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Real, Live Penguins Flock to Aventura Mall

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Everyone's favorite little tuxedoed seabirds are on the march again, and this time they're headed straight for the sunny shores of South Florida. Well, Aventura Mall to be exact.

These flipper-footed swimmers will make an appearance as part of Sea World's Epic Voyage campaign, promoting its newest attraction: Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin.

The campaign will take over the shoppers' paradise with an ice dome, interactive virtual reality, photo ops, Antarctica-themed games (with prizes), and live penguins. Yes, adorable live penguins! WIN!

But don't worry, these particular penguins won't get overheated during their stay in Miami.

According to Sea World's corporate manager, Maria M. Pazmino, "There are species of penguins that live in more temperate climates -- not all penguin species live in freezing, snowy environments. Several species -- including the Magellanic penguins -- are found in waters off Argentina and Chile. We're proud to have Magellanic penguins as our animal ambassadors for that reason -- they're not native to frozen lands."

As part of the whole affair, street teams will also make stops at various landmarks around Miami in wrapped, Antarctic-themed Hyundai Santa Fes and Sonata hybrids.

"Our team of explorers plan to be everywhere -- and we'd love readers to be on the lookout for us. We plan to stop at iconic Miami spots, including the beach, Ocean Drive," Pazmino says. "Here's a fun thing -- if anyone on the street sees our explorers, tell them the secret phrase and they'll get a special prize. The secret phrase is rockin' rockhopper!"

The mall event will also include an augmented reality component.

"We shoot funny videos of guests swimming, dancing, or marching with penguins -- and the best part is we can send the videos to them so they can share with all their friends and family," Pazmino adds. "We shoot the video in front of a backdrop; then as the video renders, it adds in the penguins."

Also onsite will be Coca-Cola Freestyle machines, from which people can score 100-plus soda combos for free. The event, of course, is family-friendly.

The new attraction at Sea World in Orlando, by the way, allows riders to see the world through the eyes of the little guys and explore a giant penguin colony from above and below.

But barring an upcoming visit to Sea World, if you want to get up close and personal with some utterly adorbable penguins, the Aventura Mall event happens this Saturday and Sunday, May 4 and 5, during mall hours. And the new ride opens at Sea World Orlando May 24, just in time for summer vacation.

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