Cingel mingles with the penguins at the Detroit Zoo

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Cingel mingles with the penguins at the Detroit Zoo

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Lindsey Wertenberger, Staff Writer

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  “Do you want to know how penguins stay warm, eat, and play while living in their icy cold habitat? Get up close and personal with them at the Zoo!” (https://detroitzoo.org/support/give/zoo-experiences/mingle-with-the-macaronis/).

  On Wednesday Dec. 5, Hailey Cingel, ‘20 got this very opportunity. She was able to participate in the Detroit Zoo’s Mingle with the Macaronis in the Polk Penguin Conservation Center.

  Cingel was invited to go to the event with her neighbor, RJ Hayden, who received it as a birthday gift from his wife. Their group included Hayden, his wife, their two grandkids, her brother, and herself.

  Before her visit, Cingel stated, “I am most looking forward to going in the enclosure, and getting a behind the scenes look at everything the zoo does for the penguins. I think it will be very interesting to get that close to a penguin, and I hope that I get to encounter several penguins up close.”

  As stated on the zoo website, “Under the guidance and supervision of a zookeeper, you will interact with these charming birds in their habitat. Your visit will last approximately two hours and include a behind-the-scenes tour of the Polk Penguin Conservation Center. Once inside, you’ll meet some of the 80-plus penguins.”

  The event also includes a variety of different photo opportunities as participants are able to hand-feed the different subspecies of penguins at the zoo.

  During her experience, Cingel was able to do all of these things.

  She mentioned, “We got a tour of a behind the scenes of the exhibit, we learned about the hatching process and how they take away the actual egg and replace it with a fake egg for the parents to raise, so they can make sure that the egg incubates properly.”

  This event is held year round, except during the penguins breeding or molting seasons, and is available to anyone who wants to participate. You can choose to do the event any day of the week from 1 to 3 p.m, and it’s $1000 per group which may range in size from 1-6 people for the private tour and mingle.

  Cingel also enjoyed the opportunity to be hands-on with the penguins.

  “The penguins came in as they wanted to and you were able to feed them fish or pet them.”

  She included that the most interesting part of her day was that “there was a one eyed penguin, named Cy, which was pretty cool to see. She only has one eye because she scratched the other one out as a baby.”

“A penguin fell asleep on my leg so that was pretty cool,” Cingel included was her favorite part.

  One interesting fact that Cingel learned during her day at the zoo is that if one of the eggs cracked, they are able to take it in and put something similar to a bandage on it to make sure that the egg can still grow up.

  Cingle added, “I thought that was pretty cool.”

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Cingel mingles with the penguins at the Detroit Zoo