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Polk Penguin Conservation Center reopens at Detroit Zoo after 2.5-year closure

Polk Penguin Conservation Center 2.jpg
Posted at 12:45 PM, Feb 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-16 12:45:34-05

(WXYZ) — The Polk Penguin Conservation Center at The Detroit Zoo is back open, more than two years after it had to close for repairs.

The building, which originally opened in April 2016, had to close in September 2019 after the construction contractor didn't properly waterproof the building. The fault waterproofing made it necessary to pump nine gallons of groundwater from the building each day.

According to the zoo, there were also upgrades to the facility, which includes a section of glass flooring so people can see penguins beneath their feet, repainted rock surfaces, a second snow machine and much more. Exhibits also focus on climate change and the resulting loss of sea ice.

“The chinstraps settled right in and became avid swimmers. Once the lights come on for the day, TJ, Haiku, Kringle and Turtle immediately dive into the pool,” Detroit Zoo Curator of Birds Bonnie Van Dam said in a statement. “They also had no problem integrating with the other species. Penguins thrive within larger colonies, and they are just exceptional at mingling.”

The PPCC is the largest penguin facility in the world and features a 326,000-gallon, 25-foot deep aquatic area with an underwater gallery, acrylic window and two acrylic tunnels.

It is home to more than 75 75 king, rockhopper, macaroni, gentoo and chinstrap penguins.