A Weekend With the Penguins of Madagascar

Earlier this month, my family and I were invited to attend an event in New York City to celebrate the release of The Penguins of Madagascar. DreamWorks Animation and 20th Century Fox hosted several bloggers from the area for a great day at the Bronx Zoo followed by a screening of the film, which opens on November 26th.

penguins of madagascar photo op
Photo courtesy of DreamWorks Animation, used with permission.

The weather was a little grim, but my daughter, husband, and I still had so much fun. This was the day after Halloween, so we got to see some of the Boo at the Zoo set up. And my daughter Hannah, who is two-and-a-half, wore her costume. She was a cow; She loves animals and got to see lots of them during the visit.

She also loves the Madagascar movies, especially the third one (“Afro circus, Afro circus, Afro polka dot polka dot polka dot circus!”). This was a huge treat for all of us.

We met up with the group at the Residence Inn Central Park, where we were invited to stay overnight. We were bused up to the zoo (along with Corrina and her kids, who were there for GeekDad—it was great to see them!), and the bus ride was possibly the biggest highlight of Hannah’s day. We had a base camp outside of the Dancing Crane Cafe, and the food was pretty delicious. A hot breakfast and a nice lunch were hugely appreciated on the dreary day. And the Penguins even made an appearance!

It took Hannah a chunk of the day to warm up to the penguins, but eventually she did. In fact, by the end of the day she was up there dancing with the penguins.

Dancing with penguins
That’s my little cow! Photo by Jackie Reeve.

Despite the chilly rain, we spent the morning seeing the giraffes, the bears, the monkey, the gorillas, and the sea lions. And Hannah got to ride the carousel, which was definitely another highlight. The kid adores carousels.

Then we got a private tour of the penguin paddock, got to see a feeding, and hear some great information about the zoo’s penguins.

feeding the penguins
Photo courtesy of DreamWorks Animation, used with permission.

We all got matching penguin hats (my husband would not be photographed in one for this post):

penguin hats
Photo by Jackie Reeve.

After lunch all of the bloggers and their families were bused over to the Bronxville Theatre for a special screening of Penguins of Madagascar. I have to say, this was such a fun crowd to see a movie with. All families, the kids were having a great time, and it was just such a nice afternoon. I’m not sure who laughed harder during the movie, the kids or the adults.

Photo courtesy of DreamWorks Animation, used with permission.

We loved the movie. It picks up where Madagascar 3 leaves off, with the penguins (Rico, Kowalski, Skipper, and Private) leaving the circus behind and heading off for more adventure. We get some background on how they become a super covert spy team. They team up with a very slick group of actual professional spies called The North Wind (led by Agent Classified, voiced by the god of the internet Benedict Cumberbatch). John Malkovich voices the bad guy, Dr. Octavius Brine, who has a history with the penguins.

I feel like the Madagascar franchise gets better with each movie, and this solo flight (ha!) with the penguins continues to support my theory. It’s goofy and enjoyable for kids, but it’s also funny for adults. This is everything you’d expect an entire movie dedicated to the penguins to be, it does not disappoint.

After the movie we were bused back to the hotel for the night. The hotel has two halves, the Residence Inn and the Courtyard by Marriott. We were in the Courtyard side. The rooms were cozy, and Hannah settled herself in immediately.

Photo by Jackie Reeve.
Photo by Jackie Reeve.

We grabbed some dinner from Steak ‘n Shake around the corner and got even more comfortable. Sometimes the best thing about a night in a hotel is doing things you’d never get away with at home.

Dinner in bed. Photo by Jackie Reeve.
Dinner in bed. Photo by Jackie Reeve.

It was a great weekend with the family, and the movie is absolutely worth seeing. Take everyone to see it this Thanksgiving!

GeekMom received complimentary access to the event for review purposes.

Jackie Reeve is a Core Contributor and former Senior Editor at GeekMom. She's a librarian, a writer, and a quilt designer. She's wife to an Englishman and mom to a little geek girl, and she blogs about life and crafts at The Orange Room. Jackie's obsessed with cardigans and thinks Die Hard is the best Christmas movie there is.