Tom Popper, as portrayed by Jim Carrey in Mr. Popper's Penguins, puts himself through considerable hassle before becoming comfortable with the idea of adopting six penguins.
Knowing a good marketing opportunity when they see one, the Marriott Hotel & Spa in Groton, Connecticut, and the Mystic Aquarium have teamed up to demonstrate that adopting a penguin need not be a hassle. It's as easy, in fact, as booking a room.
Through the end of the year, if you book the Marriott's Adopt a Penguin package (promo code FML), the main inclusion is one of the aquarium's African Penguin adoption kits (a $50 value) that includes an adoption certificate, a photo of your adoptee, and some informational materials. Also part of the deal is one aquarium adult admission ticket (a $29 value; you can purchase additional tickets at the front desk) as well as your own copy of the Mr. Popper DVD, which has a list price of $29.98.
The Marriott says rates for the package start at $249. I experimented with the hotel’s booking engine, randomly plugging in Friday overnights for a standard double (with one king or two double beds) and got rates as high as $309 in August (pretty much high season), which dipped to $269 in the fall. Likewise, random checks of Friday stays without using the FML promo code returned rates that included $269 in summer and $199 in fall.
What this underscores, other than the tendency of New England room rates to be pricier in summer, is that the total value of the package inclusions ($108.98) can make this a pretty good value, depending on when you book.
Whether you think these inclusions make this package a good deal or just an interesting one, it’s hard to debate that it’s all for a good cause. Your penguin adoption money helps pay for the aquarium’s research and conservation efforts for the African penguin, which regrettably found its way onto the endangered species list two years ago.
Your booking may well help the effort to get the species off that list. And if you really want to channel your inner Mr. Popper, you can sponsor five more penguins directly through the aquarium for an additional $250 or fifty bucks a, er…pop.
If you’ve never been to Mystic, the Marriott, aquarium, and other neighboring sights make it a particularly good bet for families.
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