Birds Melbourne Odds and Ends

The Melbourne Aquarium — penguins

During the January holidays I was lucky to go with my holiday programme job to the Melbourne Aquarium. Even though I had a group of children to keep track of and keep engaged, I loved it. It was my first visit and I was blown away by the shapes and colours that exist under water. So I was determined to come back with my sketchbook.

Unfortunately my first attempt to get there was thwarted. Disappointed, but not defeated, I tried again last week. I have also been reading a book about seahorses, and I really wanted to spend time looking at them. The Aquarium is in an area of Melbourne Town that I don’t walk through very much. So getting there was a delight.

Highlander Lane

The building itself is not very interesting.

Taken from the other side of Flinders St, across a tram stop.

However, inside is a world of delights.

An area that draws everyone in is the penguin display. King and gentoo penguins are kept in Antarctic conditions. (Apologies for the quality of the photos. They were taken through a thick glass wall — a smeary, thick glass wall.)

The stately king penguins
The smaller gentoo penguins

The gentoos are very engaging, and often come up to the glass — probably because they now associate humans with food. But it is cute.

Engaging gentoos
Engaging gentoos
Off up the hill for a swim
Off up the hill for a swim
Flying through the water
Flying through the water

One of the King penguins had recently hatched a chick and another had an egg on its feet. The chick, looking very fat and happy, was being feed by the parent.

The chick with the parent. The penguin behind has an egg on his feet.
The chick with the parent. The penguin behind has an egg on his feet.
Feeding the chick
Feeding the chick

The penguins are all closely monitored, especially the chick. While I watched the keepers came in and weighed the chick. It was 3.85 kg. Then it was feed extra fish. While this was happening, the parent, naturally, was very defensive of the chick and tried to peck the keepers. The keeper solved the problem by gently holding the adult’s beak.

The chick being hand fed. Look at the gentoo penguins behind the clear fence. They want food too!
The chick being hand fed. Look at the King penguins behind the clear fence. They want food too!
Holding the parent's beak
Holding the parent’s beak

Next time I will take you to see the Syngnathidae family — seahorses, pipefish and the wondrous seadragons. But as you go there you pass by a display that shows live feeds from the research stations in Antarctica. It would be interesting to see the feeds during the cold winter months.

Live feeds from the Antarctic stations
Live feeds from the Antarctic stations

4 replies on “The Melbourne Aquarium — penguins”

You have reminded me that it has been a while since we have taken the kids there.
I agree, it is a pretty uninteresting building from the outside but the inside is amazing. I think they even do sleepovers in the big round room with the sharks gliding around you all night. That would certainly be an experience wouldn’t it!
I am sure the kids would love to see the penguins and I would love to see your sketches, the underwater world is definitely an inspiring one 🙂


My daughter took me to the Aquarium for my birthday a few years back. I don’t think I could spend too long in that shark room, watching them glide overhead. -shiver- It is a fascinating place though.


It looks great ..I have been there with os visitors but a while ago …lets have a book club sleep over . You are inspiring about so many things . Cheers Mary


Nothing like a good natter, so let's have a chat!

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