ROYAL OAK, Mich. (WJBK) - The countdown continues until the grand opening of the new Polk Penguin Conservation Center at the Detroit Zoo. It will be the largest penguin facility in the world. It opens on April 18.
Meanwhile, Detroit Zoo Executive Director Ron Kagan joined us on The Nine to tell us more about the explorer's journey that inspired the design of the Polk Penguin Conservation Center.
Sir Ernest Shackleton endured an 18-month struggle to lead his crew to safety after their ship, the Endurance, was crushed in the pack ice of Antarctica's Weddell Sea. This harrowing journey 100 years ago has been called the greatest survival story of all time.
Once open, when you visit the new penguin center you'll be able to see just how this expedition inspired many of the facility's design elements. The dramatic exterior resembles a tabular iceberg with a crevasse and waterfall.
A 360-degree 4-D visitor experience will include arctic blasts, waves and snow and simulate being on the Endurance while crossing the Drake Passage.
The penguin center will also have a video feature called projection mapping depicting iceberg calving - one of nature's most dramatic visual spectacles where icebergs split, sending massive cascades of ice crashing into the sea.
The center's signature feature will be a 326,000-gallon, 25-foot-deep aquatic area where visitors can watch the birds deep-dive. Two acrylic underwater tunnels will provide views of the penguins above and below.