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Wuppertal Zoo Society - projects

King penguin enclosure (2008)

In 2008 Vorwerk & Co. KG, a founding member of the Wuppertal Zoo Society, financed the new King penguin enclosure on the occasion of the company's 125th anniversary. It was erected at the same place as the old penguin enclosure. The construction costs exceeded 3 million euros. This is the largest single amount ever privately received by a Zoo Society in Germany.

Acrylic glas tunnel in the new penguin enclosure

As a result the Wuppertal Zoo now has one of the largest and most modern penguin enclosures in Europe. The chief attraction is the 15-metre-long acrylic glass tunnel under the water's surface. The only one of its kind in the world for Penguins this enclosure offers visitors a fascinating view into their underwater environment!  

The animals have an ample area of approximately 100 m2 and a pool with 220 m3 of water. The deepest part of the pool is about 2.5 metres with the reconstructed area being approximately 3,750 m3. The temperature in the enclosure is constantly held at 6-8°C. The closed air space above the enclosure with modern lighting, ventilation, filtration and cooling technology ensures that the very sensitive King Penguins are kept in ideal climatic conditions.

  • View of the new penguin enclosure
  • King and Gentoo Penguins in the new enclosure


The modified land formation has been adapted to the Penguins' needs, as they move rather slowly and cannot waddle up steep banks. The artificial rocks in the enclosure were modelled to resemble natural rock formations. The Penguins' amazing swimming agility can be viewed from under the water's surface through the 10-cm-thick acrylic glass penguin tunnel.

Gentoo Penguins in the new penguin enclosure

Besides the King Penguin, Gentoo Penguins also live in the new enclosure. They arrived in Wuppertal from the Edinburgh Zoo at the beginning of 2009. Similar to the King Penguin, these Penguins live on sub-Antarctic islands and also colonise the Antarctic peninsula. Consequently this attractive Penguin species, which was kept in the 1970s in the old penguin enclosure, has once again returned to the Wuppertal Zoo.

Official opening of the new penguin enclosure

In the presence of Minister President Dr. Jürgen Rüttgers, Mayor Peter Jung, the Mittelsten Scheid family (owners of Vorwerk & Co. KG) and many other guests, the new King penguin enclosure was officially opened in March 2009.

Already a half a year before opening, visitors could take a virtual tour of the new penguin enclosure: new King penguin enclosure

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