Was 2014 the Year of The Penguin?

Come Blog With Me Day 9

I just discovered that today is Penguin Awareness Day. Those that know me even slightly know that I’m well aware of the wonder of penguins….. So today I’m sharing a post about 2014 and its penguin obsession. Because it is impossible to be sad after watching a video of a penguin! (Just check out my penguin playlist on YouTube for the evidence. Yes, I have a penguin playlist….)

Anyway, so 2014 was a great year for penguins and those that love them, they have been everywhere. (Except, it turns out, the Wildlife Photographer of the Year, which opened at the end of 2014 and was fab anyway.)

Following on from 2013’s amazing Spy in the Huddle documentary (who could forget those bouncy rockhoppers with their bright pink feet? See the video below if you have.), there have been quite a few other documentaries and a drama based around penguins, and lots of penguin news.

The documentary Penguins on a Plane showed the transportation of 12 Gentoo penguins from New Zealand to the new Sea Life Centre in Birmingham, which opened at Easter. Penguins in custom-made crates and cute penguin reunions ensued.

Penguin Post Office was about the British Antarctic Survey’s base at Port Lockroy, where a group of intrepid workers go to spend 5 months, looking after the base and the post office, and living in the midst of a penguin colony. Living in a hut surrounded by penguins? Sounds like my kind of place! (My husband’s not so keen, however…)

Our Zoo, a drama about Chester Zoo, included a colony of Humboldts. They appeared at a time in the plot when the local residents were very much against the idea of a zoo in their midst, and the arrival of penguins waddling down their main street lightened even the hardest of hearts. (Proof that penguins really do make everyone smile.) See here for a behind the scenes look – the penguins appear at about 1 min 30s.

John Lewismuch awaited TV advert for Christmas featured penguins, the CGI stars being Monty and Mabel and their love story. If you haven’t seen it (where were you?!), you may need tissues on first viewing… And of course that meant you couldn’t go into a branch of John Lewis without seeing penguin-related items on sale – I for one own a Mabel cushion and a penguin-patterned scarf….

And the final penguin appearance for 2014 was a new film from the cheeky Penguins of Madagascar. I haven’t yet had the chance to see it, but it’s on the list.

In the world of social media, Birdland (in Bourton-on-the-Water) did a “Meet The Penguins” series and introduced some of their penguins on their penguin Facebook page. 2014 also saw the birth of two penguin chicks, one of which I saw on a visit in October.

King penguin chick at Birdland

And in my own penguin year, I visited Cotswold Wildlife Park, Birdland, ZSL London Zoo, Living Coasts and Weymouth Sea Life Centre. And the unlikeliest of penguin locations? An indoor ski centre in Dubai, where I watched them from the comfort of a warm shopping mall.

My penguin failures for 2014? I didn’t visit Birdworld, my nearest penguin place, despite travelling to Farnham for quite a lot of meetings. But I did feed them in 2013, so hopefully they didn’t miss me too much. And two places are still outstanding on my penguin visiting list – Longleat or Birmingham Sea Life Centre. Something for me to do in 2015 I think!

And if you’re still with me and haven’t died of boredom at the sheer amount of penguin links on this page, you can always have a browse through my penguin photos – and let me know if you’ve seen penguins somewhere exciting that I need to go! (<start of sarcasm> My husband will be so grateful, he loves following me round while I watch and photograph penguins… </end of sarcasm>)

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