It’s certainly been a while since I last updated, and that’s in part with not being inspired to photograph anything and being preoccupied with other things.
However, I was privileged to be able to go to the Detroit Zoo on the day they opened the new Polk Penguin Conservation Center and it is glorious. The zoo has been working on building this new state of the art center for well over a year and now that it’s finally open, I can absolutely confirm that it is totally and unequivocally awesome.
You begin the journey by viewing the penguins via a large window, where you can also see the other side, of the center and another large window. Afterwards, you start the journey of winding your way around the center by walking downwards on a wide, wheelchair accessible ramp that’s fashioned to look like an old ship, with projections on the walls to make the experience more visual, sounds like water is spraying the ship, and bells and whistles that remind me of the Sydney Harbor scene in Finding Nemo. There’s also super light water sprinkles raining down on you the whole way down, and when you finally exit the ramp, there’s a light shower you can walk through (I walked around it because I had my camera) to continue your journey.
At this point, you’ve reached the “underground” portion of the center, where you can see the penguins diving and swimming below. There’s even a portion that’s much like the Arctic Circle portion of the Detroit Zoo, where you walk through a tunnel, and can look 365 degrees to see the penguins swimming. This is the part where I noticed they had planted a lot of live star fish and anenome-like organisms throughout the aquarium. It was pretty cool to see them slowly moving their appendages. It was also pretty cool to watch one penguin nip at a starfish that refused to budge.
However, my favorite part of the center was definitely the portion right after the tunnel, where you enter a large room with huge glass panels that allow you to view the penguins swimming and diving and shows projects on the glass of interesting facts and how fast the penguins are swimming at the moment. The information and technology in the center is really want makes this center stand apart and brings the Detroit Zoo into the 21st century.
The last stop of the exhibit is up a couple flights of stairs and full circle to the other side of the first view of the penguins atop their rocky habitat. It was here that I also noticed the penguins that I watched diving and swimming below, I could see come up for air here. They were beyond adorable.
The end of the journey culminates in a penguin-specific gift shop, where I purchased 5 postcards, but was certainly tempted to buy a penguin plushie or two.
If you have the chance and opportunity to visit the Detroit Zoo and check out the new Polk Penguin Conservation Center, DO IT!