BALTIMORE (WJZ)– The penguins at the Maryland Zoo are getting a new home. The zoo is putting in the finishing touches on a new $11 million exhibit. Meghan McCorkell got a sneak peek.
Construction began on the new penguin exhibit one year ago. The massive new enclosure will allow the zoo to double their number of penguins.
They are the stars of the Maryland Zoo, fans flock to see the South African penguin colony. Now those birds are getting first class accommodations.
“You’re going to be able to see penguins closer than ever. And that’s going to be a brand new experience for everyone,” said Maryland Zoo CEO Don Hutchinson.
The new “Penguin Coast”,which is still under construction will be the centerpiece of the zoo.
The nearly 2,000 foot space will allow people to see the birds from every angle.
“Nobody else really has this 360 degree exhibit, where you’re going to see them in the water, you’re going to be able to see them out on exhibit,” Avian Collection manager Jen Kottyan said.
The zoo will also offer rare behind the scenes tours where guests will be able to interact with penguins and their keepers.
Animal Embassy manager Mark Westphal said, “they’re going to be able to be reach out and touch close. they’re going to be up close and personal.”
One of the highlights of the exhibit is a large underwater viewing window where guests will be able to watch the penguins swim right by.
“When guests are in the interpretative center looking out they’ll see penguins flying past them underwater,” said General Curator Mike McClure.
A state of the art filtration system will clean the 185 gallon pool and the penguins won’t be the only ones getting wet. Guests can opt to step into the dump tank.
“There’s a thousand gallon dump tank above your head and every minute that will release a thousand gallons of water on top of you,” said Maryland Zoo COO Karl Kranz.
Penguin coast will be waddling your way on September 27.
Rock Island, where the penguins are currently housed was built back in the 1960’s. The Maryland zoo is the number one breeding facility for South African penguins in the country.
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