Penguins at Asahiyama Zoo in northern Japan's Hokkaido waddled through the snow during a "rehearsal" on Dec. 27 ahead of the start of their daily winter strolls through mid-March.

The strolls, a popular attraction among zoo visitors, usually begin before Christmas but the event was postponed this year due to low snowfall.

During the rehearsal, 18 penguins, mostly king penguins, teetered and tottered along a snow-covered path, sometimes venturing off course toward crowds of visitors. They completed the 500-meter walk in about 40 minutes.

Taking advantage of penguins' habit of walking in groups to look for food, the strolls are aimed at helping to keep the birds fit during winter, when they tend to lack exercise, zookeepers said.

Among the delighted zoo visitors was 7-year-old Rinto Nakayama, who came with his family from Kanzaki in Saga Prefecture, southwestern Japan. "I want to come see them again," he said.

"The Penguin Walk" event, which officially began on Dec. 28, runs daily until the snow season ends around mid-March. The strolls will take place at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. each day, with only the morning walks in March.

The zoo will be closed from Dec. 30, 2019, to Jan. 1, 2020, for the holidays.

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