Humboldt Penguin Exhibit

Humble?  No, Humboldt.


The Challenge:
The Woodland Park Zoo’s Humboldt penguin exhibit is meant to mimic a real life penguin research sanctuary that is located along the rocky, arid coastline of South America where the Humboldt Current flows between Chile and Peru. We were asked to help create a completely realistic, environmentally accurate home for the penguins in the new exhibit. Elements like the researchers’ hut, field documentation and tools all needed to have a great attention to detail while also being made to withstand the local elements and close contact with the public. 

The Solution:
When working on an educational exhibit like the one for Humboldt penguins, (real name, Spheniscus humboldti, by the way) we learn everything we can about our subject. For instance, did you know that Humboldt penguins have a supraorbital gland that allows them to drink salt water in addition to fresh water? Wow, huh? Even the multiple bags of faux penguin guano needed to look like the real thing. That’s because it’s all part of the story, and because that’s the kind of immersive environment the Woodland Park Zoo is known for. The murals seen on the walls of the exhibit we re-created from photographs taken at the actual sanctuary where one of the researchers had painted the originals to add a little personality to the sun baked walls.

Experience Counts:
The Woodland Park Zoo, in addition to being right in our own back yard, is considered one of the premier zoos in the country.  We’re exceedingly proud to have been a part of several innovative permanent exhibits there and have great respect for their attention to detail and quality work.  The Humboldt penguin exhibit is another fine example of what can be achieved when great partners work well together.


Client: Woodland Park Zoo
Design: Studio Hanson/Roberts
Venue: Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle, WA.