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Penguins get private tour of Kansas City art museum closed during pandemic

While most art galleries and museums are still closed amid the coronavirus pandemic, one Kansas City art museum made an exception for some special guests: penguins from the Kansas City Zoo. 

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri posted a video featuring a rookery of three penguins waddling through the galleries appreciating the many works of art that have not been seen by human visitors since Kansas City implemented its stay-at-home order on March 24. 

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“The COVID quarantine has caused everyone to go a little stir crazy, even the residents of the Kansas City Zoo. So several of the penguins decided to go on a field trip to the Nelson-Atkins, which is still closed, to get a little culture before the Zoo re-opens,” the caption for the video read. 

“They seem to react much better to Caravaggio than to Monet,” said Julian Zugazagoitia, executive director of the museum.

Randy Wisthoff, executive director & CEO for the Kansas City Zoo, said the penguins’ visit to the museum helped the animals who miss their normal interactions with people.

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“We’re always looking for ways to enrich their lives and stimulate their days, and during this shutdown period our animals really miss having visitors come out and see them,” Wisthoff said. 

The zoo reopened on Saturday, May 16 while the museum says on its website that it is closed “until further notice.”

Restrictions have slowly been eased in Kansas City as some non-essential businesses were permitted to open with some safety measures in place on May 15.

This story was reported from Los Angeles.