Penguins Run Free in Seafood Eatery During Chicago Restaurant Week to Fight Plastic Pollution

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Brenna Hernandez/Shedd Aquarium

Some adorable feathered foodies recently celebrated Chicago Restaurant Week, and it was a black tie affair.

In March, Three Magellanic penguins from Shedd Aquarium visited Shaw's Crab House in Chicago for a good cause. Tilly, Olivia, and Dolores made a special appearance to raise awareness of plastic pollution, a conservation issue that impacts their species and other aquatic animals worldwide.

According to a release from the aquarium, the penguin ambassadors' visit shed light on the issue while "adding physical exercise and variety " to the bird's schedule. The restaurant stayed closed during the penguin's visit. After the private party ended, the restaurant was sanitized.

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Shaw's is part of Shedd Aquarium's Let's Shedd Plastic program and is committed to reducing their single-use plastic footprint, which has become more of an issue during the pandemic.

Brenna Hernandez/Shedd Aquarium

Brenna Hernandez/Shedd Aquarium

The aquarium offers its expertise to restaurants that join the program, and they're aiming to recruit participants in all 77 of Chicago's neighborhoods to help "create a healthier and more sustainable, plastic-free future for people and aquatic life."

"The visit also highlights the role of restaurants in fighting plastic pollution and illustrates how the threat of plastics is directly related to the health and wellbeing of the aquatic world," Shedd shared in a statement.

Shedd has also partnered with accredited zoos and aquariums on a Species Survival Plan for Magellanic penguins, "contributing to conservation and education efforts and helping the public understand how our collective actions are integral to safeguarding the species."

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Nearly 300 local eateries participated in Chicago Restaurant Week, which ended Sunday. The 17-day food extravaganza featured specially priced prix fixe menus at establishments across the Windy City. With COVID-19 pandemic precautions in place, it was the first year that takeout specials were available.