Friday, May 6, 2016

The Polk Penguin Conservation Center is Just as Cool as We Expected

The penguins at the Detroit Zoo recently got a new home! A couple of weeks more than 80 penguins that live at the zoo left their dark and dreary space for a new, spacious, bright facility, and zoo goers are just as excited about it as the penguins are. The space is called the Polk Penguin Conservation Center and we got a chance to visit the new exhibit last week. It was absolutely amazing!

The new facility takes up approximately 2 acres of space at the zoo. It houses pools that contain 10 times more water than their old home allowing the penguins to dive and dart around even more than they used to. It's pretty clear that these guys love their new home.

Visitors of the new penguinarium get to see the penguins in this amazing new habitat on several different levels. When zoo goers first enter the facility, there is a large observation window where you can watch the penguins on their "icebergs" and also see the birds dive in to the water. There is also another similar observation area on the opposite side on your way out of the building.

While you continue your stroll you can check out informational exhibits about penguins, the arctic, and Antarctic expeditions. Then your journey is transformed into one of those expeditions! The next room you enter will make you feel as if you are on a ship in Antarctica. Waves splash, the wind blows, and you feel it all. The longer you stay on "the ship" the more you will experience, from starry nights to blustery storms.

You then go into the hull of the ship, and then finally you are under water. This area of the penguinarium is similar to the Arctic Ring of Life a.k.a. the Polar Bear habitat. We don't want to spoil the experience for you too much, because it is definitely something you should see for yourself. We'll just say that the penguins seem just as excited to see zoo goers as we are to see them.

If we don't have you convinced yet, check out this video of the facility from the Detroit Zoo.

The Polk Penguin Conservation Center is free to enter with paid zoo admission. Due to the overwhelming attendance to the new exhibit, and to guarantee that everyone gets a chance to enjoy it, you will receive a timed ticket to the penguinarium when you enter the zoo. That way you can visit all of the other animals throughout the day instead of just standing in line. Once you make it through the penguinarium, I also suggest spending some time outside of the building. There are windows that the penguins can greet you at, which I liked just as much as seeing them from the inside of the building. Once weather permits, there will also be a fountain and splash pad, that will transform into an ice rink in the winter.

From the exterior's resemblance to an iceberg, to the amazing adventure the interior takes you on, and most importantly, the amazing new home this gives the penguins, this is truly and amazing exhibit. We highly suggest that you check it out for yourself sometime soon. For more information and to get some FAQs answered, visit Polk's website on the Zoo's website here. While you're there, check out some of the fun facts in the about section too, like how they found tattoo ink bottles from the 1920s about 10 feet below the surface while building the center!


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