While penguins may not cross your mind when you think of African wildlife, the flightless birds do live on the southern tip of the continent. At Busch Gardens Tampa, you can see African penguins in Penguin Point, located near the Nairobi train station.
Open Date: Late 2014
Replaced: Asian Small-Clawed Otters
This section will be added in the future.
During Christmas Town in 2012 and 2013, the Asian small-clawed otter habitat was temporarily modified for African penguins on loan from SeaWorld Orlando as part of the holiday event. After the event each of those years, the otters returned to the habitat.
In early May 2014, an African penguin egg arrived at the park from the Georgia Aquarium. It later hatched on May 29. The male baby penguin was named Banks and was hand-reared by animal care staff. During the summer of 2014, six more penguins arrived from the Metro Richmond Zoo in Virginia. Once Banks was old enough to swim, he was slowly introduced to the rest of the colony over five months. By Thanksgiving of 2014, when Christmas Town opened for the season, the seven penguins were on display in their new home, Penguin Point.
The oldest of the six penguins that arrived from Virginia were brother and sister pair Curry and Dijon. Male penguin Marino hatched in February 2014. Mary Katherine, better known as MK to keepers, hatched in March 2014. Tang was the second-largest male at the time, and also hatched in March 2014. Lloyd was the largest male at the time, weighing in at 8 pounds.
Two more penguin chicks hatched in November 2014 at Busch Gardens. As of the 2014 Christmas Town season, the African penguins became permanent residents in Nairobi, with the Asian small-clawed otters moving to the gibbon habitat in Kulu Canopy in Jungala.
As of October 2015, there were a total of nine African penguins on habitat.
In September 2018, several chicks were born. By mid-December, they joined the other penguins on habitat.
Remember the adorable African penguin chicks that hatched a few months ago? They're growing fast and taking their first swim! You can say hi to them at Penguin Point! https://t.co/EsTyH47n62 pic.twitter.com/368yKIJH5f
— Busch Gardens Tampa Bay (@BuschGardens) December 17, 2018
For Penguin Awareness Day 2019, the park brought the hatchlings from the fall to the Animal Care Center for up-close encounters throughout the weekend of January 19 and 20. A special discount on penguin-themed merchandise was also available at select shops.
Busch Gardens Tampa | Jan 2 2015 – accessed 7/8/2018
Busch Gardens Tampa | Jan 20 2015 – accessed 7/14/2018
Busch Gardens Tampa | Oct 9 2015 – accessed 7/25/2018
Twitter – @BuschGardens | Oct 11 2018 – accessed 8/1/2019
Twitter – @BuschGardens | Dec 17 2018 – accessed 8/3/2019
Twitter – @BuschGardens | Jan 15 2019 – accessed 8/3/2019
Twitter – @BuschGardens | Jan 20 2019 – accessed 8/3/2019
Page last updated: 10/20/2019