Working alongside the city’s first colonies of King and Gentoo Penguins, the full and part-time Penguin pal positions currently range from behind-the-scenes technicians to centre stage hosts.
Up to three ride operators and technicians will support the immersive experience, as guests travel on rafts through a sub-Antarctic environment at a cool but comfortable six degrees Celsius, to a replica of Macquarie Island. Explorers will be surrounded by penguins and experience a flurry of snow, whistling winds and the stunning southern lights, before arriving at the Macquarie Island Explorer Hut to observe and learn more about the colonies and life on the island.
Up to six host staff will also bring stories of the sub-Antarctic penguins to life and provide insights on their behaviours, habitat and the conservation efforts required to protect their futures.
Steve Hinks, General Manager, Merlin Entertainments plc Darling Harbour Attractions, said the roles offer local penguin enthusiasts an amazing opportunity to help make history at Sydney’s number one attraction.
“Opening in November, Penguin Expedition is SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium’s biggest investment in a creature exhibit since opening 28 years ago. We are seeking the best talent to support this world-first penguin exhibit with a ride, and in return those joining us will be part of this once in a lifetime opportunity as they work alongside our inspiring animals,” he said.
“Host staff will play a vital role in communicating our conservation values of ‘BREED, RESCUE and PROTECT’, and educating guests on how their actions at home can impact penguins and their habitats for years to come. This is so important, as what our guests learn at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium can create positive change and therefore help preserve the future of King and Gentoo Penguins for future generations.”
As part of the recruitment drive, Hinks said candidates will need to be able to show why they are the most suitable applicants to work alongside these amazing animals.
“As a host for Penguin Expedition, the successful candidate will need to have a keen eye for differentiating the penguins, which we will assess through a ‘match the penguin’ test. They will also need to communicate the dynamics and relationships of the penguin colonies and their unique breeding and social behaviours in a family friendly way in the interview and to guests. Additionally, hosts will educate each and every explorer on how they can help save these beautiful birds,” he added.
Tips for Penguin Pal applicants
For those interested in applying, SEA LIFE Penguin Bird Manager, Tanith Davis, offered her top tips and insights for working with penguins and people:
1 Spot the difference: Penguins can be hard to differentiate at first. Things to look out for include the size of their eyes and beaks, markings, the way they walk and their song.
2 Engage with personality: It can be hard to keep people’s attention, especially kids. I find that explaining the personalities of the penguins and their relationships helps, so know which penguins are lovebirds and who the rivals are.
3 Don’t take knowledge for granted: Many guests will be children who are trying to figure out what penguins are. It’s important to help educate all visitors – these are unique animals and kids can often think they are fish because they swim and are flightless.
4 Be prepared to explain the birds and the bees: Penguin Expedition will home breeding colonies and it’s very possible that its inhabitants will display mating behaviour during visiting hours. Knowing the signals and how to answer younger explorer’s questions is key, so remember to practice!
SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, located in the heart of the Sydney CBD, is the city’s number one attraction. It houses over 13,000 animals from 700 different species, making it one of the largest displays of Australian aquatic life in the world.
To find out more about careers at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium and other Merlin Entertainments click here