Time to Get Your Penguin Holiday Gifts Ordered

Jenya has put many of her stuffed penguins on Etsy. Because each of these penguins is one of a kind, it’s important that you adopt your favorite quickly. Jenya puts so much time and love into these penguins; they are hand-crafted with hand-embroidered eyes. The fabric is soft and huggable, and every penguin has its own personality. For every penguin adopted, we make a donation to the Royal Albatross Centre in New Zealand for their work with little penguins and other birds.

If you want something for stress relief, Jenya’s Roly Poly Penguins are just the thing. Hand-knit from the softest yarns, these penguins are cute, and happy for you to squeeze them. The tactile experience will help you feel calmer.

All of these penguins come with their own names, likes and dislikes spelled out on a penguin passport. There are limited number available for the holidays. Adopt one today.

Penguin Books

Looking for something different to read, Shad has written two books about penguins: “There Are No Penguins in Alaska” and “Polly Penguin Wants to Fly.”

There are no penguins in Alaska
There are no penguins in Alaska

“There Are No Penguins in Alaska” is a coloring book that includes several animals that are in Alaska. The ending will leave you with a chuckle. It is available on eReader, though we do not recommend coloring on your eReader. Shad also has a very limited number of IRL coloring books (around 30 are left from the first printing).

Polly Penguin Wants to Fly
Polly Penguin Wants to Fly

Shad wrote “Polly Penguin Wants to Fly” as a book his mother could read to her grandchildren. Newly hatched Polly Penguin is amazed at the birds she sees flying overhead. She wants to fly. But penguins can’t fly, can they? This book is available on eReader, in paperback on Amazon, and directly from Shad (if you want an autograph). One dollar from each copy sold, regardless of format goes to Tiritiri Matangi Island for their work with little penguins and other New Zealand wildlife.

Penguin Flat Friends

Part of the meal on the train
Part of the meal on the train (flat friend: penguin not included)

Only three flat friends are available for adoption. These felt penguins are about two inches tall and two dimensional. They were hand-crafted by Jenya out of felt. They make great ornaments, bookmarks, and decorations. Get them before they are gone.


Tuatara Returned to Tiritiri Matangi Island in 2003

Tuatara in New Zealand are the last surviving members of the order Sphenodontia that was around during the time of the dinosaurs. They like cool weather and have an average lifespan of 60 years though some may survive up to 100 years. In the wild, the tuatara can only be found on the islands around New Zealand. They are no longer on the mainland and went extinct when the Maori introduced the rat to New Zealand. In 2003, the tuatara was reintroduced to Tiritiri Matangi Island after an absence of 100 years.

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New Zealand: Short Vignettes about the New Zealand

One of the first things we noticed about New Zealand was the fresh air. We breathed in deeply and felt exhilarated. It smelled so good, and we were still in Auckland. On the Auckland Explorer Bus tour, we decided to visit the Parnell Rose Gardens. We could smell the roses as we stepped off the bus. While smokers, and the rare black smoke vehicle, can change the air quality for the worse, we were overjoyed to be able to experience clean air for most of our trip to New Zealand.

New Zealand Money

New Zealand’s money has a slick texture that is kind of stiff. It’s clear that it’s made from something other than what the U.S. uses. I asked the women at the bank where we exchanged money, and she said that New Zealand currency is made from polyurethane. If it gets wet, you just have to wipe it off; there’s no damage to the money at all.

Eating out in the Afternoon

Finding a place to eat gets tricky around 3:30 in the afternoon when many cafes stop serving and some restaurants haven’t opened for dinner. Usually it just takes a little more walking, settling for a higher-priced meal, or ducking into a dairy (convenience store) for a hot pie.

Tiritiri Matangi’s Jumping Spider

When we sat down to eat at the Tiritiri Matangi Wildlife Sanctuary, I opened my bag and pulled out what we had packed. I put my arms on the table and noticed a spider running along the top. It ran back and forth along the edge, sometimes disappearing to the underside.

The birds tweeted and sang. Some flew close to our table. “You better stay close spider.” He turned to face me. “Those birds may try to eat you.” He hid under the table. He came back up and we talked. I pulled my backpack from the ground and began to put things away.

The spider must have thought I was okay for a human because he crouched down, wiggled his butt and sprang onto my backpack. I screeched and fell back. Then I brushed him off the pack. He fell to the ground and walked away. I felt a little bad. After all, we were just becoming friends, but I couldn’t overcome my fear to make this friendship work.

The Fern Trees of Tiritiri Matangi

The tree ferns on Tiritiri Matangi grow up like trees. They are hollow on the inside, so when they get to tall, they die because they aren’t able to provide water to the upper reaches to stay alive. This height is more or less uniform among the plants. There must be a reason why they don’t just stop growing before they reach that height. (If you purchase my book “Polly Penguin Wants to Fly” from Amazon or from this website, I will give $1 of the proceeds to Tiritiri Matangi Island for their work with New Zealand’s native species including Little Blue Penguins.)

Wellington Cable Cars

You can take a cable car in Wellington from the downtown area up the hill to the botanic garden and a stop for Zealandia. However, this form of travel isn’t limited to public transportation. Some homes have their own cable cars, and it’s the only way they can get supplies to their homes.

Rotorua’s Atmosphere

Going from the wind and storm of Wellington, Rotorua was warm and full of birdsong. People warned us about the smell of sulfur in the air, but it came and went without any rhyme or reason. Is sulfur in the air healthy? Does it smell fresher than other pollutants? I’m not sure, but it definitely was interesting. Rotorua did have its own storms. I told Jenya that New Zealand doesn’t have many thunderstorms, and 20 minutes later, the lightning and thunder rained down on us in our hot tub.

What You Need to Know about Tiritiri Matangi Island

Tiritiri Matangi Island is an open sanctuary that invites 150 people a day to experience native New Zealand wildlife in a beautiful environment. When you get off the ferry, you’ll be faced with a choice. Do you take the long route or the shorter? Choose the longer to get the most out of the trip unless you have a physical issue that keeps you from walking too far.

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New Zealand: Photos from the Ferry to Tiritiri Matangi Island

Tiritiri Matangi Island only allows 150 visitors a day to come to the open sanctuary. The ferry takes you there from Auckland and Gulf Harbor. The island and its tours are so amazing that we decided to become supporters. Additionally, every sale of “Polly Penguin Wants to Fly,” on this website or at Amazon, will generate a $1 donation for the work that Tiritiri Matangi is doing to protect native New Zealand species. To learn more about Tiritiri Matangi, check out our photos from the island and our tour review page.

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New Zealand: Photos from Tiritiri Matangi Island

Tiritiri Matangi Island is an open preserve. They only allow 150 people per day on the island tour. The island has been set aside as a place for native New Zealand species to make a home. Mammal predators have been eradicated, which allows the birds and the reptiles to flourish. This was our first time seeing a blue penguin in its burrow. We decided to join as supporters, and I will make a $1 donation for every “Polly Penguin Wants to Fly” book I sell here or at Amazon.

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New Zealand: Tiritiri Matangi Lets Your Spirits Soar

Tiritiri Matangi is everything a vacation tour should be. An enthusiastic, knowledgeable tour guide takes a small group into the wilderness and provides information in a fun, interesting way while making sure to point out the birds that happen to fly nearby. Tiritiri Matangi goes a step further because it provides the ability to listen to the birds as well as see them.

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