Welcome to the desert coast of Peru



Most people think of snow and ice when they think of penguins, but our penguins are from the hot, arid coastal regions of Peru! This award-winning exhibit incorporates a rocky coast with incredible underwater viewing. Watch up-close as the birds frolic just inches away.


Designed with Nature in Mind

Water is an essential feature of the natural habitat of all penguins, and so it is with our Humboldt penguin exhibit. While we designed the entire exhibit to conserve natural resources, our approach to managing water use and quality is particularly innovative. We use the earth’s natural systems to ensure a pristine water environment for these endangered birds while preventing stormwater runoff from entering our lakes, thus contributing to the health of Puget Sound.

The exhibit saves approximately 3,000,000 gallons of water and 22,000 kilowatt hours of energy each year! That’s the equivalent of saving 24 million pints of drinking water, and heating five, new two bedroom townhouses each year.


Water Recirculation and Cleansing

The exhibit filters stormwater on site in two ways. First, it collects rainwater from the roof and uses it to replace pool water lost naturally through evaporation. All rainwater that falls onto the paths filters back into the ground to recharge the earth. Second, “dirty” but nutrient-rich water from the penguin pool will trickle through a constructed wetland modeled on a natural filtration ecosystem. Here, plant roots and microbes will naturally absorb these nutrients, returning purified water to the penguin pool.



Humboldt Penguins

Humboldt penguins are found along the coast of Peru and Chile in the Humboldt current. This current flows northward along the west coast of South America, bringing low salinity and nutrient-rich water from Antarctica.

Our Mission

Woodland Park Zoo saves wildlife and inspires everyone to make conservation a priority in their lives.

Land Acknowledgment

Woodland Park Zoo recognizes that these are the lands of the Tribal signatories of the Treaty of Point Elliott. We acknowledge their stewardship of this place continues to this day and that it is our responsibility to join them to restore the relationship with the living world around us.

5500 Phinney Ave. N., Seattle, WA 98103   |  206.548.2500  |

Association of Zoos & Aquariums
Seattle Parks & Recreation
Humane Certification