coronavirus

Closed to Humans, Shedd Aquarium Invites Animals on ‘Field Trips'

A porcupine named Tyson was the latest to take a tour of other habitats

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The Shedd Aquarium has been closed for six days due to coronavirus concerns, but there's still some activity inside the iconic Chicago museum. Animals have been allowed to experience parts of the museum normally reserved for human guests.

On Thursday, the "field trips" continued with a 5-year-old prehensile-tailed porcupine named Tyson. Animal care staff took Tyson to the Polar Play Zone to visit with the penguins in their own habitat.

Penguins at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium recently embarked on a short adventure with the aquarium closed to the coronavirus.

"He can be a little timid, particularly in new spaces," said Kayley Ciocci, a spokeswoman for the Shedd. "Giving him the opportunity to experience this space without the added stimuli of guests at first can be helpful in getting him comfortable exploring new areas."

The 90-year-old museum has been closed since March 13, leaving halls that typically welcome 2 million visitors a year empty.

“Sue” the dinosaur took a stroll through the Field Museum Wednesday, inspired by her penguin friends at the Shedd Aquarium.

On Tuesday, the penguins were out exploring. They got to see, but not taste, their counterparts in the fish habitat, and also visited the Amazon Rising experience.

A video of Tyson posted on the aquarium's Twitter page shows the porcupine snacking on a hard biscuit, which can help wear down his incisors or front teeth, according to Ciocci.

Though there was much for Tyson to explore, the aquarium said he mostly kept his attention on the animal care staff and on the food.

In a statement posted on its website, the Shedd Aquarium said in the "interest of overall wellness for our community and for each other" the facility will be closed through Sunday, March 29.

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