Missouri Penguins Enjoy ‘Morning Of Fine Art’ At Local Museum


Adorable, funny, social – yes. Pets? Not so fast!

Time Magazine published a story about penguins and an art museum yesterday. It was a great story.

As social distancing precautions drag on, many Americans are aching to get out of the house and explore the world’s wonders. Earlier this month, one temporarily closed cultural institution received visitors from the Kansas City Zoo: a trio of Humboldt penguins.

On May 6, the three penguins strolled through halls of the the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, located in Kansas City, Mo., viewing artworks by Impressionist and Baroque masters.

“I don’t know what they feel, what it says in their mind,” Julián Zugazagoitia, the director and CEO of the museum says. “They stop, and look and wonder.”

You have to agree, the video is amazing.

But it got me thinking. These animals are so cute, so funny, and apparently, so social, would they be good pets?

I googled the question and got a pretty definitive answer: NO! No U.S. breeders; strict importation laws; penguins are so social you’d probably need 20 or more to keep them happy; they eat $1,000 of fish a year; and on and on.

OK, they’re adorable, but maybe not as pets. Until I found this – Lala, the Hashimoto family’s pet King Penguin : “Watch this video on YouTube.“*

Lala the pet King Penguin

As many of you know, I lived in Japan for several years and go back on visits once a year or so. I might call the next trip “Mission Penguin Pet” and visit the Nishimoto’s. Who knows, I might be taking penguin pet orders next.

*Yes, I know this video is 10-years old. But bear in mind: King Penguins live to about 30. Lala was 10 at the time, so he’s 20 now, with about 10 years left of a healthy Japanese lifestyle. Mrs. Nishimoto? Let me get back to you.

Published by Ted Block

Ted Block is a veteran “Mad Man,” having spent 45+ years in the advertising industry. During his career, he was media director of several advertising agencies, including Benton & Bowles in New York and Foote, Cone and Belding in San Francisco; account management director on clients as varied as Clorox, Levi’s and the California Raisin Advisory Board (yes, Ted was responsible for the California Dancing Raisins campaign); and regional director for Asia based in Tokyo for Foote, Cone where he was also the founding president of FCB’s Japanese operations. Ted holds a Bachelor’s degree in communications from Queens College and, before starting in advertising, served on active duty as an officer on USS McCloy (DE-1038) in the U.S. Navy. Besides writing Around the Block, Ted is also a guest columnist for the Palm Beach Post.

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