Penguin Planet rolls into Charleston

Image by Flickr user nouQraz Image by 20090112-penguins.jpg

Charleston’s latest real estate property pulled in at the Port Authority on Monday.

But this isn’t some prefab structure intended for urban hipsters.

Instead it will be full of water, house four to eight Magellanic penguins and stand as the South Carolina Aquarium’s newest attraction.

It’s called Penguin Planet and is slated to open in March.

Right now, though, it’s an empty 8,000-pound structure. No penguins. No water.

From the Port Authority the structure will be loaded onto a barge in the Cooper River. Then a tugboat will push it to the Aquarium.

That’s all pretty cool. But I want to know about the penguins.

Let’s check Wikipedia.

Says here the Magellanic penguins are from South America. They breed in Argentina and Chile. Some of them migrate to Brazil.

They are medium-sized, with black backs and white stomachs, and usually live 25 to 30 years. They feed on sardines, squid and crustaceans. When they eat, they swallow salt water. But they have a gland that helps them excrete the salt.

You want more info, you say. Well, here’s a snippet from the Aquarium's Press Release:

Upon completion, the new Penguin Planet exhibit will feature 500 square feet of covered exhibit space and be home to Magellanic penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus). The penguin’s habitat will span 12 feet long X eight feet wide X 10 feet high. Completed, the exhibit will weight over 30,000 pounds. The experience, set to open in March will be a temporary exhibit, visiting through March 2010.

Penguin Planet will be placed on the first floor in the Aquarium’s original Touch Tank exhibit space. In conjunction with the addition of Penguin Planet, the Aquarium will welcome a new expanded Touch Tank experience. Set to open Tuesday, January 13 [Update: Moved back to Wednesday, the 14th, due to weather] the expanded Touch Tank will include stingrays and a toddler play area on the building’s second floor.

If you haven't been to the Aquarium, now's a fine time. Be sure to check out Penguin Planet as well as the rest of their cool exhibits. And stay tuned to their Web site for more updates. If you need more Penguin news, download the press release here.