Chicago's Shedd Aquarium decided to make the best out of the public shutdowns and take their rockhopper penguins out for a field trip.
While shutdowns due to the coronavirus epidemic across the globe aren't always easy to navigate if you don't have the privilege of paid sick leave or the ability to work from home, some of us are making the best out of an otherwise terribly lonely experience. In Chicago, all public spaces were directed to shut down by the Illinois state government. The employees at the Shedd Aquarium decided to make a field day out of it. As no guests were permitted to enter the premises, they took the penguins in their aquarium out to visit the other animals, CNN reports. The videos of the field trip have now gone viral.
The field trip took place on Sunday. A group of rockhopper penguins, typically found around the southern hemisphere, was let out of their enclosure and allowed to roam around the rest of the aquarium. Of course, they had a chaperone to watch over them and make sure they didn't get into any trouble. In an interview with The Chicago Tribune, the aquarium shared, "Without guests in the building, caretakers are getting creative in how they provide enrichment to animals, introducing new experiences, activities, foods and more to keep them active, encourage them to explore, problem-solve and express natural behaviors."
Taking to Twitter, the official page for Shedd Aquarium posted a video of one of these lucky penguins gazing at some of the fish. They wrote, "Penguins in the Amazon?! Some of the penguins went on a field trip to meet other animals at Shedd. Wellington seemed most interested in the fishes in Amazon Rising! The black-barred silver dollars also seemed interested in their unusual visitor." In the video, little penguin Wellington is seen looking up at a school of fish, no doubt in awe. Some Twitter users responded to the video. One user stated, "For this bird, this is probably like the scene in the matrix where neo wakes up and sees everyone plugged into their pods." Another added, "This penguin is seeing fish they'd never see if they were just out living their little penguin life in the southern hemisphere. Lil' homie is getting Forbidden Fish Lore. Secret Unlockable Fish. This penguin is learning more about fishkind than maybe any penguin ever has."
Since aquariums are shut down, they let penguins wander around the place and it's honestly the news we need to see. pic.twitter.com/XkP8gIJ15R— Stan Lewis (@StanLewis_) March 15, 2020
Others wanted to appreciate the adorable story, which comes at a rather difficult and worrisome time for many. One Twitter user replied, "Thank you, Shedd Aquarium, for continuing to post... We need our smiles wherever we can get them... Please give Wellington some extra fish for bringing happiness to many people... Good job, Wellington!" Another user wanted to thank the staff for the ingenious idea. They wrote, "What a great idea to let the natives visit one another! Kudos to the staff. Thanks for making my day!" Clearly, this is exactly the kind of pick-me-up that those cooped up in their homes alone needed.
Shedd Aquarium, like many other public places in Chicago, will remain shut until March 29. Over the weekend, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker issued a public directive to all bars and restaurants in the state, ordering that they remain closed to the public beginning Monday night until March 30. Public health officials hope such shutdowns will slow down the spread of the coronavirus and help them tackle the epidemic. Individuals across the country are therefore getting creative about how they spend their time at home. While Chicagoans won't be able to head to a bar to ease their worries about the country-wide public health crisis, they will hopefully be able to watch more adorable content from Shedd Aquarium.