Penguins at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago have been allowed to wander around and explore the building after it closed its doors to the public due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Wellington - one of the oldest rockhoppers at 32 years old - and other penguins were allowed to explore life on the other side of the glass, as they went on a 'field trip', including a visit to the underwater viewing area of Shedd's Oceanarium habitat, which is home to several beluga whales.

The aquarium shared videos of Wellington and his friends taking a walk inside the facility and visiting the youngest Shedd beluga – Kayavak, Mauyak and baby Annik – over the weekend.

"They may have met some animals at the aquarium that are just as curious as they are," the museum wrote.

The belugas abruptly stopped their swimming to take in the penguins.

"The whales, including Annik the calf born last year, collectively gathered at the window to take in Wellington and the other birds, who stared back as they waddled back and forth," the aquarium said.

Belugas are native to the northern hemisphere, so they would likely never encounter a penguin in the wild, as all penguin species are found in the southern hemisphere.

"That being said, the latest penguin field trip seemed just as enriching for the belugas as it was for the birds," Shedd Aquarium said.

A video of Wellington wandering through the closed aquarium and visiting other animals went viral earlier this month.