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Penguin Beach update

As you've probably heard, the Zoo's all-new Penguin Beach is scheduled to open on Friday, May 23, sponsored by Kroger. How are things going? Dave Ruhl, the Zoo's assistant director of facilities construction, explains.


A visitor path weaves right through Penguin Beach, offering close-up encounters with the animals. Interestingly, this spot is near the site of one of the Zoo’s early penguin exhibits.

One of the key features of Penguin Beach is its enhanced visitor viewing. You’ll see penguins from three different levels: above (at an Aquarium platform and from the playground near the Aquarium), at ground level (while walking on a path through the exhibit) and underwater.

Penguin Beach will be more conducive to breeding than the current exhibit. With African penguins listed as an endangered species, it’s important to ensure healthy, genetically diverse zoo populations.
Photo: Kandace York

Learn more about African penguins at the Zoo's Animal Fact Pages or in this new Zoo video clip -- and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel so you'll know when we upload cool new videos.


"The holding building is nearly complete," Dave says, referring to the indoor quarters where the birds will live.

This is an important milestone because some penguins will start moving into the holding building in early March. First will be the new animals arriving from other zoos: six females and three males.

New animals complete a minimum 30-day quarantine when they arrive at the Zoo. During this time, the animals live in quiet, non-stressful surroundings while animal care staff monitors their health: weight, appetite, digestion and activity level. No animal leaves quarantine or comes in contact with other Zoo animals until it has a clean bill of health.

By completing their 30-day quarantine here, rather than at the Zoo's veterinary hospital, the new penguins will already be "at home" when they're cleared to move into the exhibit. This also frees up valuable space at the veterinary hospital to quarantine other animals, because spring is a busy time for new arrivals.

Weather woes

If you live in the Ohio-Michigan region, you already know how rough this winter's weather has been. Dave admits that it's had an effect on the progress of Penguin Beach construction, too.

"When you're working outside and it's minus five degrees, you don't get as much done," he says. "When there's a foot of snow on the ground, you need to move the snow before you can get to work."

This has required many schedule adjustments -- and readjustments -- as the crews work to keep the project moving forward.

Upcoming projects

One of the next steps in the project is to install pavers around Penguin Beach ("if it ever stops snowing," Dave adds).

Then crews will start building the artificial rock work within the exhibit. They'll create a mold and spray it with a material called Gunite, made of cement, sand and water.

Gunite creates a durable, natural-looking rocky surface. You've probably seen other Gunite structures at the Zoo already, like the Hippoquarium® and some of the animal exhibits in Tembo Trail.


Construction of Penguin Beach will continue right through the winter and into the spring, with Zoo staff looking forward to the May 23 opening just as much as visitors are -- and maybe even a little bit more.

Dave sums it up in five short words. "It's going to be awesome."


Adopt a penguin! Through the Zoo PAL program you'll learn more about the Zoo's penguins. You'll get a nifty gift package, too, including a frame-worthy adoption certificate with a photo of your adopted penguin, and you'll be invited to Zoo PAL Night, after hours at the Zoo, to meet one of "your" penguin's keepers. The Zoo PAL program is sponsored by BP-Husky Refining LLC.

Donations of all sizes are welcome to support Penguin Beach; every dollar will help make it and the new Aquarium the kind of world-class exhibits you've come to expect from your Toledo Zoo. Learn more by emailing Mary Fedderke, or calling her at 419.385.5721, ext. 2074.

story by Kandace York
Feb. 20, 2014


Above: This model offers a three-dimensional view of Penguin Beach, including visitor viewing from three levels.
The Aquarium would be at the right of this model, with the new penguin holding facility at the left (close to the
playground near Primate Forest). Photo: Robert Webster

Banner photo by Candee Ellsworth


Spring Alive
great for grown-ups


Butterfly encounter
ends March 9


Medical Mutual
art Frog Dash

From Thursday, Feb. 27 through Sunday, March 2, your Zoo's Nairobi Pavilion (near the Africa! exhibit) becomes a story book garden with thousands of flowers bringing your favorite childhood stories into bloom.

It's called Spring Alive, and it's a fantastic outing for kids and families.

But there's plenty for adults, too, including gardening talks, cooking demos with the Zoo's executive chef, and a gardening marketplace.

One special adults-only event is on Saturday, March 1: Wine Tastings 2014. Leave the kids at home and come to the Zoo after hours, where you'll sip on chardonnays, shiraz and more. All the while, you'll be surrounded by the thousands of beautiful Spring Alive floral landscapes!

Spring Alive is sponsored by:


As you probably know already, our summery butterfly encounter opened in the Museum of Science on Jan. 17. It was scheduled to run through Sunday, March 2.

However, members have told us that the wintry weather of the last few weeks has prevented them from visiting yet.

We don't want you to miss out, so we're extending the butterfly encounter through Sunday, March 9.

This gives you an extra week to relax in a warm, sunny setting as butterflies flutter by. From the striking zebra longwing to the bright orange julia and multicolored white peacock butterfly, it’s an encounter that will leave a smile on your face as you are inspired by the intrigue of the natural world.

Learn more at toledozoo.org/butterfly.


Was getting in shape your New Year’s resolution? Want to run a 5K? Let the Zoo help you get ready!

The Medical Mutual Dart Frog Dash, a 5K run/walk (plus a "fun run" for the kids), is on Saturday, May 17, 2014,

Registering now gives you time to condition; the Zoo will help you by sending regular tips on training, nutrition and more – right up to race day!

New this year, help raise extra dollars to purchase new fish for the Aquarium opening in spring, 2015.

Title sponsor:

Packet pick-up sponsor:

by Amber Petkosek


Thanks for supporting your Zoo; we hope you have a great week. Come see us soon!

Upcoming events (see the full schedule)
Feb. 27 - March 2: Spring Alive floral extravaganza, sponsored by Fifth Third Bank
March 8: Flying Reptiles exhibit opens in the Reptile House

Adults only
Feb. 28: Once upon a Vine, presented by Fifth Third Private Bank -- sold out, but consider one of our upcoming Wine Tastings events instead!
March 1: Wine Tastings 2014 at Spring Alive
March 19: Greenhouse tour and plant propagation talk

Feb. 27: Spring Alive family event
March 1-2: fairy garden terrarium-building
March 1-2: princess tea parties
March 22: Teddy Bear Care Fair

Camps , classes and more
Monthly through mid-May: homeschool classes
Most weekends: group Snoozes at the Zoo
Jan. 14-Feb. 29: Winter Story Safari (ages 6 months-3 years)
Feb. 4 - 18: Animal Families (ages 3-4)
Feb. 6 - 20: Animal Families (ages 3-4)
Feb. 8 - 22: Animal Families (ages 3-4)
Feb. 22: Fairy Tales, Fables and Folklore (ages 3-10)
March 4 - 22: Perfect Pets class (ages 3-4)



For more information about any of the Zoo’s programs or services, please call 419.385.5721 or visit toledozoo.org.

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