Capital Campaign - Penguin Exhibit
The Penguin exhibit, will provide an environment for sub-Antarctic penguins in an engaging and eco-friendly exhibit. Located adjacent to Inukshuk Bay, the home of the Zoo’s Polar Bears, the addition of Penguin Chill will provide an opportunity for New Mexicans to experience life forms from both Polar Caps of the Earth.
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Most people do not have the opportunity to see penguins in the wild. The unique ability to observe and learn directly from live animals increases public awareness and appreciation of wildlife. Penguins will complete the ABQ BioPark’s geographic coverage of the globe and provide visitor’s with a unique glimpse into life supported by the waters around the seventh continent—Antarctica—a diverse ecosystem of plant and animal life found no where else on Earth.
The new Penguin exhibit will house between 25 and 40 Gentoo and King penguins (with a possibility of adding additional species in the future), in a currently unused exhibit area directly adjacent to Inukshuk Bay (home of the polar bears). The enclosed exhibit will provide a sub-Antarctic environment for both animals and visitors. Underwater viewing opportunities will offer visitors a unique view of the birds as they swim and dive, while above water viewing areas will educate visitors about the bird’s sub-Antarctic habitat.
Films such as March of the Penguins and Happy Feet have raised public awareness of penguins. Their charismatic nature is sure to make them a popular attraction at the BioPark. The collection will initially feature King and Gentoo penguins raised at other facilities around the country. They will come to us as part of cooperative programs which collectively manage penguins in the U.S.
This exhibit provides the opportunity to develop educational programming on a “face to beak” basis not currently available to the public in New Mexico. The new Penguin exhibit will allow visitors to explore the topics of:
The New Mexico BioPark Society is the 501(c)(3) support organization for the ABQ BioPark’s Zoo, Aquarium, Botanic Garden, and Tingley Beach. The Society is working to fund this exciting new penguin exhibit to expand the opportunity for local and out-of-state visitors to experience “all of nature, all in one place.” The ABQ BioPark has always been an important educational and cultural resource for New Mexico. It is a source of civic pride and contributes immeasurably to our quality of life. With an annual attendance of over one million, the BioPark is one of the most visited attractions in New Mexico.
The New Mexico BioPark Society has committed to raising and carefully stewarding the full $6.7 million needed for this capital campaign—the largest project to be embarked upon by the 27-year old organization.
The complete exhibit will provide 10,294 square feet of space for viewing, education, and support. The penguins' exhibit habitat is 35,000 cubic feet representing Antarctica, with air temperatures near freezing, water temperatures below 50 degrees F, and landforms that mimic the black volcanic rock formations of Antarctica.
Visitors will have multi-level viewing opportunities into the enclosed penguin area. Just inside the entrance, large acrylic windows will give a 60-foot-long panoramic view of the exhibit, allowing visitors to feel a part of the birds’ terrestrial habitat. Continuing into the exhibit, visitors will cross over the water via a large glass floor under which penguins may swim, exhibiting their incredible speed, grace, and agility. The icy exhibit then meanders down a sloped hallway alongside the exhibit and moves into the subterranean penguin environment. On the lower level, there will be 30 linear feet of underwater viewing, an extensive education area, a vertical (5’ diameter) viewing tube, and an ice cave. The exhibit pool will average fourteen feet deep and vary in width from eight feet to over twenty feet, providing the birds with ample swimming room.
Support spaces will include off-exhibit holding areas with separate water and air systems for quarantine and rearing purposes. Also included will be a food preparation area with ample storage freezers, penguin clinic for check-ups and health services, and keeper areas with storage space for Arctic gear and space for the large chiller and filtration systems required to provide frigid water and air climates.
Going Green - The exhibit presents an opportunity to showcase our commitment to building and operating in a green manner. From the selection of building materials, to design elements that improve efficiency in operations, the exhibit will expand the BioPark’s efforts to develop systems and strategies which have a minimal impact on the environment. A portion of the previous polar bear exhibit will be repurposed for exterior walls of the new Penguin exhibit. Efficiently and effectively filtering and recirculating water and capturing heat generated from cooling air and water are both potential design elements of this exciting new exhibit being considered. In addition, this exhibit could potentially become a demonstration site for new technologies related to solar, wind, thermal, wave action, and other low impact energy systems.
The habitats designed to house sub-Antarctic penguins take into consideration the birds’ specialized needs. These penguins require cold waters and clean crisp air to remain healthy. A thick layer of fat insulates penguins in cold ocean waters; therefore, the exhibit’s water temperature will be regulated at 48 degrees F to keep them from overheating. Because penguins are extremely susceptible to respiratory infections, heavy-duty air filtration systems will cleanse the air of potentially harmful organisms and maintain the air temperature at 45 degrees F. Parkas and mittens for staff will be provided! High latitude penguins experience dramatic changes of day length throughout the year. This exhibit will recreate those cycles to facilitate breeding and molting. Behind the scenes, additional climate controlled animal spaces for collection management, fish freezers, and food prep areas will make this a self-contained penguin complex.
Total Project Budget: $8,000,000
Funds raised will cover:
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