January 27, 2010 --
These days, Chicago's weather seems fit only for penguins, who love ice, snow and cold. So it only seems natural that we've received a mid-winter visit from some penguins.
For the rest of the year, they live at SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida, seaworldorlando.com. They've also brought along two warm-weather friends: a laughing kookaburra and a kinkajou; they'll help us dream of warm, tropical places.
They'll also teach us something about the lands that they call home.
MAGELLANIC PENGUINS The largest of the temperate climate penguins. They come from South America. During the warm weather, they lose the feathers around their eyes, and when it gets cold the feathers grow back. Using their wings like paddles, they can achieve speeds of over 15 miles per hour. They have very dense feathers with over 70 per square inch.
KOOKABURRA Kingfisher family; hunting birds that eat snakes, lizards, frogs; kills snakes by dropping them from great heights or beating them on branches Native to Australia One of the best known sounds in the animal world; in the old "Tarzan" films the sound is heard often. But Tarzan was supposed to be in Africa, kooks live only in Australia.
KINKAJOU The kinkajou, nicknamed the honey bear, is a rainforest mammal Lives among the upper canopy of the tropical forest. They feed mainly on fruit and insects. The kinkajou is extremely agile and fast, traveling quickly along the tree tops, jumping noisily from tree to tree. Their long prehensile tail is used to balance and hold on while traveling among the tree tops.
If you're planning to escape the cold and get away this winter, SeaWorld in Orlando is offering Adults Tickets at Kids' Prices. When you purchase your tickets online, you can save up to 15 percent off. You'll also save time in line by going straight into the park. Multi-park tickets give you the chance to visit the whole family of SeaWorld parks, such as Aquatica and Busch Gardens Tampa. The more parks you visit, the more you save. The best deals are always found online; for more information visit SeaWorldOrlando.com.