrap and Rockhopper penguins in Penguin Palooza. Only Moody Gardens Aquarium in Galveston, Texas can claim more penguin diversity in a single exhibit with six species. Newport Aquarium ties Sea World San Diego with its five species.

“Penguins have always been one of our star animals,” said Ric Urban, Curator of Birds and Mammals. “With the addition of the Macs, we’ve made a great exhibit even better and we’ve made Newport Aquarium one of the top two places in the country to see penguin diversity.”

Opened in March, Penguin Palooza – sponsored by Kroger – features new species, a new habitat for the birds and new interactive opportunities for guests. Visitors can sit right next to the 8,000-gallon tank in the new seating area and come face-to-face with the penguins as they swim and play. There’s an activity area to learn more about penguin habitats and conservation, and guests can take their picture next to life-size penguin sculptures. Penguin Palooza also features the Aquarium’s newest live show with a presenter who will entertain guests with penguin facts and interact with several animated penguin characters on a new high definition video board, all made exclusively for the new Penguin Palooza Exhibit.

The Macaroni Penguin (Eudyptes chrysolophus) is a species of penguin found from the Subantarctic to the Antarctic Peninsula. One of six species of crested penguin, it bears a distinctive yellow crest just above its eyes and prominent bill. Adults weigh about 12 lbs. and are about 28 inches tall. The male and female are similar in appearance although the male is slightly larger with a relatively larger bill. Like all penguins, it is flightless, with a streamlined body and wings stiffened and flattened into flippers for a marine lifestyle.

With about 18 million individuals, the Macaroni penguin is the most numerous penguin species. However, widespread decline in populations have been recorded since the mid 1970s. These factors result in their conservation status being reclassified as vulnerable.

The new birds at the Aquarium range from 2 to 18 years old. There are 7 males and 4 females.

“Our guests are going to love the new birds,” Urban said. “They have that distinctive cresting and color and are the third biggest penguin we have in the new display. They really fill out the space and make it even more active and therefore more fun.”

Seven total Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) institutions display Macaroni penguins. The first Macaroni penguins in the United States were brought to the National Zoo in 1947.

In the wild, Mac penguins would eat squid and krill. At the Aquarium, they’ll enjoy a steady diet of capelin, herring, mackerel, silversides, smelt, squid and krill.

The Penguin Palooza Exhibit is a cold-weather habitat, kept at 34-degrees and on the lighting cycle of the Antarctic Peninsula and the sub-Antarctic islands, where these animals are found naturally.

For a list of daily activities and ticket prices, visit

# # #

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Rodger Pille
Visit website