The Detroit Zoo in Royal Oaks, Michigan has built a new home for some of its most discerning residents. The new $30 million Polk Penguin Conservation Center is a state of the art immersive habitat for the zoo’s 80 penguins. At 33,000 square feet, the iceberg-shaped building is the largest penguin conservation center in the world. Designed by Detroit-based Albert Kahn Associates, the center includes a 25-foot-deep, 326,000-gallon aquatic area, in which zoo visitors can view the penguins from two underwater tunnels. The penguin habitat makes up over two thirds of the project. The new aquatic area, which is 10 times the size of their current space, is so large that the penguins can leap out of the water and deep dive. The experience for humans is similarly immersive, including video projections and sound effects simulating an Antarctic Ocean voyage. The zoo is anticipating overwhelming crowds to the new exhibit, so timed-entry passes will be issued on a first-come, first-serve basis at the zoo’s admissions gates. The zoo will also maintain extended hours for the first three weekends the center is open: April 23–24, April 30–May 1, and May 7–8.

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