Penguins at the Detroit Zoo got a grand welcome. The little creatures majestically waddled their way to their new enclosures just like celebrities. The all-new Polk Penguin Conservation Center (PPCC) will soon open at the Detroit Zoo. The penguin housing facility is said to be the biggest in the world and has been carefully designed to mimic the Antarctic environment, which is familiar to the penguins.
While the Detroit Zoo penguin exhibition is expected to be thrown open to the public in about 10 days’ time, the zoo’s newest stars, penguins, participated in the “March of the Penguins.” The little creatures were led to their new 33,000-square-foot center. The time should be ample for the penguins to explore their new habitat and get comfortable, shared experts. The entire project cost the city $29.5 million and is claimed to be the largest center for penguins in the world.
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The Detroit Zoo is planning to house about 80 penguins within the chilled habitat, but let only a few penguins in, perhaps to judge their reaction and ensure they accept the space, before letting the whole gang in. The 33,000-square-foot penguin exhibit will feature two acrylic underwater tunnels, similar to those in the Arctic Ring of Life exhibit, that will offer views overhead and below visitors’ feet of the penguins swimming in the water, reports MLive.
The exhibit also houses 25-foot deep pools for the penguins to practice their diving skills and swim around without feeling cramped for space. The center has been designed to mimic a tubular iceberg and even features crevasse and waterfall, shares the Detroit Zoo in a statement.
“Among the most spectacular features of the 33,000-square-foot facility is a 326,000-gallon, 25-foot-deep aquatic area where visitors can watch as more than 80 penguins of four species explore their habitat. Two acrylic underwater tunnels provide breathtaking views as the birds swim and soar above and around visitors – and even below.”
If you are sad, here is some pictures of the Penguins from the Detroit Zoo waddling to their new home. pic.twitter.com/fe0OlGntqc
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The visitors to the PPCC will have to wear protective clothing, since they will experience the same harsh Antarctic environment to which the penguins are familiar. The water in the enclosure is maintained at 37 degrees or little above freezing. The habitat has been designed to offer a 4-D experience, which will simulate the look and feel of an Antarctic expedition ship churning through ice-pocked water, reports Detroit News.
The zoo is offering 12 after-hours events for members through the first week of May for the Detroit Zoological Society members. These members will be treated to “exclusive access” to the PPCC, notes Ron Kagan, DZS executive director and CEO.
“This is our way of showing appreciation for our members and an opportunity to welcome new members.”
According to the website of the Detroit Zoo, an individual membership costs $53 and it grants free daytime admission and parking to the Detroit Zoo and Belle Isle Nature Zoo.
The zoo wanted to make the little guys feel welcome and hence handlers of the penguins escorted them along a celebrity-style carpet, which was incidentally blue in color, to reflect the creatures’ icy habitat. Many penguins even posed for photos with eager fans. These penguins were previously housed in an enclosure that was one-tenth the size of the new one.
Quite a few of the penguins that will be housed in the PPCC of the Detroit Zoo, belong to the Gentoo genus. While these guys may be smaller than the Emperor penguins, they have a loud trumpeting call, which they emit after throwing their heads back. They are easily recognized owing to the wide strip across their heads and more notably, their bright orange-red bill as well as their long tails.
[Image via Shutterstock]