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Aquarium of Niagara breaks ground on $3.3 million penguin exhibit

Posted at 12:47 PM, Feb 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-24 12:47:08-05

For the first time in the history of the Aquarium of Niagara, the facility is getting a major renovation.

The Humboldt penguin exhibit will get a $3.3 million facelift, pushing the aquarium toward AZA accreditation. This means the facility will be able to start a breeding program, rejuvenating its colony of seven geriatric penguins.

The Humboldt penguins at the aquarium have passed their median life expectancy. A new exhibit will grow allow the colony to expand to 20.

Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster and museum officials broke ground on the project. It's expected to be finished in spring of 2018.

The new exhibit will be 3,500 square feet with a 1,600 square foot habitat. Inside will be a 15,000 gallon pool, five times bigger than the original space.

Aquarium of Niagara is one of only 20 institutions in North America that houses Humboldt penguins. As an important part of conservation and education about the threatened species, the new exhibit will also feature classroom space.

Cannon Design and Turner Construction are working on the project.

The project was funded by donors, some of the biggest are NY Power Authority with $1.75 million, Empire State Development with $400,000 and the City of Niagara FAlls with $150,000.