Visitor & Tickets
Animals & Exhibits
Learning Adventures

Whet Your Appetite

Cessna Penguin Cove was designed to be an adventure that delights all the senses and immerses visitors in a coastal South American atmosphere. Seashells, barnacles, mussels, sea stars, and crabs peek from rocks and pathways, a minke whale skeleton has washed ashore, and Inca terns with their bright red beaks and white feather mustaches cohabitate with the Humboldt penguins. The cove includes a 52-foot long underwater viewing area for the visitors to see the penguins gliding gracefully through the water or, with a more evident motive, diving for the fish the keepers occasionally throw in for them during feeding time.

Can't get enough of the penguins? Check out the penguin cam for a quick fix. What are they up to now?
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Animals in the Exhibit
Grey gull
  • Leucophaeus modestus
Humboldt penguin
  • Spheniscus humboldti
Inca tern
  • Larosterna inca

ZooKeepers’ Journals

Our keepers are very busy caring for the animals. When time allows we will add journal entries here. We hope the Zookeepers' Journals will be a fun way to learn more about the fascinating animals we have in our care. If there is an animal or area of Cessna Penguin Cove that you would like our Zookeepers to write about — please let us know. We will do our best to address your areas of interest as time allows. Check back later for updates from the Cessna Penguin Cove Zookeepers. Thanks for checking in.

Photo Gallery

Penguins Are Popular

Take one look at a swimming penguin, or even at their antics on the shore, and it’s crystal clear. Each species of penguin is unique, and our very own Humboldt penguins are no exception.

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Cessna Penguin Cove
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Immerse Yourself in Coastal South America

The Cessna Penguin Cove, was built to replicate the coast of South America and is home to Humboldt penguins and Inca terns.

Cessna Penguin Cove is an adventure that delights all the senses, as you become immersed in coastal South America. To whet your appetite a path of pebbles and seashells takes you through a gateway of barnacle-covered damp posts, indicating that you are not far from the seashore. This is a rough environment, with cacti growing in the rocky terrain set between cliffs. Among the rocks and sand you discover the skeleton of a minke whale that has washed ashore long ago. Where did it come from and how did it die, you wonder. You find more barnacles, mussels, sea stars and crabs coexisting – surviving off one another.

As you walk further up the path, surrounded by cliffs, you finally reach the waters edge of Cessna Penguin Cove, home to the Humboldt penguin. Looking beyond the rocks, high on the side of the cliffs you see a group of Inca terns with bright red beaks and white feather mustaches. Some birds are resting; others fly here and there.

Humboldt penguins get their name from the cold, nutrient-rich Humboldt Current off the mainland coast of Chile and Peru. Penguins are designed for their marine lifestyle, with streamlined bodies that allow them to “fly” through the water. Their wings are stiff, flat flippers used to propel them through the water. Unlike other birds, they have heavy, solid bones that reduce the energy needed to dive. The tail and feet make an effective “rudder” to swim with ease. Although short, their feet assist them in the water; they are also the reason the penguins have a waddling walk on land. They are dependent on land for molting, the annual shedding of feathers that are replaced with new, as well as for nesting and breeding. Humboldt penguins nest in natural crevices or small caves. You will see these in the rock wall on the opposite side of the cove. Breeding generally takes place when environmental conditions are favorable and food sources are highest.

Check out the penguin cam as they swim, play and pester one another. The 52-foot long underwater viewing area provides a visitor experience like no other. Next time you visit take your time, sit and relax against the cliff wall or explore the terrain; you’ll realize penguins are as diverse as the environments in which they live.

5555 Zoo Boulevard
Wichita, Kansas 67212
t: (316) 660-9453