ROYAL OAK — The Detroit Zoo gained three gentoo penguins as work continues on the $29.5 million Polk Penguin Conservation Center.
“We have observed thousands of gentoo penguins in Antarctica as part of our research and development of the Polk Penguin Conservation Center’s unique design. The aquatic habitat makes the facility an ideal environment for gentoos, which we know spend a lot of time in the water,” said Scott Carter, Detroit Zoological Society chief life sciences officer.
A gentoo penguin is the third-largest penguin, reaching heights of 30 inches and weights up to 20 pounds. They are recognized by a white stripe that extends from its head to its red-orange bill.
The penguins are just over a year old and are the first of their species to arrive at the zoo, joining king, rockhopper and macaroni penguins at the Penguinarium.
The new penguin home will include a chilled, 326,000 gallon, 25 foot aquatic area with views above and below the water, allowing visitors to observe penguins dive under water.
Opening in early 2016, the Polk Penguin Conservation Center is under construction on a 2-acre site, near the Zoo’s entrance. Once completed, the old Penguinarium will be renovated and turned into a bat conservation center.