Exhibit: Penguin Plunge
Our attendance since opening the Penguin Plunge is up 36.9% from last year. We are definitely seeing the results we were looking for. In three weeks we will announce the extension of the Penguin Plunge rental – “Penny” the Penguin will be the Grand Marshall of the Street Fair Parade downtown on September 28th , and that should gives us some great numbers for October.
Exhibit: Penguin Plunge May 2012
A cool new exhibit officially opened at the Topeka Zoo Thursday.
Students from North Fairview Elementary joined officials in cutting the ribbon on the Penguin Plunge. The kids earned the honor and a special tour by collecting the most pennies to support the birds’ visit.
The six African penguins in the exhibit curiously checked out their steady stream of visitors and even entertained with a few “plunges” into the water.
One second grader called it “really cool,” with his favorite part being when the penguins took a swim.
Topeka Zoo Director Brendan Wiley says he’s especially proud of the educational aspects of the exhibit. He says it shows that, even in Topeka, people can make a difference for wildlife.
Wiley also said the exhibit wouldn’t have been possible without the many business and community partners.
The penguins are on loan from the Omaha Zoo. They’ll be in Topeka through September.
Exhibit Type: Future of Frogs
Thank you so much for The Future of Frogs! Everything about the exhibit has exceeded our expectations. From the very beginning, you were very open to questions and communicated effectively as we made the necessary arrangements. Your staff’s knowledge and professionalism were evident every time we spoke.
The team that installed the exhibit was clearly passionate. The Future of Frogs was one of the smoothest installations we have ever had for a traveling exhibit. They all worked very hard to not only ensure that the life support systems for the frogs were up and running, they also provided us with excellent and intuitive training for their maintenance. The exhibits are well designed and provide for straightforward care of the animals.
In addition to the exemplary communication and easy installation, the exhibit has impressed our guests. In fact, during the three months we have had the exhibit, we have seen a 21% increase in paid admissions over last year. We attribute a large portion of this increase directly to The Future of Frogs. It is hard to walk through the museum without hearing our visitors talking about the frogs. They have really inspired curiosity and wonder in the minds of all of our visitors—both children and adults.
We would like to thank you so much for all of your help throughout this time, and especially for designing and installing such a great exhibit in our museum. Our partnership with you has helped us continue to meet our goal of providing learning experiences which are unique, long-lasting, and deeply engaging.
Best wishes for the future,
The Building for Kids
Aquarium Attendance Soars!!! Add Charleston to the list of cities where waddling, feathered fish-eaters are credited for corralling visitors.
“We’re witnessing the power of penguins,” said Kevin Mills, the aquarium’s president and chief executive.
Attendance last month topped out at nearly 59,000, about 21,000 more than April 2008. More than one-third of visitors this year have been locals, compared to about a quarter last year.
Those results align with the aquarium’s goal of bringing in more area residents as vacationers cut back on travel.
The aquarium opened Penguin Planet on March 21 with four male warm-weather birds on loan from SeaWorld San Diego.
The exhibit cost $162,000, but staff listened hopefully to the anecdotes of zoo and aquarium officials in other cities where attendance swelled by as much as 30 percent after penguins arrived on the scene.
Mills said the aquarium has yet to roll out its traditional ad campaign with billboards and bus signs. So far, the attraction has relied primarily on social media to spread the word.
Though billed as a one-year attraction, the penguins could stay a little longer if their success continues and if the aquarium’s partners agree to an extension, according to Mills.
Otherwise, he said, the aquarium will look at bringing in another, equally high-profile aquatic critter.
“I think that we need to continue each year to look at opportunities to provide local families with animals from the other side of the world,” Mills said.
The aquarium said it has gathered more than 500 new memberships since January, with the average member spending about 20 percent more compared with last year.
The attraction began offering a new membership package that includes two guest passes and, in recent months, rolled out two new children’s stations and a touch tank with stingray petting.
Because of last year’s attendance slump, the aquarium required all 82 full-time and part-time employees to take 10 unpaid days off between December and February to save an estimated $110,000. Before that, the attraction froze hiring and nonessential spending.
Given the recent success, Mills said he does not foresee further cutbacks.
“We have weathered that storm,” Mills said, adding that the aquarium is “feeling very bullish” about the rest of the year.
Exhibit Type: Penguin Plunge
Senior Vice President and Chief Animal Officer,
I have many contacts around the world that create habitats, acquire and display animals for educational/conservation programs, train animals, and create life support systems. What is rare, is a company that can do all of those things. With ACU, its principals are savvy in all of the aforementioned disciplines.
Without reservation, I endorse ACU and any of its projects. Animal care and health are the greatest priority for ACU, followed closely by dynamic exhibits that inspire its viewers to learn more through engagement. This proves to be a winning combination in the world of zoology and conservation.
Sr. VP & Chief Animal Officer