Penguin Beach (Robben Island)
Based on Robben Island, South Africa, with a focus on the African Penguin
The exhibit is based upon Robben Island, South Africa, with the focal species being the African penguin. Entry is via a mock ferry onto the harbour side, looking over the pool and across the beach area. Visitors walk through the exhibit on a boardwalk styled upon that in the nesting area on the island itself. Two interpretation hides are positioned along the way with both video and conventional information boards. The penguins have a nesting area behind the walkway with an underpass to reach this.
The exhibit is netted over, preventing predators or food theft by wild birds, and facilitating the inclusion of several species of flying birds – all of which are recorded as inhabitants of Robben Island.
We have used large murals along two boundaries to provide appropriate theatrical settings.
The pool is lined with Bentomat which is a clay impregnated matting which allows for ground movement reducing the risk of leaks. This is an innovative solution to our difficult clay substrate which moves throughout the year.
The pool water is treated with pressurised sand filters and chlorine dosing at very low levels. The filtration plane has proved easy to manage and very effective – we have not had a single poor water day since induction.
We had TV coverage on both ITV and BBC weather broadcasts live from the exhibit on successive Fridays.
The exhibit was officially opened in June 2011 by Jeremy Hunt, Minister for Culture.
Visitor dwell time average is just over 4 minutes for family groups.
COMMENDATION (Small Collection) received in BIAZA Awards 2012 for Best New Zoo Enclosure