For the Calgary Zoo‘s king penguins, colder temperatures mean the return of walk time. Of the five species of penguin at the zoo, only the kings are allowed to go walking as they’re the only ones able to withstand the cold, says Calgary Zoo curator Dr. Malu Celli.
“King penguins are a sub-Antarctic species so they can tolerate a great deal of cold. They would definitely be okay from zero to below minus-20.”
The walk is voluntary for the penguins. “They tend to know that [walk] time is near, so close to 11 o’clock they are moving toward the gates,” Celli says. “We open the gates of the outside exhibit that is occupied by the Humboldt penguins during warmer seasons and we walk whichever king penguins come out down toward the zoo bridge. The public stay on one side of the extensions and the penguins stay on the other side and then staff and penguins walk down and stop for a photo op.
“When they come back they get a fish and then stay outside if [conditions allow]. They tend to really enjoy it.”
The Penguin Walk takes place daily at 11 a.m. until mid-March weather permitting. It’s included with admission. Arrive around 10:30 a.m. to get a good viewing spot along the path. 210 St. George’s Dr. N.E., 403-232-9300, calgaryzoo.com