As humans are forced to stay at home to stop the further spread of the deadly coronavirus, penguins seem to be having the best time of their lives. They have been meeting whales in the aquarium, they can freely roam around the zoo and streets of Cape Town, South Africa, now they have been welcomed in the empty corridors of a museum.
Three Humboldt penguins from the Kansas City Zoo visited the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and admired the different masterpieces.
At first, museum director Julian Zugazagoitia told Insider that he assumed the penguins would love Monet’s “Water Lilies.”
“The reason we wanted to expose the penguins to the ‘Water Lilies,’ besides the fact that it’s one of our favorite paintings, is that it’s so calming and soothing,” he told The Insider. “We thought maybe they would react to the soothingness of that painting, but they seemed to wander around and not particularly stop on that one.”
The penguins surprised everyone as they spent more time wandering and absorbing the paintings by Baroque.
“I think they felt more comfortable there,” Zugasagoitia said. “They seemed to spend more time there and look more intently. The room is much warmer, the walls are red, and there’s a lot of action going on in the paintings.”
Zugazagoitia said the penguins’ visit started off as an April Fool’s Joke. He said he called on Randy Wisthoff, Kansas City Zoo director, to ask about his plans for reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“All of Kansas City, especially the arts and nonprofits, is a very close-knit and friendly group,” he said. “I was calling him to see how operations were going and when they were thinking about reopening. Then, as a joke, I said, ‘Hey, why don’t you bring some of your penguins to the museum?'”
“I thought he’d think it was a crazy idea,” Zugazagoitia added. “But he said, ‘Of course, when do you want to do it?’ So it went from silly banter with a friend to something possible and real.”
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