ZooChat
ZooChat members don't see this advert. Join Now - it's free!
Go Back   ZooChat > North America > United States

Notices

Penguin Exhibits

 
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
Member
Offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Abbotsford, B.C., Canada
Posts: 21,386
Photos: 20,464
  #1
Penguin Exhibits
Old 18-01-2012

It is amazing to have seen the popularity of penguins explode during the past decade, and the success of penguin-themed films such as "March of the Penguins", "Surf's Up", "Happy Feet", "The Penguins of Madagascar" and "Mr. Popper's Penguins" has increased interest in the already rather popular aquatic birds.

By studying the book "America's Best Zoos" I found out that there are at least 35 of the 60 major zoos with penguin displays, and a few of those establishments (such as Milwaukee County, Saint Louis and Omaha) have more than one penguin habitat. With close to 40 exhibits at America's 60 best zoos there is a wealth of exhibitry to study, and that does not even include the plethora of aquariums that also showcase penguins in their collections or many other, lesser-known American zoos.

I found that there is approximately a 55%-45% split in favour of penguin exhibits that are outdoors, rather than ones that are viewed by visitors through glass. The added cost of maintaining Antarctic species often makes zoos focus more on outdoor exhibits with non-Antarctic birds. I have seen practically all of the almost 40 penguin exhibits at America's 60 best zoos, and I've reviewed them at various times on ZooChat. Judging an exhibit based on numerous factors (such as size, scope, overall quality of the design, visitor appeal, etc) my top 5 penguin exhibits are:

1- Saint Louis Zoo - chilly, open-topped and brilliant
2- Woodland Park Zoo - 2009 award-winner that is large and varied
3- Sedgwick County Zoo - 2007 exhibit similar to Woodland Park's
4- Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo - it snows in this all-indoor habitat
5- Indianapolis Zoo - glass-bottom section is a major innovation

Honourable Mentions:

- Omaha also has penguins in with giraffes!
- Brookfield has towering cliffs over their birds
- Detroit has an old, stinky, yet intriguing Penguinarium
- Riverbanks has an all-indoor exhibit in a beautiful Bird House
- Dallas has a small but scenic habitat
Member
Offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Abbotsford, B.C., Canada
Posts: 21,386
Photos: 20,464
  #2
Old 18-01-2012

On a side note, I would like to point out that many of the best and most numerous penguin exhibits in American zoos are found in the northern half of the nation. Using the book "America's Best Zoos" as a guide there are 5 out of 7 major zoos along the north-eastern coast with penguins; 9 out of 11 major zoos around the Great Lakes region with penguins; and 4 out of 5 zoos (and soon to be all 5) North Central zoos with penguins. In general only about half of the southern-based major zoos contain penguins, although those birds are still commonly found in many aquariums.
jbnbsn99's Avatar
Moderator
Offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Fort Worth, TX
Posts: 6,306
Photos: 3,987
  #3
Old 18-01-2012

Best one I have seen isn't on the list. Moody Gardens in Galveston. 5 species in a huge exhibit that to the best of my reckoning is about 30 feet deep.
Member
Offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: united States
Posts: 150
Photos: 43
  #4
Old 18-01-2012

The bronx zoo has a hidden exhibit in the corner for magellanic penguin that is huge and has many other kinds of birds like inca terns.
gfree14's Avatar
Member
Offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: United States
Posts: 15
Photos: 105
  #5
Old 18-01-2012

The Minnesota Zoo has a penguin exhibit, but the book you are referencing was published before the opening.
dmanwarren's Avatar
Member
Offline
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Claremont, Ca USA
Posts: 65
Photos: 1,003
  #6
Penguin exhibit
Old 18-01-2012

As a company that has built probably the most penguin exhibits, I have to say hands down, my favorite was done 2 years ago for Ripleys Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg Tennessee. There were two exhibits - one indoors and one outdoors with a tunnel connecting the two (with a sheet of acrylic on the floor to see the penguins swim back and forth). It also had acrylic tubes going underwater to acrylic pop ups in the middle of the exhibit. As you crawled through the exhibit the penguins were swimming around you. It was designed to get the public as close as possible to the animal.

Ripleys has plans to build one at their Myrtle Beach Aquarium next year, but it may be delayed due to building of Toronto Aquarium.

I will try to post some pictures in the Gallery soon.
DavidBrown's Avatar
Member
Online
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: California, USA
Posts: 5,441
Photos: 487
  #7
Old 18-01-2012

Penguins seem like the perfect zoo superstar species. They are attractive, social, comical on land, and awesomely graceful underwater. Zoos and aquariums of any size can have a good penguin exhibit, from the smallest zoo (e.g., Central Park Zoo) to the largest.

My favorite penguin exhibit (and the only thing I liked about the place) was at Sea World. My understanding is that this complex will soon be destroyed and remodeled into some kind of Antarctica theme ride. I find this very sad and baffles me why they would destroy one of their premiere exhibits. Does anyone know?

I found Woodland Park's penguin exhibit very impressive and would rank it as my favorite non-polar penguin exhibit. It really does feel like one is on the South American coast and has great interpretive displays.

I also really like Omaha's penguin exhibit. It is great fun to watch the large king penguins zipping around underwater. My favorite part is watching them pop out of the water and land on their feet.

A unique penguin exhibit due to its placement is the black-footed penguin exhibit at the California Academy of Sciences which is part of the Africa natural history hall rather than the aquarium downstairs. The main diorama at the end of the Africa hall used to be a waterhole diorama with stuffed giraffes and zebras. It is now the penguin tank.

Are there any bad penguins out there that need to be shut down and replaced? I can't recall reading any bad penguin exhibit reviews, but maybe there are some out there?
Member
Offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Abbotsford, B.C., Canada
Posts: 21,386
Photos: 20,464
  #8
Old 18-01-2012

Major American zoos with outdoor penguin exhibits: Bronx, Maryland, Roger Williams Park, Philadelphia, Montgomery, Jacksonville, Lowry Park, Memphis, Fort Worth, Tulsa, Dallas, Brookfield, Cincinnati, Fort Wayne, Columbus, Toledo, Milwaukee County, Sedgwick County, Denver, Saint Louis, Omaha, San Francisco, Woodland Park and Point Defiance.

Major American zoos with indoor penguin exhibits (glass-covered habitats): Pittsburgh, Knoxville, Louisville, Riverbanks, Fort Worth, Caldwell, Lincoln Park, Indianapolis, Detroit, Cincinnati, Minnesota, Saint Louis, Omaha, Cheyenne Mountain, Milwaukee County and Oregon.

Smaller American zoos with penguins: Central Park, Rosamond Gifford, Erie, Henry Vilas, John Ball, Akron, Blank Park, Great Plains, Wildlife World, Boise and Santa Barbara.

Of course these lists are not all-inclusive and there are many other smaller zoos (and plenty of aquariums) with the iconic black-and-white birds.

Last edited by snowleopard; 19-01-2012 at 07:17 AM..
jbnbsn99's Avatar
Moderator
Offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Fort Worth, TX
Posts: 6,306
Photos: 3,987
  #9
Old 18-01-2012

Just an update, Fort Worth now has both indoor and outdoor exhibits.
DavidBrown's Avatar
Member
Online
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: California, USA
Posts: 5,441
Photos: 487
  #10
Old 19-01-2012

@snowleopard: have you ever seen penguin exhibits in need of improvement or demolition, or is this an instance where the zoo world is mostly doing a good job across the board? It would be nice if that were so.

Also, where would you rank the Sea World penguin exhibit? It seems like that has been praised as a model penguin exhibit, at least historically.
Kudu21's Avatar
Member
Offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Posts: 1,338
Photos: 446
  #11
Old 19-01-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by snowleopard View Post
Major American zoos with outdoor penguin exhibits: Bronx, Maryland, Roger Williams Park, Philadelphia, Montgomery, Jacksonville, Lowry Park, Memphis, Fort Worth, Tulsa, Dallas, Brookfield, Fort Wayne, Columbus, Toledo, Milwaukee County, Sedgwick County, Denver, Saint Louis, Omaha, San Francisco, Woodland Park and Point Defiance.

Major American zoos with indoor penguin exhibits (glass-covered habitats): Pittsburgh, Knoxville, Louisville, Riverbanks, Fort Worth, Caldwell, Lincoln Park, Indianapolis, Detroit, Cincinnati, Minnesota, Saint Louis, Omaha, Cheyenne Mountain, Milwaukee County and Oregon.

Smaller American zoos with penguins: Central Park, Rosamond Gifford, Erie, Henry Vilas, John Ball, Akron, Blank Park, Great Plains, Wildlife World, Boise and Santa Barbara.

Of course these lists are not all-inclusive and there are many other smaller zoos (and plenty of aquariums) with the iconic black-and-white birds.
Cincinnati has both indoor and outdoor penguin exhibits. There are King, Southern Rockhopper, and Magellanic Penguins in the indoor exhibit in the Wings of the World bird house and Little Blue Penguins and African Penguins in two separate outdoor exhibits in the Children's Zoo.
Member
Offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Abbotsford, B.C., Canada
Posts: 21,386
Photos: 20,464
  #12
Old 19-01-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidBrown View Post
@snowleopard: have you ever seen penguin exhibits in need of improvement or demolition, or is this an instance where the zoo world is mostly doing a good job across the board? It would be nice if that were so.

Also, where would you rank the Sea World penguin exhibit? It seems like that has been praised as a model penguin exhibit, at least historically.
The SeaWorld exhibit in San Diego is terrific, as it is huge, offers lots of space for visitors to congregate, has two-levels for standing, and always has at least 5 species in the Antarctic-themed habitat. There is also a fantastic sea bird exhibit with puffins diving in the deep pool, and of course the obligatory large SeaWorld gift shop at the exit.

There was a crappy penguin exhibit at Utah's Hogle Zoo but it was recently bulldozed in favour of that zoo's largest ever exhibit complex (Rocky Shores). Zoo Boise has a fairly pitiful little penguin enclosure, Roger Williams Park also has a subpar pool, but for the most part penguins fare well in many AZA-accredited institutions.
 


Bookmarks
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off


All times are GMT +10. The time now is 04:49 AM.

Copyright © Hampel Group Pty Ltd
(ACN 115 622 074)

Web Hosting Australia by Quadra Hosting