denver zoo penguins

African penguins at the Denver Zoo swimming in the zoo's new habitat, the Pinnacol African Penguin Point, opening to the public on Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021. 

The 17 African penguins living at the Denver Zoo are moving to a new home as the zoo announced it will open a brand-new penguin habitat on Thursday.

The habitat, called the Pinnacol African Penguin Point, is over three times larger than the current habitat in Bird World, where the penguins have lived for 20 years, the zoo said in a release. The zoo closed Bird World in October 2019.

“African penguins are among Denver Zoo’s most popular species,” the release said. “(The new habitat) offers design elements that encourage the birds to display their natural charismatic behaviors and improve their wellbeing.”

Located right at the zoo’s main entrance, the new habitat features a 10,000-gallon pool, burrows, nest boxes and underwater viewing areas for guests. The zoo also plans to hold daily keeper talks and feedings in the habitat, the release said.

African penguins are classified as an endangered species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature due to pollution, overfishing and other threats in their native home on the southwestern coast of Africa.

Many of the Denver Zoo’s 17 African penguins were born at the zoo, while others were rescued as chicks from an oil spill in South Africa more than 20 years ago, the release said.

The new penguin habitat was funded by its namesake Pinnacol Assurance, in addition to individual donations.

The Pinnacol African Penguin Point will open to guests during the zoo’s regular operating hours Thursday. Tickets can be bought in advance at

Sign Up For Free: Denver AM Update

Your morning rundown of the latest news from overnight and the stories to follow throughout the day.

Success! Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter.