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Aviary to break ground on $1.7M penguin exhibit

| Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2008

The National Aviary plans to break ground for a $1.7 million outdoor penguin exhibit on Friday, officials announced today.

Called Penguin Point, the 2,300-square-foot African penguin exhibit is the first of 10 new exhibits planned as part of the North Side bird park's $23 million expansion and renovation.

"Our penguins are decidedly our most popular residents, but the Aviary has never had a public exhibit space to accommodate them," National Aviary CEO Linda Dickerson said in a news release. "Until now, the only opportunity for guests to enjoy these remarkable birds has been through shows and educational presentations. With this new exhibit, visitors will find themselves in the midst of what will feel like an actual penguin colony."

The National Aviary is home to five penguins and up to 10 more could be brought in for the new exhibit, which will feature 360-degree views of African penguins swimming, playing, nesting and scaling rocks in an open-air space. A wheelchair accessible tube will offer underwater views.

Construction should be complete by late spring 2009.

People wishing to contribute to the exhibit can purchase a wooden penguin imprinted with their name for $100. The penguins will become a permanent part of the exhibit. To purchase one, call Kelly McCoy at 412-323-7235 x235.

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