Sunday, September 28, 2014

Maryland Zoo Debuts New Penguin Coast Exhibit

Gigi Barnett
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Penguin penthouse. One of the nation’s largest penguin habitats opens up in Baltimore this weekend.

As Gigi Barnett explains, the new 1.5 acre exhibit works right into the zoo’s plan to grow its colony.
The move to their new digs is done. This weekend, the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore opened the nation’s largest outdoor African penguin habitat in North America. It’s called Penguin Coast and it’s nothing like the old exhibit. “It’s super cool. I think it’s better than the old one,” said zoo visitor Rachel Johnson. “This draws me to the penguins versus the other one, which I’m like, ‘Eh. We’re passing the penguins, that’s OK. Not a big deal,'” said zoo visitor Lori Widney.

Modeled after the South African coast, dozens of black-footed penguins have more than 1,900 square feet to bask in the sun and soak up the simulated seas. “I really like it. I like the whirlpools and stuff,” said zoo visitor Matthew Walker.

The 360 panoramic pool allows penguins to swim nonstop, giving guests an all-around view. When the water comes down, it creates currents. Visitors can also stand under a 1,000 gallon waterfall in the education center. It’s designed to show underwater life up close. “We liked going underneath to see them swimming under the water. That’s really cool,” said zoo visitor Nicole Johnson.

With the larger exhibit, now the zoo can grow its penguin colony from 58 birds to more than 100. “Here at the Maryland Zoo, we have always bred more penguins than anybody else in the country. We’re very good at it,” said zoo spokesperson Amy Eveleth. It’s a lesson in a penguin’s life and movements–it must mean they’re right at home.

Penguin Coast cost $11.5 million and took a little more than a year to build.


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