Detroit Zoo has announced plans to build a $21 million facility devoted entirely to penguins, including 80 rockhoppers, macaroni, gentoo and king species, and will be the largest center devoted to the birds in the country, thanks in great part to a $10 million provided by Stephen Polk and his family. Polk is vice chair of the zoo's board and a longtime executive with automotive information provider R.L. Polk & Co.
The new 24,000 sq. foot habitat, to be named the Polk Family Penguin Conservation Center, will be located on 2.1 acres in Royal Oaks, the largest of its kind, and is being designed to provide “optimal care,” according to the Zoo’s executive director and CEO Ron Kagan. "Penguins will literally be doing laps around us,"
Designed by Jones & Jones, the architects responsible for creating Disney's Animal Kingdom and the Detroit Zoo's Arctic Ring of Life, the penguin center’s exterior will look like an iceberg, while the interior will feature “a chilled 310,000-gallon, 25-foot-deep aquatic area, as well as “simulated antarctic blasts, rough waves and snow for the animals' welfare and encourage wild behavior, including diving, nesting and rearing young,” added Kagan."