KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Zoo Knoxville will soon say a fond farewell to some longtime residents.
The zoo's penguin waddle (Yes, that's what you call a group of penguins. Who knew?) will be moving to Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies in mid-September.
Zoo spokesperson Tina Rolen said that Penguin Rock would soon be impacted as the zoo starts work on its new $18 million Amphibian and Reptile Campus (Arc) in a couple of weeks, and they really wanted to spare the four resident penguins the stress of construction.
Ripley's actually has a beautiful, state-of the-art penguin exhibit so they will be moving into some really nice new digs and the zoo knows they will have a wonderful home there.
"They'll have lots of enrichment and social options that we can't provide them with our current facilities, so it was a no brainer to offer them an upgrade," said Rolen.
As for whether or not the penguins will be coming back to Zoo Knoxville, they really don't know at this point
While the Arc is being built, zoo officials will be doing some long-term planning for the African animals that live at the zoo and the penguins will be part of that conversation.
Zoo Knoxville's penguins, by the way, are from South Africa, so they are a warm-weather species that really don't like the cold that much!
The zoo knows that everyone loves the penguins and many would like to come and say goodbye. This weekend, they are hosting a formal farewell to the penguins with a special promotion.
From Friday, Aug. 31 through Monday, Sept. 2, if you come to the zoo dressed in black and white attire (black tie not necessary) you will get $5 off general admission tickets.
The penguins officially move later this month.
Tickets can be purchased online at zooknoxville.org or at the zoo’s ticket window beginning Aug. 30, 2019. Tickets must be used Aug. 30 through Sept. 2, 2019.