There’s only ONE place in the world where you can actually meet, play with, feed, hug and even smooch a penguin. Guess where?? Well Dubai, of course! And in particular, at Ski Dubai, an incredible indoor ski slope built in a shopping mall in the middle of the desert.
Have I mentioned recently that Dubai is the epitome of “biggest, best, fastest, tallest, most and only”?? Well, it is, and quite often the words “Guinness Book of World Records Holder” are used. Frankly, I think that the judges for this entity likely have an apartment in Dubai, since they *must* do so much work here! <grin>
Anyhow, on to the Penguins – Ski Dubai has a program where you can actually get up close and personal with penguins. You can see all the details here at www.skidubaipenguins.com/home where all the prices and perks are laid out. I had read about them on a website and TBG told me to pick a date. Since you had to have a group of 4 or pay for all 4 anyhow, we invited friends from here to join us. So Tom and Coral met us there.
First, you get all suited up in fat clothes to keep you warm. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.) Insulated boots, pants, coat, and gloves.
Can you tell how excited I was?? Then, you go into a very very very cold area to go play with the penguins and to be cautioned about stuff like…. You can’t take photos, you gotta buy the SkiDubai photos. No feeding them anything but what the trainers give you. Stuff like that… They gave us a lot of technical information that you can pretty much google for – but frankly, I was more interested in stuff like “How does eating fish equate to the giant penguin poop splashes (http://youtu.be/4_aX41OJ3yE) on the floor??” Stuff you can’t google, you know? But we did learn about their vetting procedure, the fact that there’s a penguin hospital on site, what their vitamin and feeding schedule looks like and such. It was interesting, but not the main reason I was there.
But once inside the special fences to keep the riff-raff out that didn’t pay to play, we were treated to penguins. Real, live, cute-beyond-freekin-belief penguins. Waddling, head-tilting flipper-flapping penguins, and I was instantly in love. They were all my very own personal penguin friends at that point, I just knew it.
We sat on really cold bench things to allow them to walk up to us at first, then we were all able to get down on our knees to get more on their level. Then, we could touch them and pet them. OH.MY.GOODNESS was I excited.
You know how you get something in your mind about how something’s gonna feel, or taste or be like? In your mind, it’s one way, but you may never know what it’s like in real life. Well, touching those penguins was EXACTLY like I thought it was gonna be – silky smooth, but slightly stiff, really soft but firm too. Exactly like I thought. Well, except for those cute little yellow spots over their ears – those were like… um…. Have you ever touched the middle of a dandelion flower??
To me, that’s exactly what that yellow velvety part over their ears felt like. Amazing something so soft could be on a creature designed to survive sub-zero temps and freezing water, you know. And apparently, it doesn’t affect their hearing one tiny little bit…. well, just a little bit while they’re underwater. But it keeps their ears protected.
We played with them with toys, followed them, let them follow us, we fed them, we chased them, let them chase us, caught them, sat with and hugged on them, I was just in love with these little critters! Oh, and they come to Dubai from San Antonio Texas USA, Sea World, where I have a dear friend that’s an animal trainer – small world, huh?? :::waving at Catherine Brown:::
The tour guide still had a surprise for us, though, we were gonna get to take home Penguin Art! I had no idea what it was, but I knew I wanted it. Have you ever felt that way? Excited and didn’t know why? That was exactly how I felt. But the guide spread non-toxic paint on a sheet of paper, then a clean sheet, and asked Pebbles, one of my new peng-friends if she’d walk in the paint, then on the paper…. and she did!! Pebbles made Penguin Art for us!!
At the end of the day, I was exhausted, happy, and grinning from ear-to-ear I think, and TBG had a blast as well. Was it spendy? Definitely. But was it a once-in-a-lifetime experience? Likely. I know I’ll never ever forget all my little penguin friends!!