Late next year, the penguins at the Detroit Zoo will enjoy a serious housing upgrade. The zoo is about to "break ice" on the new $29.5 million Polk Penguin Conservation Center, the largest construction project in the zoo's 131-year history. Naturally, the 2.1-acre penguin party palace was designed to resemble a big ol' iceberg.
The Detroit Zoo penguins currently reside at the Penguinarium, which certainly isn't on the cutting edge of penguin architecture. It's the penguin equivalent of a mid-century ranch, built in 1967 and last updated in the mid-80s. It has a decent pool, but that's nothing to brag about.
The Polk Penguin Conservation Center (PPCC) will be an entirely different world. Designed by Albert Kahn and Associates along with Jones & Jones, the exhibit will contain a 300,000 gallon pool with a 21' deep dive. There's also a land area for walking/nesting/chilling, and an expanse of surface water for tobogganing. Yes, tobogganing.
Things improve from the human perspective, too. The PPCC will have two underwater tunnels and a giant viewing gallery with a 16' by 35' curved window. Humans can also pretend to be penguins themselves, experiencing "arctic blasts" and frolicking in a splash pool outside. The videos below take a simulated trip around the facility.