After an aquarium in Chicago was forced to close to visitors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, fans of its adorable animals weren't left without their cute fix.

The Shedd Aquarium normally welcomes almost two million guests annually, and it is committed to supporting a world thriving with aquatic life, sustained by people who love, understand and protect it. It conducts critical scientific research, rescue and conservation efforts both at home in the Great Lakes and around the world. As it was unable to open to visitors, it shared adorable footage of cute penguins wandering around freely to meet other little creatures.

"Without guests in the building, caretakers are getting creative in how they provide enrichment to animals," says Shedd. "They are introducing new experiences, activities, foods and more to keep them active, and encourage them to explore, problem-solve and express natural behaviours." As part of this ethos, the aquarium decided to allow several of its rockhopper penguins to take a “field trip” around the premises to meet other creatures, and found that they really enjoyed the experience.

Penguin Tour 7.jpg
Monte exploring the aquarium © Shedd Aquarium

Edward and Annie are a bonded rockhopper pair who explored several exhibits together, including Caribbean Reef and the Rivers gallery. While Monte was captured engaging with a dolphin in a very cute manner, Wellington explored the aquarium’s Amazon Rising exhibition. "Wellington seemed most interested by several of the freshwater fish species, including the red-bellied piranhas and the black-barred silver dollars," the aquarium said. "Those same fish seemed equally interested in Wellington, meaning the penguins aren’t the only animals receiving enrichment from these pop-up field trips."

Staff at the Shedd Aquarium
The aquarium provides visitors with great experiences and learning © Shedd Aquarium

You can follow Shedd Aquarium on Instagram here and can check out its website here.

Keep up to date with Lonely Planet's latest travel-related COVID-19 news here.

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