Help choose a spicy name for Maryland Zoo’s 1st penguin chick of the season

There have been over 1,000 penguin chicks hatched at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore over the last 50 years, and each year, the zoo chooses a different theme for the new year’s new chicks.

For the 2019-2020 hatchlings, the zoo plans to name the chicks after spices, and it wants your help.

In a news release on Friday, the Zoo said it would like the public to vote on the name for the first chick, hatched on Oct. 19. Voters can choose from the following “spicy” names: Thyme, Sage, Sesame and Tarragon.

The naming scheme comes through a partnership with Maryland-based McCormick & Company, known for making spices.

You can vote for your favorite name through January 3, 2020. The winning name will be revealed on the zoo’s Facebook page.

Even if your favorite name doesn’t win, there’s a good chance one of the next chicks will get a spicy name. So far, there have been seven chicks born this season, with more to come. It takes about 40 days for penguin eggs to hatch.

While the babies are not on display at the zoo’s Penguin Coast exhibit, older penguins are. If you’re really into penguins, you can see them fed twice per day (included with admission), or you can buy a behind-the-scenes penguin tour during your next zoo visit.

The newest penguin chick from the Maryland Zoo will have a spice-inspired name.

The zoo partnered with Maryland-based spice company McCormick to come up with this year’s naming scheme.

The zoo has hatched over 1,000 penguins in the last 50 years. The first hatchling will be named Rosemary, Sage, Sesame or Tarragon.


Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to correct a discrepancy in name options.

Dan Friedell

Dan Friedell is a digital writer for WTOP. He came to the D.C. area in 2007 to work as digital editor for, and since then has worked for a number of local and national news organizations.

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