Point Defiance Celebrates Penguin Chicks and World Ocean Day

If the penguin exhibit is your favorite attraction, you’re in for a treat. Two of the Magellanic penguins, known by the colors of their wing bands, Pink and Red, are parents to two chicks at the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium.

The eggs hatched earlier this week and the chicks received their wellness exams yesterday by head veterinarian Dr. Karen Wolf.

“They look healthy and in good condition and were very active during their physical examination,” Wolf said.

Magellanic penguin chick

One of the penguin chicks hatched on Monday and weighs 5.4 ounces, and the other chick hatched on Tuesday and weighs 4.3 ounces. The chicks spend most of their time huddling in the warmth of their parents, so spotting them may be difficult.

Prior to hatching, the parents incubated the eggs in shifts, and the chicks typically emerge between 38 and 42 days after they’re laid. Four of the nine penguins at the zoo were rescued from the shores of South America and were rehabilitated at a facility before settling in permanently in Tacoma. Four penguins were born at Point Defiance and one is originally from the Blank Park Zoo in Iowa.

In other exciting Point Defiance news, a massive sand sculpture, depicting the ecosystem of the sea, is being sculpted for World Ocean Day Weekend on June 2-3.

Sketch by Sue McGraw

The weekend will pay “homage to the lifegiving role of the Earth’s seas,” and celebrate the imminent opening of the new aquarium later this summer. The process of creating the sculpture is already underway. International artist and Tacoma native Sue McGraw is at the helm of the project, and the sketch shows one side of the 15-to-17-foot fall, 360-degree sculpture.

To create the masterpiece, McGraw is using 100 tons of sand, and will feature several marine animals inside the new aquarium. Extra sand will be used for a kids play area. She will also be giving a sand sculpting workshop during World Ocean Day Weekend.

For more information about the fun-filled weekend, visit online.

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is an assistant editor at South Sound magazine. Email her.
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