TEN tiny waddling penguins greeted members of the public when the doors of the Oceanarium opened this morning.

Stood in their new habitat called the Penguin Beach Encounter, the Humboldt penguins can be witnessed making themselves at home on the upper level of the penguin area, overseen by penguin keeper, Dani Farah.

Visitors queued outside the aquarium to be among the first to see the penguins in their new space, which features a rocky area with wooden hideouts, large swimming pool and netting overhead instead of a ceiling so they are exposed to the open air.

James Eels, director of the Oceanarium, said that he was delighted that the £1.5million development project was finally open for the public to see.

He added: "The penguins arrived 24 hours ago and we are hoping that people will come along and see them."

Mr Eels said that visitors will be able to see the penguins swimming underwater next week, when the downstairs viewing windows are unveiled and the Penguin Beach Encounter will then be fully open.

His little children, Pippa, three, and Hattie, two, squealed with delight when they saw the black and white birds flapping their wings and wagging their tails.

"I have been working on this project for five years, so to see my children's reaction when they first saw the penguins, and them loving it, makes it all worthwhile."

He said that seaducks will be joining the penguins in their new area next week and a host of birds will be flying overhead in the coming weeks as part of an aviary in the beach encounter area.