Residents of the Hannah Duston Rehabilitation Center, a nursing home in Massachusetts, are soon going to be getting a visit from a very special tuxedoed gentleman, Roast Beef the African penguin. He lives at the New England Aquarium, but he is specially trained to visit schools and community events. The five-pound penguin even travels in his own air-conditioned crate. This will be Roast Beef's first time at a nursing home, but aquarium officials aren't worried because, they say, "Penguins are clearly loved by all ages." Clearly. It's bound to be a magical visit, since Roast Beef's nickname is "The Ladies Man."
Some people dream of falling in love, starting their own business, or traveling the world. I used to dream that I would someday get to interact with a penguin. I think big, you know?
Two birthdays ago, my boyfriend paid for us to go visit the National Aviary in Pittsburgh for the "Penguin Encounter." We got to spend a half hour in a room with one wee African penguin named Elvis! We pet him, watched him waddle around us, and laughed as he plummeted, flapping, into his trainer's lap. I wish he liked us as much as he liked his trainer, but alas, I'd say he "tolerated" our petting more than he liked it. We took some pictures with him, but when I got my head a little too close, he beaked at me a little bit, like "back off, lady." Alas.
But still. I spent 30 minutes petting a little penguin, and it was pretty much the greatest birthday gift ever.