Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies Celebrates Birth of Baby Penguins

By February 26, 2018Uncategorized
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And they need names!

Gatlinburg, TN (February 26, 2018) Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is celebrating the historical birth of three African black-footed baby penguins.

Haley and Glen are the proud parents to two baby penguins, weighing in at 63 grams and 61 grams. The third penguin, weighing in at 60 grams, was born to proud parents Nick and Doza.

The baby penguins are doing well and are being monitored around the clock by the experienced Ripley Husbandry team.

“We are excited about the births of these new baby penguins. It is a historical event at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies any time a baby penguin is born. Any birth is a beautiful thing here at the aquarium, but the birth of an endangered animal is truly spectacular. Best of all, the babies are ridiculously cute,” said Ryan DeSear, Regional Manager of Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies.

In Ripley’s Penguin Playhouse, burrowed nesting boxes and mud holes have been built into the rocky habitat for nest building. In the wild, mature birds lay two eggs in the nest, which is protected from the sun and most predators, and both parents incubate the eggs and feed the chicks for two to four months. African penguins breed in huge, noisy colonies and the mating pair stays together in a tight bond for their entire life.

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 down to 55,000.

Names Needed!

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies wants your help in naming the new baby penguins. They are taking submissions on their website until March 4, 2018. Once the top names are collected, they will hold a voting contest starting on March 7, 2018, to name the new baby penguins.

Visit to submit your names!

In 2010, Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies added African Black-Footed Penguins as a part of the $5 million Ripley’s Penguin Playhouse. The exhibit was named one of the 10 best places to see Penguins by, a division of USA Today Travel.

Quote by “Penguin Playhouse at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg might be the world’s best penguin exhibits. The $5 million project includes indoor and outdoor exhibit with innovative viewing options. Crawl through transparent tunnels to see the birds from below or pop-up to see them nose to beak,”

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



Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies and Ripley’s / Guinness Attractions in Tennessee are owned by Ripley Entertainment Inc., keepers of the venerable Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Brand and a global leader in location-based family entertainment. More than 14 million guests visit in over 100 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.

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, the second most visited attraction in Tennessee, was voted the number one aquarium in the nation by USA, 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.


Suzanne Smagala-Potts
Public Relations Manager
Ripley Entertainment Inc.
O: 407-345-8010 C: 727-439-0136

Dee Lundy
Phone: 865-755-2128 | Fax: 865-522-7821