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In Locked Down Zoo, Penguins Roam Free And Visit Other Animals

Penguins have been allowed to roam the grounds of an aquarium shut due to coronavirus, making new friends and delighting millions of people.

Penguins at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium went on a small "field trip" to explore the building after it closed its doors to visitors amid coronavirus fears. The aquarium shared several videos of a group of rockhopper penguins taking a walk inside the facility and visiting the other animals.

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"Some of the penguins went on a field trip to meet other animals at Shedd," the aquarium posted on Facebook on Monday, showing the penguins visiting enclosures containing fish.

"Wellington seemed most interested in the fishes in Amazon Rising! The black-barred silver dollars also seemed interested in their unusual visitor."

These Chicago aquarium penguins went on a coronavirus adventure. Image: Facebook

A second video, posted Tuesday, showed the penguins waddling around the aquarium's rotunda, with rays and exotic fish in the background, as well as wandering into an admin area.

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"This morning, Edward and Annie explored the rotunda. They are a bonded pair of rockhopper penguins, which means they are together for nesting season," the aquarium explained in a post with the second video.

"In the meantime, we will share a variety of animal activities, and yes, Wellington will return! While this may be a strange time for us, these days are relatively normal for the penguins and other animals at Shedd."

The penguins visited other fish in the aquarium's rotunda. Image: Facebook

The aquarium said the pair would soon begin building their nests, and also invited fans to suggest new "penguin activities" for the  animals to do.

The aquarium told the Chicago Tribune caretakers are "getting creative in how they provide enrichment to animals" and "introducing new experiences, activities, foods and more to keep them active, encourage them to explore, problem-solve and express natural behaviors."

The video -- which has been viewed millions of times across Facebook and Twitter as of Tuesday morning -- cheered up a number of viewers at a time when fear and anxiety are prevalent.

Then checked out an admin area. Image: Facebook

"Thank you for making me smile," one user wrote.

"Please keep doing this. This is the content we need right now," another added.

In addition to the aquarium and other large facilities shutting down, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker announced Sunday afternoon that all restaurants and bars in Illinois will close effective at the end of the business day on Monday, and continuing through March 30, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

With CBS News.