New penguin center opens at Detroit Zoo Monday
It's the largest penguin facility in the world and it's about to open inside the Detroit Zoo.
The whole town is talking about it and Wednesday FOX 2 takes you inside the Polk Penguin Conservation Center for a special sneak peek.
The Detroit Zoo has provided a home for penguins since the 1970s and when it was built it was state of the art. Let's face it, times are changing and it was starting to smell and get a little cramped so the search was on for a new home. They didn't have to go far to find what they were looking for.
It is a $30 million contemporary upgrade for a swanky new pad - and once you look inside you'll recognize it as a bargain.
A cool $30 million buys you a nice chuck of ice these days.
"We've done a lot of research, a lot of science to understand what and how penguins are doing at the zoo," said Scott Carter, chief life sciences officer at the Detroit Zoo. "And also (we watched) how penguins are living in the wild. And the culmination of all that, is this."
In fact, as penguin pads go this is the biggest in the world - which works out for them and us. Visitors are greeted by a wall-sized window into their artic paradise that could only be the penguin version of a Willy Wonka dream of.
Just substitute the chocolate river with a snow mountain.
"We really felt that we had to get back to nature," Carter said. "That's why we spent so much time watching penguins in the wild."
In this exhibit, everything is on display.
"This is going to be where the penguins can raise their own chicks," Carter said. "In the old building we couldn't do that because there wasn't enough space, it was too close to the water."
After soaking in the sights from above, you can venture down below, boarding a virtual ship across the stormy deep.
"It's incredibly dramatic and we hope that help people understand how extreme it is," Carter said.
The designers took a page from another popular zoo exhibit showcasing what these animals do best.
"That really works to give you that cool underwater experience of polar bears," Carter said. "We figure we could do that for penguins as well.
"When we open on Monday and the community gets a chance to see it," Carter said. "They will be amazed."
Color us amazed.