Penguins taking flight to Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach in 2020
Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, is excited to announce Ripley’s Penguin Playhouse will open in early 2020.
The 5,500-square-foot expansion is the largest in Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach’s 20-year history. The African penguin habitat will have floor-to-ceiling viewing glass and a 360º crawl tunnel for guests to waddle through. This addition also includes a brand-new Oceans of the World gallery with eight tanks, housing fascinating species of fish from all over the world.
Sporting their black-and-white plumage, the African penguin is the only species of penguin found on the African continent, preferring warmer water temperatures unlike their Antarctic counterparts. Their unique black stripes and spots serve as their identification, similar to a human fingerprint.
The African penguin is one of the most endangered penguins in the world—numbers have declined by 60 percent in the last 28 years. Welcoming Ripley’s new colony in 2020 is just the beginning of the Aquarium’s conservation efforts, as an on-site penguin nursery will house and care for baby penguins, helping Ripley’s Aquarium foster a growing flock.
Ripley’s expansion features two new state-of-the-art classrooms for educational programs, school groups, and unique experiences that will allow guests to get up close and personal with these extraordinary birds.
Two unique experiences will be offered. In Penguin Encounters, guests will be able to interact and even pet these creatures beak-to-beak while learning about this species from Aquarium staff experts. During Paint with the Penguins visitors can pal up with a penguin to create, and take home, a one-of-a-kind piece of footprint art.
“Ripley’s Aquaiurm of Myrtle Beach is beyond excited to welcome penguins to our Aquarium,” said Pablo Chavez, General Manager, Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach. “This brand-new and completely immersive penguin habitat will not only captivate and entertain our guests but also educate visitors, teachers, and school groups. Our mission is to provide a top-quality, world-class aquatic facility that will promote environmental education, conservation, and research. We know this new penguin addition will support our educational and conservation missions while offering family-friendly entertainment for visitors of all ages.”
Ripley’s Aquarium opened in Myrtle Beach in 1997 and boasts more than 14,000 fish on display as well as many interactive experiences. Guests can pet a stingray, bamboo shark, hold a horseshoe crab, and enjoy hourly dive shows. One featured exhibit is the 750,000-gallon Dangerous Reef, which has a 330-foot glide path through an underwater tunnel, allowing guests to come face-to-face with sharks, giant sawfish, and Gabby the Green Sea Turtle.