Humboldt Penguin Habitat Renovation

A New Future for the Flock

The Milwaukee County Zoo’s Humboldt penguins reside in a highly visible habitat that greets all guests who enter Zoo grounds through the main entrance, the U.S. Bank Gathering Place. And the week of March 25, construction on the habitat begins, as the Zoo renovates and upgrades the existing space, built in the 1980s. The Zoo is home to a breeding colony of 15 Humboldt penguins and is one of only 21 facilities across the United States and Canada to care for this globally threatened species.

  • Project Overview

    Most prominent of the changes will be the pool with a larger footprint, expanding from the existing 10,000 gallons up to 30,000 gallons of water. Larger viewing windows, along with the removal of the existing handrail, will provide increased opportunities for nose-to-beak penguin interaction for guests of all ages, creating inspiring and meaningful connections to nature.

    The water filtration system will be completely replaced and updated for increased water circulation and purification — referred to as a Life Support System. And new shade structures will help provide more comfort to the flock.

    During construction, the Humboldt penguins will temporarily relocate to the behind-the-scenes Flamingo Building.

    The project is slated to be complete in late 2024.

  • Humboldt Penguins

    Humboldt penguins’ natural range is along the coastal regions of Peru and Chile. Their population has been steadily declining in recent decades, and they are classified as “Vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. Threats to the species include unregulated and overfishing of prey species; entanglement and drowning in fishing nets; the effects of recurring El Niño weather patterns; and the commercial removal of guano for fertilizer, which disrupts penguin nesting and breeding. Humboldt penguins in human care live around 20 years, on average, but some live well into their 30s — like Jack, one of the Zoo’s Humboldt penguins, who recently turned 33.

Be aware of a recent "anniversary" ticket scam. tHE ZOO IS not affiliated with this.