Big Splash! Milwaukee County Zoo Breaks Ground on Upgraded Penguin Habitat

Families know well the earthy, unmistakable smell that welcomes you into the Zoo each time you visit.

It comes from the Humboldt penguin habitat, which is set for a significant upgrade this year, promising an enhanced experience for both the penguins and zoo visitors.

Photo: Milwaukee County Zoo

Scheduled for completion in late 2024, this project will breathe new life into the penguin’s living quarters, which have been their home since the 1980s.

With a funding boost of $3.5 million from the state’s Tourism Capital Grant Program and an additional $1.5 million from Milwaukee County’s surplus sales tax proceeds, the zoo is set to transform the penguin habitat into a state-of-the-art facility.

The renovation plan includes the expansion of the penguin pool to hold 30,000 gallons of water, tripling its current capacity. This means more swimming and splashing for the penguins and more engaging viewing for families.

Along with the pool expansion, visitors can expect larger viewing windows for those up-close moments, new shade structures for comfort, and an updated water filtration system to ensure a clean and healthy environment for the penguins.

Photo: Visit Milwaukee

During the construction phase, the zoo’s 15 Humboldt penguins will temporarily stay in the flamingo building. They will be out of sight for awhile.

The Humboldt penguin is a globally threatened species. Milwaukee County Zoo is among the select 21 facilities in the U.S. and Canada entrusted with the care of Humboldt penguins.

By late next year, families will have the opportunity to witness these playful creatures in a habitat that mimics their natural surroundings.

Stay tuned for more updates!

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