We also paid extra for the back stage tour of the arctic animals, which includes the opportunity to pet a penguin. Small groups of about twenty are allowed into the avian research area and one of the keepers holds a penguin while the guests come by one at a time to gentle touch the penguins lower back. Our penguin was a female named Tiara. They are very soft, not at all as they appear, because they have nearly 70 feathers per square inch on their bodies to protect them from the cold and keep them water resistant - all those feathers together feel more like fur.
Lastly, the photo below is of Tiara's "boyfriend" (as the tour guide told us) named Sterling. He wasn't too happy that we took his woman away for the petting. :)
Tiara and Sterling are both Megellanic penguins, found mostly in Argentina, Chile, and the Falkland Islands, etc. They can tolerate warmer weather than their Antarctic cousins. The air temperature in the research area is around 55-60 farenheit, whereas the penguins in the larger Penguin Encounter area are kept in air temps right around freezing in order to keep them comfortable - quite a difference.