Inside Tracks: Penguin Encounters

Come nose to beak with our engaging African penguins in a special encounter space during this private 45-minute program! Learn about our penguins and meet one of their keepers who will explain the ins and outs of African penguin feeding, care, and overall management. Then, get the chance to interact with two ambassador penguins from our colony before ending the encounter with a great photo opportunity.

Commissary Visit
Penguin Enrichment
Photo Op

Encounter Info

Cost: $225 per encounter (up to 4 participants) + general admission for each GSC non-member

Availability: Fridays and Saturdays at 3:15 pm
Additional holiday encounters may be available. Click the "book now" button for dates.

Capacity: 4 participants from the same household

Minimum age: 6 years old

Age restrictions: Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult, with a maximum of 2 children per adult. Participants under 18 must have the program liability waiver signed by a parent/legal guardian.

Health and Safety: All participants must be from the same household and are required to wear a mask that meets or exceeds CDC guidelines for the duration of the program. Masks made of thin fabric that does not block light, single-layer and masks with valves and vents are not permitted. No exemptions are permissible for this program.

Advanced reservations are strongly recommended. Tickets may be available on the day of your visit and can be purchased at the Information Desk in the lobby.
NOTE: ticket sales end one hour prior to the experience's listed time.

Guidelines

  • Closed-toe shoes are required. Surgical booties will be provided to participants to maintain our birds' healthy environment.
  • Long pants are strongly suggested. (Our birds sometimes like to explore with their beaks!)
  • All encounters are subject to change due to animal medical procedures or other unforeseen circumstances.
  • Photography is allowed and encouraged, but no tripods or selfie sticks, please. You will need to keep your mask on for pictures.

Makes a Great Gift!


Gift certificate note: You can email the gift certificate directly to the recipient or download a gift certificate to fill out and give in person!


FAQs

We'll start in food prep to see what’s on the menu for our whole colony and learn more about our African penguins' routine here at the GSC. Then we'll catch a few minutes of our afternoon feeding before stepping behind the scenes into our encounter room. Here you'll learn more about African penguins with one of our very knowledgeable keepers while we interact with one of our ambassador birds.

Participants will have the opportunity to interact with our penguins using a variety of enrichment toys, but there will not be any direct contact or touch. Our penguins, however, sometimes like to explore guests’ shoelaces and other items with their beaks.
Please wear solid, closed-toe shoes (sneakers or boots, not athletic sandals) and long pants. The room is a comfortable 68 degrees, so no coat is required to meet these African penguins. Be sure to bring a camera/cell phone for pictures!
Our program begins in the food prep area, with a wide range of seafood. Our African penguins eat fish; please let staff know if they should be aware of any known fish or shellfish allergies.
Trade your printed ticket for a African penguin token at the Information Desk. Our encounter groups meet inside the aquarium at the sign stand posted beside the fishing cat exhibit.
Advance tickets are strongly suggested and available online. Check for available spaces on the day of your visit at the Information Desk in the lobby. Tickets must be purchased before 2pm on the day of the encounter.
The group meets at 3:10 and will go behind the scenes promptly at 3:15; there is no guarantee that a late person can be connected with the group. Tickets are non-refundable.
We want to be as accommodating as possible, so please let us know if you have any questions or concerns. Wheelchairs cannot navigate all of our planned stops, but we will work with you for alternatives. Masks must be worn by all participants at all times. Contact us at 336-288-3769 ext. 1357 with questions.