Penguin & Puffin Coast opens at 9 a.m. daily
Guests will need to pick up free, timed tickets at a Welcome Desk, located at either Zoo entrance, or at any Zoo attraction to enter Penguin & Puffin Coast.
Please Note: Penguin & Puffin Coast will be closed Wednesday, April 14, 2021 for bi-annual pool cleaning.
Welcome to the chilly world of Penguin & Puffin Coast -- where four different species of penguins, two types of puffins, and various other water birds make their home in breathtaking rocky cliffs and frigid water.
You'll enter this fascinating world along a rugged coastline to Humboldt Haven, the outdoor home of our Humboldt penguins. Here a 22-foot-waterfall plunges into a misty tidal pool. Above the pool looms a craggy rock outcropping, with six Humboldt nesting chambers carved into the face of the rock. Windswept grasses jut out along the stony shore. The active Humboldts share their habitat with two brown pelicans, a common neighbor in their South American homeland. Surging tides and ambient sounds of terns, cormorants, gulls and sea lions add to the Humboldt Haven experience.
From here the path leads indoors to two spacious domed exhibits, complete with rugged coastlines, towering rockscapes and underwater viewing of lively penguins. At Penguin Cove, the first walk-through sub-Antarctic penguin exhibit in North America, you will take a journey through high coastal cliffs, like those of the island of South Georgia, to watch penguins on land and underwater. This watery world is a shared habitat for the small gentoo penguin, the agile rockhopper penguin and the stately king penguin.
Then, as you travel through a rough-hewn cave, you'll arrive at Puffin Bay, home to these fast-swimming birds of the Northern Hemisphere. Puffin Bay, complete with rocky cliffs and frigid water, houses both the horned puffin and tufted puffin. Like their penguin counterparts, puffins are black-and-white birds skilled in diving and swimming. They are known as "sea parrots" or "clowns of the sea." Other northern water bird species live in Puffin Bay too, like the beautiful king eider.
The exhibit's barrel-vault ceiling features theatrical lighting, which can be used to simulate a colorful sunrise, a sunset over the horizon, or the reversed seasons. Sounds of crashing waves and a sea lion's bark can be heard in the distance. With a constant temperature of 45-50º F., this walk-through habitat is a sure-fire visitor favorite in summer and a comfortable destination year-round.
Learn more about our Penguin & Puffin Coast residents:
- Gentoo Penguin
- Humboldt Penguin
- King Penguin
- Rockhopper Penguin
- Horned Puffin
- Tufted Puffin
- King Eider
Penguins and puffins in the wild
While penguins and puffins are excellent swimmers, most penguins can dive deeper and stay underwater longer than puffins. Penguins are flightless. Puffins may not be the world's greatest divers or fliers, but they can do both fairly well. On land puffins can walk nimbly on their toes. Taking flight is a bit of a trick, however, and they may use a running start or a dive from the cliffs in order to become airborne.