GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids showed off its exhibit of 24 Magellanic penguins on Friday, Penguin Awareness Day.

John Ball has one of the most successful zoo programs in the country for these types of penguins, which are typically found in South America.

“…They are excellent fishermen. They go after and chase after all of the fish,” John Ball Zoo education supervisor Melinda Robinett said. “It’s really important for people to know that these penguins can also, out in the wild, have some concerns with overfishing and so we want to make sure that we watch our sustainable seafood when you’re purchasing things for your household. It’s the same thing that we do here when we get our food for the penguins. We make sure that it’s sustainably caught.”

  • Megellanic penguins at John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids. (Jan. 20, 2023)
  • Megellanic penguins at John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids. (Jan. 20, 2023)
  • Megellanic penguins at John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids. (Jan. 20, 2023)
  • Megellanic penguins at John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids. (Jan. 20, 2023)

The zoo is closed for the season, but not if you’d like to get up close and personal with these well-dressed seabirds. The zoo offers two behind-the-scenes experiences for the public, including penguin feeding and the Penguin Encounter, which allows people to talk with the zookeeper and learn about the special care penguins need.

If you’d like to set up a time to feed the penguins or experience the Penguin Encounter, you can go to the John Ball Zoo website.