BALTIMORE (WJZ)—A multi-million dollar exhibit is opening this weekend at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, bringing the penguin world and experiences closer to guests.

Marcus Washington was able to get an early behind-the-scenes look.

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The new exhibit is five times bigger, if not more, than the previous living quarters for the penguins at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. There are so many sights and features around every corner.

After nearly four years of planning and 14 months of the construction, the new $11.5 million Penguin Coast exhibit is here at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore.

In the wild, penguins typically have one mate for a lifetime. In a more controlled environment, that’s not always the case and with good reason.

“And to keep the genetics going within the penguins, they recommend that we breed one male with a certain female, so sometimes we do have to separate one pair up and try to repair them,” said Jess Phillips,  The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore.

At more than 1900 square feet, this is the largest outdoor penguin exhibit in North American and only the second in the world to a facility in Amsterdam.

The space and 24-hour access to the outdoors is also good for the birds’ health.

“You have health issues as far as respiratory issues with birds, so getting them outside is as important as possible,” Phillips said.

In all its glory, this new home will take some getting used to.

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“The penguins are going to be a little nervous about coming out at first, but hopefully they will get used to it pretty quickly,” Phillips said.

Web Extra: More behind-the-scenes footage of the new Penguin Coast exhibit.

For the first time, guests will be able to get closer to the penguins. Maybe not too close but surely a great experience.

From above and under water in a 9 feet deep pool, guests will get to actually see what the penguins are doing while in and around the water. While we were left still wondering as WJZ cameras were rolling, an above-water shot shows all the fun.

From the wall visual of all types and heights of penguins to factual information on the bird, education is also a big part of this fun.

While cute and adorable, penguins are very territorial yet afraid of things they don’t know.

So the wait is over as the 54 penguins make the Penguin Coast their home, an exhibition for all to see.

Guests can visit the new Penguin Coast exhibit starting this Saturday at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore.

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