Penguins are arguably some of the cutest creatures on the planet. Some love them for their way-cute waddle. Others admire the way they cut through the water with ease. The more formal types might like that they’re dressed in black in white every day! I can’t decide which of their adorable characteristics I love more! I just know that they are some of my personal favorites, so much so that for my birthday this past year, all I wanted was a chance to get up close and personal again with one at SeaWorld.
I’ve been missing my little friends for months while the Penguin Encounter has been taken down, and the new Antarctica… Empire of the Penguin is under construction. The first-of-its-kind family ride will transport guests into an Antarctica penguin’s world.
Quick fact break: Not all penguins live in cold temperatures.
Our family has spent literally hours in Penguin Encounter, and we were fortunate enough to have been picked a number of times for a behind-the-scenes “meet and greet” with the stars. In the Encounter format there were “Penguin Talks” at 2 p.m. in the afternoon. If you were in there and paid close attention to the educational presentation, you were given the opportunity to “win” a trip backstage. My son (soon to be 6) has never been more proud of Mama than when I poked my hand up the fastest and then (whew!) answered the question of the day(s) correctly. I’m not kidding when I say that I felt like I was on a game show. There was a LOT of pressure from my short fellow SeaWorld fan to meet those penguins!
Now we’re ramping up for the all-new experience. It started when I went to the media preview in November, 2011. Julie Scardina, animal ambassador, was there to greet us and Brian Morrow shared all the exciting news… How it’s going to be the “coolest” (literally!) theme park attraction in the world… and how guests will experience a state-of-the-art interactive ride that makes the adventure different each time.
We’re getting a taste of the fun with the new SeaWorld app: SeaWorld’s Antarctica (available in iTunes, with Android platform coming soon). On it you’ll find penguin facts, a fun photo game (check out my little guy as an explorer here), and info about the seven-city Epic Voyage campaign being launched in New York City. Street teams will ensure people can “follow the freeze” as teams visit malls and consumer travel shows. I’m trying to figure out what city I can visit to participate in the ice dome, photo ops, Antarctica games and (my favorite) live penguins. They’ll also have a Coca-Cola Freestyle machine serving Coke products which, as you know, is our family favorite.
Quick fact break: ALL penguins live naturally in the Southern hemisphere).
If you’re as penguin-obsessed as our family, you’re no doubt donning some sort of penguin item in honor of penguin awareness. I have on my penguin necklace, a gift from my son (maybe for getting those questions right!). I’m saving our matching penguin T-shirts for the grand opening of Antarctica… Empire of the Penguin. I may, however, have to sport ALL my penguin garb if I’m luck enough to #jointhevoyage with the Epic Voyage tour.