opened Penguin Shores a day early for a special group of guests from Citizens Academy East Elementary School and the Cleveland Clinic Children's, for a sneak peek at the new exhibit.
Guests were treated to some memorable 'Get Close' animal encounters.
The penguin exhibit, running through the end of September, houses six African penguins and features naturalistic rock work with nest boxes, ledges and irregular surfaces, and a 3,000 gallon pool for swimming.
The special exhibit will be free with regular zoo admission.
"We're excited to be able to present this special exhibit to our guests for the upcoming season. We know the penguins will be excellent ambassadors for conservation as part of the zoo's contribution to the Cleveland Water Alliance and Sustainable Cleveland's Year of Clean Water," said executive director Dr. Chris Kuhar.
African penguins are native to the rocky coastline and islands of South Africa. They are well-adapted to swimming and fishing in the cold water off the South African coast. They eat anchovies, sardines and other small fish species. They are classified as "endangered" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, mainly due to the commercial overfishing of their primary prey species, and environmental damage from the oil industry. The Penguin Shores exhibit outlines how pollution from plastics and destruction of habitat are affecting penguin species in the wild.
The zoo last exhibited penguins in a mixed-species exhibit at the Birds of the World building, which included Humboldt, macaroni and king penguins. The king penguins were the last species to leave the zoo in 2002.
The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
-$13.25 per person
-$9.25 for kids ages 2 to 11
Free for children younger than 2.
Zoo members also get in free. Parking is free.