Most people who live in Michigan have probably not seen a penguin in person, as they live almost exclusively in the Southern Hemisphere.

But contrary to popular belief, penguins don't live only in cold climate areas like Antarctica. In fact, according to Wikipedia,  several species are found in temperate zones. One species, the Galapagos penguin, even lives near the equator. Still, penguins in their natural habitat are extremely far away from Michigan. But you will have a unique opportunity to see those adorable waddlers up close and personal, and even play with them, not too far away from home later this year.

John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids had a program called Close Encounters, which includes an exhibit they call an "Under The Sea Tour with Penguin Encounter". In it, they actually let you go out on the deck with a zookeeper to feed and interact with the penguins. Too cute!

The program is available throughout the year, apart from April through June. There is also limited availability between during September and October.