Three Magellanic penguins waddled into Chicago’s Shaw’s Crab House restaurant with a serious message: It’s time to cut back on single-use plastics.

The trio from the city’s Shedd Aquarium made the visit to support Chicago Restaurant Week, which runs through Sunday, April 4, and to highlight Shedd’s program to fight plastic pollution, called Let’s Shedd Plastic.

penguin walks through a restaurant

Credit: Courtesy of Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez

As safety measures during the COVID-19 pandemic have led to a spike in single-use plastics from takeout packaging, the initiave seeks to lower that number, while also creating a longer-form strategy for cutting back on plastic use.

“We are on pace to see a 30% increase in waste in 2020 compared to 2019,” the aquarium’s site explains. “Considering a great deal of this plastic does not get reused or recycled, it will eventually pollute our lakes, rivers, and oceans.”

Since that means threatening the birds’ native homes, they visited the restaurant — dressed to the nines in their natural tuxedos, of course — to thank them for being a partner in the effort to eliminate plastic use.

penguins explore a restaurant dining room

Credit: Courtesy of Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez

“We at Shaw’s are in complete support of Shedd, the plastic initiative. Getting rid of things like straws and plastic stir sticks is really helping us be more in line with Shedd’s practice of shedding plastic,” Bill Nevrus of Shaw’s Crab House said in a video. The seafood restaurant is offering $25 three-course lunches and $55 four-course dinners for the current restaurant week.

This isn’t the first field trip the Shedd penguins have taken to Chicago landmarks during the pandemic. Two of them wandered over to the Field Museum ahead of its reopening last July. And as proof that they’ll be there for you, four of them visited The Friends Experience earlier this year, taking in the sights of the sitcom’s Central Perk coffee shop, including the iconic orange couch.

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