Why are Penguins a Popular Feature in Aquariums and Zoos?

Penguins are one of the most fascinating creatures in the animal kingdom and they are termed as marine birds. Penguins spend most of their time in the water and come to land to mate, molt and lay eggs. Through the years, penguins have captured the attention and fascination of human all over the world.

As penguins are mostly found in colder regions of the world, they have become a popular feature in aquariums and zoos. Many people wonder why penguins are such highly sought after attraction in zoos and there are many different reasons that make up the answer to this question.

The Media Influence – Penguins have been lauded by media in all its forms from time immemorial. From movies and cartoons to characters in comic books. Penguins of Madagascar is one of the most popular animation movies featuring penguins. Penguins have also featured in several other animated movies like Happy Feet. The popular award-winning documentary March of the Penguins showcased the yearly journey of Emperor Penguins to breeding grounds.

Media outlets also extensively covered the gay penguin couple of Roy and Silo that adopted an egg, hatched it and parented the chick together. The chick was named Tango by the zookeepers. The news resulted in an award-winning book called “And Tango Makes Three” by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson.

The Exclusive Factor – Penguins are only found in certain locations in the world which is why keeping them in a zoo or an aquarium requires special arrangements. From the living conditions to fresh water, food, companionship and much more. Keeping a penguin in a zoo can be an expensive and elaborate task.

Penguins Are Popular In Zoos Because Of Their Distinct Looks

Penguins are Popular in Zoos because of their Distinct Looks

Along with that, penguins eat only a certain kind of fish and krill. They also need the additional vitamins and nutrients that they are not able to get in captivity. These are some of the reasons why keeping a penguin in a zoo is not easy, and any zoo that has a penguin maintains a certain level of exclusivity in keeping these beautiful animals on display for the common public.

Social Nature of PenguinsPenguins are social by nature and they are extremely curious too. When they see people in a zoo they are more on the interactive side as they are not afraid of human beings. Another factor why visitors like to see penguins is that penguins are most often found in pairs and their antics are entertaining for children and adults alike.

Penguins are Entertaining – Whether they are on land or in water, it is fun to watch penguins move. While they are slick and smooth when swimming in the water, their waddling on land makes them look even more endearing. At times, penguins will also lie down on their stomach and move across the ice with their feet.

The Social Nature of Penguins Makes Them a Popular Attraction in Zoos

The Social Nature of Penguins Makes Them a Popular Attraction in Zoos

During mating season, penguins also make extensive courtship displays for attracting a mate and keeping other penguins away from their nest. The way penguins move around each other during a courtship display makes them appear as if they are dancing with each other. Penguins also make cooing sounds to attract their mate that further adds to their charm.

Penguins Have a Distinct Look – With their black and white coat of feathers and their movements in sea and land, penguins look utterly distinct from any animal in sea or land. Their bird-like appearance with their flippers and beaks gives them a regal look and the different species of penguins, from the largest emperor penguin to the smallest fairy penguins make them a delight to look at. It is uncommon for animals from the same species to look dominating as well as cute only on the basis of their size.


The next time someone asks you why penguins are a popular feature in aquariums and zoos, you can simply tell them the points we have discussed in the article above. The popularity of penguins stems from the fact that they are an endangered species and it is a possibility that our future generations might not get to see some species of penguins.

With their cute looks and endearing behavior, penguins will always be a favorite among zoo and aquarium visitors. Do you have any thoughts on why penguins are such a popular feature at zoos? Do let us know your thoughts in the comment section.




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I got interested in penguins from a young age and as I grew I realized that penguins are such fascinating birds. I made it a mission to create a website where all information about penguins could be accessed in an easy to read format.

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