Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo is in the process of building a new Humboldt penguin exhibit that conserves energy; they’re installing a natural filtration system, and they’re using geothermal energy to keep the pool at a penguin-pleasing temperature range of 50-60 degrees Farenheit.
State-of-the-art engineering allows the new penguin exhibit to help us reduce our environmental footprint. The plant roots and microbes in a “constructed wetland,” similar to a natural wetland, will filter the penguin pool water as it becomes dirty, or nutrient-rich (think feathers, fish and poop!). This natural filtration system will return purified water to the penguin pool. This means a pristine water environment for the penguins and no pollution entering our lakes, streams or Puget Sound. One-hundred feet below the exhibit, deep tubes will use the earth’s thermal reserves to maintain the penguin pool at the birds’ ideal water temperature of 50-60 degrees—heating it in winter and cooling it in summer.