10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Grounds close at 4 p.m.


(Spheniscus demersus)

There are 43 penguins in the Zoo's flock, many of which hatched here at the Zoo. They squabble, are very territorial and live with a lot of drama. Each penguin has its own personality; some are leaders, some followers, some aggressive and some docile. Both parents are involved in taking care of the young and they are excellent parents.

Learn how Assistant Curator Kara Masaschi has assisted in helping penguins in their natural range here.

In 2008, our local newspaper, the Democrat and Chronicle, ran a story on our African penguin breeding program. While the story is dated, the concept isn't. We remain one of the nation's top breeding facilities. Read more here.



International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List status: Endangered. The greatest threats facing African penguins are oil spills, leaking tankers and over-fishing. The Zoo has been making solid contributions to populations in conservation care at Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited (AZA) zoos since hatching its first chick in 1999. It has been a consistent forerunner in African penguin breeding in the United States ever since, with more than 90 chicks hatched.

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Coastal areas and seas off the southern tip of Africa, including islands.


The African black-footed penguin feeds only at sea, eating crustaceans, fish and squid. How can you help African penguins? An organization called SANCCOB was established in 1968. To date, they have treated more than 85,000 seabirds. Learn more about this organization by clicking here.


  • African penguins prefer warmer water between 40 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • These birds are flightless. Their wings, modified flippers, are used for swimming and diving up to 30 feet deep.
  • The call of an African penguin sounds almost like a donkey braying.
  • Penguin feathers are stiff and overlap in layers to trap air next to the skin, making their coat both wind and waterproof.