Penguin Chick’s First Swim On Exhibit

Chick this out! Seven of our endangered African penguin chicks have joined the main colony on exhibit. They had their first dip in the “big pool” this morning and, we have to say, it went… swimmingly (ba-dum ching).

Posted by The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore on Thursday, March 23, 2017

Video via Maryland Zoo in Baltimore

Pool season is on at Penguin Coast at the zoo in Baltimore’s Druid Hill Park.

The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore opened the pool today for seven young penguins born last fall. As seen in the above video, the penguins have grown considerably since they were just mere chicks. After staff set them down for their first steps outside this morning, the bunch waddled over to the pool in their habitat and went for it.

The zoo has housed penguins since 1967, but it made a top-of-the-line home for them in 2014. That exhibit has gone on to win national awards and serves as a habitat for other seafaring birds, including pink-backed pelicans and white-breasted cormorants.

Make no mistake, though: the African penguin is king of the Penguin Coast. The exhibit is designed specifically for them to mimic their typical habitat on the South African coast. It includes a pool with 185,000 gallons of fresh water and a periodic waterfall to keep things fun (and clean).

This particular species of penguin is endangered, with 90 percent of them have disappeared in the wild since the start of the 20th century. However, the zoo is working to build its colony. Spokeswoman Jane Ballentine said they now have 88 penguins in all, including the ones born this past breeding season.

A couple other facts from the zoo: They live to be 30 years old on average in captivity and can swim pretty fast at 12 miles per hour.

Per the AP, the flightless birds seen swimming above have names rooted in astronomy: Hydra, Apollo, Luna, Hubble, Io, Sputnik and Sirius. Now that they’ve swam, they’re officially part of the colony.

Ethan McLeod is a freelance reporter in Baltimore. He previously worked as an editor for the Baltimore Business Journal and Baltimore Fishbowl. His work has appeared in Bloomberg CityLab, Next City and...