The first three penguins for the Kansas City Zoo's new exhibit arrived Thursday after being picked up at the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita. (Facebook: Kansas City Zoo)
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -
They were three VIPS who waddled into Kansas City on Thursday to great fanfare.
The Very Important Penguins traveled via van in animal cages from the Sedgwick County Zoo to the Kansas City Zoo. The van arrived just after 5 p.m. Thursday.
The Humboldt penguins are warm-water birds who will have their own indoor-outdoor section of the new $15 million Helzberg Penguin Plaza, which is expected to open in late October. The Humboldt penguins naturally nest on the coasts of Peru and Chili.
Altogether, the zoo will have four species of penguins. The 100-gallon underwater exhibit will open with a dozen warm-weather penguins and 40 cold-weather penguins.
Zoo visitors will be able to see the indoor sections intended for the cold-water penguins through multiple viewing areas, including a 60-foot viewing area.
"We are very, very excited for the penguins to come," said Kelly Switzer, a stalwart zoo supporter who was at the zoo on Thursday with her family. "It's been well worth the wait."
Kelly Switzer and her family on Thursday watched the zoo's rock star polar bear, Nikita, swim through his home.
The zoo has a second polar bear, Berlin, who is relaxing off exhibit as zoo officials hope she has cubs later this year.
Zoo Director Randy Wisthoff made getting polar bears and penguins a priority once he arrived in Kansas City. He can now check both off his bucket list.
He is especially proud of how the penguin plaza is coming together.
"You can get your nose on the glass and the penguins can get their beaks on the glass. It's a really up close and personal experience," he said.
Switzer can't wait.
"It's a world-class zoo and the penguins are going to make it that much better," she said.
Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.). All rights reserved.
Making a splash! First penguins arrive at Kansas City ZooMore>>
Three Humboldt penguins were the first to come to the Kansas City Zoo. The warm-water birds are the first of more than 50 warm- and cold-water penguins that will live at a new exhibit that officially opened Friday.More >
Three Humboldt penguins were the first to come to the Kansas City Zoo. The warm-water birds are the first of more than 50 warm- and cold-water penguins that will live at a new exhibit that officially opened Friday. More >
Monday, July 28 2014 6:59 PM EDT2014-07-28 22:59:54 GMT
Neighbors struggled to make sense of the shooting deaths of a family of five in which the father was known to many throughout their apartment complex as a friendly maintenance worker.More >
A maintenance worker with financial problems killed his wife and three children with a shotgun, then committed suicide, over the weekend in what state police called one of the worst cases of domestic violence in Maine...More >
They were born just two weeks apart. A 10-week-old baby and 8-week-old pit bull have a fascinating relationship. They absolutely adore each other! Louisiana native Brandi Hodges, 25, has posted photosMore >
A 10-week-old baby and 8-week-old Pitbull have a fascinating relationship. They absolutely adore each other!More >
Monday, July 28 2014 8:26 PM EDT2014-07-29 00:26:33 GMT
Police said an 11-year-old Independence boy died following a wreck in Independence that sent multiple people to the hospital Friday morning.More >
Relatives of 11-year old Noah Stratton, killed in an accident in Independence last Friday, say they are grieving deeply, but have only fond memories of young Noah whom they call "The greatest 11-year-old in the world."