Penguins make big splash at Kansas City Zoo - KCTV5

Penguins make big splash at Kansas City Zoo

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

They're flightless birds, but they have officially taken flight at the Kansas City Zoo.

The always-dressed, tuxedo-clad animals have moved into their new $15 million digs. The zoo is still working out a few last-minute details, but you can see the penguins starting Friday at the zoo in Swope Park.

"Really couldn't be happier with how the exhibit turned out. I think it's a world-class, knock it out of the park, exhibit," Kansas City Zoo Director Randy Wisthoff said.

Altogether, 44 Penguins of all types and sizes, are swimming and splashing away in the enclosed "Penguin Ice Paradise," in the Helzberg Penguin Plaza. The zoo hopes to add more in the coming years.

In this case, paradise consists of more than 2,800 square feet of fun and habitat for the penguins.

All of this was made possible by the Helzberg family, whose name is attached to the exhibit, and zoo fans who, young and old alike, contributed and wrote letters to bring the penguins to the zoo. Tax dollars also helped the project.

"You can come into "Penguins" and just walk in the door and get the coats off. We put in some viewing bleachers, and we've got a nice warm building," Wisthoff told KCTV5. "So, a really comfortable building, which makes us a four-season zoo."

The exhibit area and Polar Bear Passage where Nikita and Berlin live are just a 5-minute walk from the zoo.

The penguins will eat up to 50 pounds of fish per day. Miles of pipes, coolers and boilers help provide the perfect home for the penguins.

"We hope that we have some egg-laying, and some hatching," Wisthoff said. "A little penguin love here at the zoo."

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