South African penguins
The California Academy of Sciences has a truly awesome aquarium on the lower level, but the South African penguins live at the far end of the African Hall — which is otherwise filled with non-living specimens (antelope, lions, etc). I arrived just as the keeper finished cleaning the enclosure and joined a small crowd of people watching these adorable little penguins; we listened to a museum biologist explain how seriously endangered they are; the South African penguin is expected to be extinct in the wild by 2026.
The biologist also clued us in about the bands the penguins wear. Males wear a band on their right wing, and females wear one on the left. The bands are color coded — so if you see two penguins wearing the same color, you’ll know they are a mating pair!
Penguin feeding times are always popular with museum visitors; they take place twice a day, at 10:30 AM and 3 PM. Even better, if you can’t make it to San Francisco to see the penguins in person, you can tune in to the Live Penguin Cams and get your dose of penguin cuteness no matter where you live!