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Playa Pinguïnos and the penguin school in
Animalpark Emmen (NL).

In July 2002, DierenPark in Emmen opened a new habitat for their large group of humboldt penguins.

All pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them.
These pictures are my own and can only be used for non-commercial purposes, after getting permission.

A description by Theodoor Westerhof, one of the year ticket holders of the zoo, and he made it so attractive you simply have to visit it, which I did in August 2002. So now I included my pictures in the text:
"The new habitat is wonderful, made of artificial rocks along a large lake, where the penguins can swim whenever they feel like it.

Humboldts on the coast (48 K) Humboldts on the coast (37 K) Humboldts on the coast (36 K)

Maybe penguin exhibit isn't the right word, because you also find some coscoroba swans, blackneck swans, a few ducks and some large fish in there. The fish are too large to swallow, although some penguins try to catch them.
The penguins will notice that there are often humans around. When not mistaken, penguins can even come on the path of the people, which leads through the nest regio, therefore some strict rules that should be followed: Penguins always go first, you are not allowed to touch them and penguins can bite. But direct interaction is possible when a penguin wants it. This will make their lives more complicated and so more natural. Of course interactions between penguins will happen a lot more frequently, as they are with much more than the other "animals", unless on very busy days.
Other than the real, living humboldts, there are also some much bigger ones and probably the real birds won't even see them as penguins.

Humboldt  showing the way to the school (20 K) Sign (25 K) Wall painting of a school corridor (17 K)

These are the penguins of the penguin school, lightly humanized to tell more personally that this planet belongs to animals (penguins), as much as to us, humans. We enter the school directly from the dunes in the nesting regio. At the entrance you see a penguin teacher welcoming the students (and visitors).

Humboldt teacher welcoming his students in the classroom (22 K) Pupil, distracted through what's happening outside. Sounds familiar? (34 K) Study material (33 K)
classroom teacher Study material (33 K)

There is a lot of stuff in the classroom, hardly to describe all of it. Most important subject seems penguin knowledge but other, almost equally important subjects are language (Dutch, English and German), reading and writing, biology, geography (especially of the sea), anatomy, etc... They even have to learn some Latin words. Sport happens outside: the window looks out on the bassin of the real penguins. Examination is a bit difficult: each pupil gets a different question in 3 languages and has to answer it in the 3 languages. Although they use modern material like computers, they also have older stuff like a blackboard to write at, wall-pictures, etc... and they have to stay in after school.

Punished? (21 K) Learning to read and write (34 K) Humboldt bed
map reading (22 K) Humboldt (33 K)

A bit further you find that watching TV and reading comics and fantasy books isn't forbidden, there hang posters of Super Penguin, Spider Penguin, and "Barry Pinger and the Golden Herring". There is a bed of stones where tired penguins can rest.
wall painting (20 K) wall painting (25 K)

If you walk further-on, you see how much the number of humboldts in the wild decreased during the last decades. After about 24 m, you can admire the penguins swimming and flying in their large aquarium.

Pinguin aquarium (18 K) Pinguin aquarium (24 K) Pinguin aquarium (17 K)

There are always some swimming around... Afterwards you see a humanized version of penguins with a treasury and the names of the sponsors on a wall-painting.

And finally a few last pictures to give you an impression:

molting (26 K) Humboldt head (28 K) wall painting (22 K) Humboldt (22 K) Statues, nearby the entry (34 K)

You see, it's more than worth a visit !!!

Update 2008: In the meanwhile, they had several successful breeding seasons. You find some pictures of little chicks in the gallery/humboldt penguins

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