See them waddling around on the rocky beach, or underwater as they dart around their saltwater pool.
At Penguin Coast, you really are up close to our penguins. Low fencing around the nesting areas means you feel part of their home. And a large covered underwater viewing area lets you interact with them through the glass – and because it’s undercover, you can enjoy the penguins even if it’s raining.
We have a large group of Humboldt penguins, an endangered species from South America. Penguin Coast is part of a breeding programme, which is why the enclosure has its own penguin nursery. Here you can see our chicks learn to swim and feed themselves. In our first two breeding seasons, we added 11 chicks to the waddle – that’s the name for a group of penguins.
We’ve designed the enclosure to be very like the penguins’ natural home. It’s the best breeding environment for them. Penguin Coast has a pebble beach, which is good for penguins’ feet and prevents ‘bumblefoot’, a common complaint in penguins. It also has plants from South America. And the penguin pool’s pump house ensures the water is as close to seawater as possible, by adding salt and removing any waste – including the penguin’s poop!
P-p-p-pick a penguin
We have some real characters at Penguin Coast. So, to help you work out who’s who, we’ve got penguin name boards. Plus, all our penguins have coloured bands on their flippers to help you identify them. The penguins can’t feel the bands, and they help our keepers look after each penguin properly.
In the early part of the year, our penguins start breeding. During this time, there are fewer penguins in the pool as they waddle off to their nest boxes.
Proud “mummy” moment – one of our penguin keepers with Duffman, one of the 2016 chicks.
Once a year, usually in the summer, our penguins lose their feathers. But don’t p-p-panic, there’s nothing wrong. Over time, a penguin’s feathers lose their natural waterproofing, so they need to grow lovely new ones. This is hard work for them, so they eat extra fish to make sure they have lots of energy. Sometimes this makes them look a bit overweight – but when they’re ‘in moult’ (losing their feathers), they hardly eat, and just laze around saving their energy.
Bad hair day? No, just a penguin ‘in moult’! Photo courtesy of Jeff Gendall Photography