Albuquerque BioPark gives first look at new penguin exhibit

City anticipates some disturbance during construction

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE)  People are finally getting a look at the highly anticipated penguin exhibit.

“We’re going to bring to Albuquerque something we’ve never had before,” said J.T. Allen, Chief Executive for the ABQ BioPark.

Thursday, the BioPark released renderings for the penguin exhibit before breaking ground on it.

“We’re going to bring in three penguin species, which are the Macaroni, the Gentoo, and the King Penguin.” said Allen.

The penguins’ habitat will be complete with snow and even a 15-foot diving pool. All while zoo-goers can look on from two different stories.

“We actually have railings and the railings will be in the shape of a penguin,” said Allen.

But to make room for the more than 16,000 square foot exhibit, the zoo will tear down the Tropical America building. After that, comes about a year of construction.

“Tonight, the meeting’s purpose is to be good neighbors,” said Allen.

Thursday night at the Barelas Senior Center, BioPark officials told neighbors what to expect during demolition, like big trucks driving through the neighborhood and preparing them for noise.

“It would be what you would expect to hear with someone taking apart concrete, a jackhammer, construction noises,” said Allen.

That’s something neighbor Frank Velasquez had a few questions about.

“The noise level, and the times they’re going to be tearing down, and when the trucks are going to be moving in and out,” said Velasquez.

Zoo officials said they’re still working on exact time and will work with neighbors as much as they can.

Velasquez said he is excited for the exhibit but hopes construction isn’t much of a problem.

The city said demolition is set to start in a few weeks. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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