Cold Weather Penguin Camera

A Cast of Characters

Helzberg Penguin Plaza opened its doors in October 2013. It's currently home to king penguins, macaroni penguins, gentoo penguins, and chinstrap penguins. You can see all of them swimming and strolling around in this cold-weather habitat. The Kansas City Zoo is also home to a family of Humboldt penguins that live in a separate warm-weather habitat.

All of the penguins have names, and Zoo staff can tell them apart by the bands they wear on their wings. Look closely and you may be able to see names on some of the bands.

You might also notice that Elvis, one of our king penguins, wears down the feathers in a spot on his belly. We believe he's rubbing his belly on the ramps as he gets out of our pools. He tends to be one of our heavier penguins.

Once a year, each penguin will molt, or shed its feather and grow new ones. You’ll be able to tell when this is occurring as it makes the penguins look a little scruffy!

Home Sweet Home

Penguins live in very large groups in the wild. They like to live together in close quarters, but need space to swim, nest, and rest, all of which we have at the Zoo. The air and water in the enclosure are both kept at a cool 45° F.  The lighting is also set to simulate their natural habitat.

We feed the penguins twice per day, at 10 am and 3 pm, and they get to eat as much as they want. How much each penguin eats is recorded to help monitor their health. You'll often see zookeepers on camera, moving in and out of the enclosure to feed and care for the penguins.

Penguin Parents

Our penguins frequently lay eggs and we have had several successful hatchings at the zoo, including two king penguin chicks and eight gentoo chicks.

Frequently Asked Questions

Since they are in captivity do they lay eggs and have little ones?

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Yes – We have had several eggs hatch from all four species since we opened the exhibit in 2013.

What is the temperature in the enclosure?

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The air and water are both kept at 45° F.

How often/much do you feed the penguins?

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They are fed twice per day and they get to eat as much as they want.

Do the penguins have names?

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Yes – All of the penguins have names, and we can tell them apart by the bands they wear on their wings. I am not sure how good the definition is on the camera but some of the penguins have bands that have their names written on them.

What penguin species do you have?

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King, Gentoo, Macaroni and Chinstrap penguins live in this exhibit and Humboldt penguins live in our indoor/outdoor exhibit.

How much space does one penguin need?

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Penguins actually live in very large groups in the wild. They like to live together in close quarters, but need space to swim, nest, and rest, all of which we have at the Kansas City Zoo.

There is a penguin that looks like it has a hole in its stomach...what is that?

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That is Elvis one of our King Penguins. He wears the feathers in that spot down every year. We believe it is from him rubbing his belly on the ramps as he gets out of our pools. He tends to be one of our chunkier penguins.

Why is there no sound?

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We decided to leave the sound of the camera off because it is located next to one of the ice machines that produce fresh snow for our penguins. Viewers would only hear the sound of the machine if it were turned on.

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