Girl gets VIP tour after Christmas decoration was stolen


LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- The Little Rock Zoo is crafting up some Christmas magic for one little girl.

Recently, we spoke with a family who had a large 7-foot inflatable Christmas decoration stolen, One of the family members we spoke to, was 9-year-old Tenley Wilbers.

The decoration was a large polar bear with two penguins on its back. Tenley said she was upset about the stolen decoration because penguins are her favorite.

The Little Rock Zoo saw the story and wanted to give Tenley a big surprise.

“We thought that the Grinch should not steal Christmas,” said Susan Altrui, Director of Little Rock Zoo.

On Friday, after school, Tenley thought she was going to a doctor’s appointment but instead she was in for a huge surprise.

Altrui gave Tenley a stuffed penguin, then we asked: “would you like to go meet a real penguin?”

Tenley’s face lit up and she, of course, said yes.

Altrui introduced Tenley to Keeper Hannah, who showed us around, answered lots of questions and shared some penguin facts.

Hannah brought out Phynix, a girl penguin who is very friendly. Tenley got to pet her on the back and said “(she feels) kind of rough but kind of soft.”

Hannah showed Tenley, that Phynix has a spiky tongue so she can grab onto slippery fish.

“She smells like fish!” said Tenley.

The fishy smell only got stronger when a bucket of fish was brought out for dinner time. That’s when we were able to see the spiky tongue in action.

“You just see their faces light up and it creates a little bit of Christmas magic,” said Altrui.

“Fun, cute, soft and amazing,” said Tenley, “can I pet the penguin again sometime?”

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