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Lonely penguins enjoy day out at art museum

James Beal, May 24, 2020 7:00PM The Sun

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Lonely Peruvian penguins from the Kansas City Zoo enjoy their art gallery outing. Picture: Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art media_cameraLonely Peruvian penguins from the Kansas City Zoo enjoy their art gallery outing. Picture: Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art


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A trio of lonely penguins from a US zoo were treated to a day out an art gallery to lift their spirits during the coronavirus lockdown*.

Bubble, Maggie and Berkley, Peruvian penguins from Kansas City Zoo, were allowed to wander the halls of the city’s Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art because they are missing having visitors while the zoo is closed.

media_cameraThe zoo and the museum made sure it was safe for the penguins to visit during coronavirus shutdown. Picture: Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
media_cameraThe penguins miss having visitors at the zoo but got some enrichment at the museum. Picture: Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Art museum boss Julian Zugazagoitia said they loved hosting the penguins and seeing their reaction to the artworks

“They seem to react much better to Caravaggio* than Monet*,” he said.

“It really brought us joy, and I think it brings the community together when the love of animals and the empathy* we feel for them is also reinforced* by the love that we feel for art.”

media_cameraThere was plenty for the penguins to enjoy with more than 34,000 objects on display at the museum. Picture: Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
media_cameraBubble, Maggie and Berkley wander the halls of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Picture: Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

More than 34,000 objects are on display at the museum, including African art and sculpture spanning two thousand years, a vast Asian collection, and paintings by European masters from El Greco* to Rubens* and van Gogh*.

Kansas City Zoo chief executive Randy Wisthoff said: “We’re always looking to enrich* their lives and stimulate their days.

“And during this shutdown period, our animals really miss having visitors come out and see them.”

The museum and the zoo made sure the waddle at the museum was safe for the birds.


  • lockdown: keeping people in their homes
  • Caravaggio: an Italian painter who lived from 1571-1610
  • Monet: a French painter who lived from 1840-1926
  • empathy: the ability to understand the feelings of others
  • reinforced: strengthened
  • El Greco: a Greek painter who lived from 1541-1614
  • Rubens: an artist from the northern European region of Flanders who lived from 1577-1640
  • van Gogh: a Dutch painter who lived from 1853-1890
  • enrich: make more interesting and rewarding


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  1. What zoo are the penguins from?
  2.  What are the penguins names?
  3.  What is the name of the art museum they visited?
  4.  Why were they taken to the art museum?
  5.  How many objects are on display at the art museum?


1. From the penguin’s point of view
Rewrite this story from the point of view of one of the penguins. Your writing piece will incorporate elements of recount and narrative writing. You should use the information provided in the news story to provide a realist account of what the penguins saw but also use your creativity to tell a story and create personalities for the penguins.

Time: allow 45 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English

2. Extension
Choose one of the artists mentioned in the news story and find an example of one of their artworks. Create a picture of the 3 penguins viewing the artwork.

Time: allow 30 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English; Visual Arts

Proper Noun Police
A proper noun is a noun that names a particular person, place or thing. It always has a capital letter.

How many proper nouns can you find within this article? Find them all and sort them into the category of name, place, time (date/month).

Can you find any proper nouns included in your writing?

What are they?

Can you sort them into their categories?

HAVE YOUR SAY: Where would you take a lonely penguin on an outing?
No one-word answers. Use full sentences to explain your thinking. No comments will be published until approved by editors.

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