ROYAL OAK (WWJ/AP) – The Detroit Zoo is getting a $3 million grant from the William Davidson Foundation Fund to open a new center for penguins.
Officials said Thursday that the money will support the development of the Polk Penguin Conservation Center at the zoo, located at Woodward Avenue and 10 Mile Road in Royal Oak. Construction of the $26 million facility will begin in the spring near the zoo’s entrance.
“This very generous grant will help us create an extraordinary conservation center of international significance for iconic polar animals — penguins of Antarctica. The center will highlight that incredible ice continent and the dramatic effect of global climate change,” Ron Kagan, Detroit Zoological Society Executive Director and CEO, said in a statement.
Kagan said it will take roughly two years to build the center, creating about 100 temporary design, engineering and construction jobs. The zoo will add several full-time jobs once the center opens.
The outside of the center will have an iceberg-like look, with inspiration coming from Sir Ernest Shackleton’s legendary Antarctic expeditions and epic crossings of the Drake Passage. The interior will include 4-D effects such as arctic blasts, waves and snow.
The center will also feature a penguin “deep dive” with views above and below water as the birds dive and soar through a chilled 326,000-gallon, 25-foot-deep aquatic area.
For more information on the project, visit www.dzoo.org/pcc.