Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies Celebrates Birth of Two Baby Penguins on World Penguin Day

By April 27, 2017Company News

Gatlinburg, Tennessee (April 21, 2017) Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is celebrating the birth of its 3rd and 4th African Black-Footed Baby Penguin on World Penguin Day, Tuesday, April 25.

“The new baby brother penguins are Benny Hill born on February 17 weighing in at 52 grams and Falkor born on February 21 weighing in at 62 grams. The proud parents are Maggie and Atreyu. The Ripley Husbandry Team is monitoring them around the clock,” said Megan Klose, senior aviculturist of Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies.

View footage of the penguins here!


African penguins are considered “Endangered” which means they are facing a high risk of extinction in the wild. Major reasons include depletion of their food from overfishing and pollution. Since 1930, the African Penguin population has dropped from an estimated one million to 55,000.

World Penguin Day is a day when penguins are honored across the world and is one of 2 days dedicated to adorable penguins along with January 20 which is Penguin Awareness Day and October 8 which is African Penguin Awareness Day

“What a great day to honor our new baby penguins on World Penguin Day.” said Ryan DeSear, general manager of Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies.

In 2010, Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies added African Black-Footed Penguins as a part of its $5 million Ripley’s Penguin Playhouse.

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies continues their efforts and support of the African Black footed Penguin as a part of the Species Survival Plan of the Association of the Zoos and Aquariums. They also support (SANCCOB) the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds, which is a non-profit seabird rehabilitation center that helps rebuild habitats in South Africa.

Penguin Artwork can be purchased in the Cargo Hold Gift shop at Ripley Aquarium of the Smokies. 50% of the money from the sales of the artwork is donated to SANCCOB. For more information on SANCCOB go to:

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, the second most visited attraction in Tennessee, has been voted Number one Aquarium in the nation by USA Today, one of the Top 5 Aquariums in the USA & the world by TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice in 2014 & 2015, Top Destination to See Penguins by USA Today and Forbes Traveler named it one of the America’s Best Aquariums. Thousands of exotic sea creatures live in its 1.4 million gallons of water. The aquarium is known for its amazing shark exhibit that features 11-foot sharks and one of the most spectacular underwater tunnels in the world.

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies and Ripley’s Attractions in Tennessee are owned by Ripley Entertainment Inc., keepers of the venerable Ripley’s Believe It or Not!  Brand and global leader in location-based family entertainment. More than 13 million guests visit its 95 worldwide attractions in 11 countries annually. The Orlando-based company also has divisions that oversee publishing, licensing, and broadcast operations. Ripley Entertainment is a Jim Pattison Group Company, the second-largest privately held company in Canada.

The aquarium is located at traffic light #5 on the Parkway in Gatlinburg, Tennessee and is open 365 days a year. For information: call 888-240-1358 or see us on the web at