Maryland Zoo in Baltimore Penguin Coast and Aviaries



Penguin Coast, designed to depict Southern Africa, covers an area of approximately 1.5 acres and is the largest outdoor African penguin habitat in North America. The project consists of an 180,000-gallon aquatic habitat for the penguins to live with a 2,000 SF holding building located in the center island to house the animals. Three other buildings surround the habitat that provide an extra dimension to the exhibit. The largest building is the 6,200 SF underwater viewing/education center, which allows guests to view the penguins and learn about the species from the zoo staff. The basement of this building contains the exhibit’s advanced life support system. Whiting-Turner utilized BIM to coordinate the layout of the penguin life support system. Equipment with large pipes was installed for ease of maintenance and ability to operate the valves.

There is also another, much smaller 420 SF habitat which houses the zoo’s Penguin Embassy. These are the same breed as the African penguins, but they are kept separate because they meet the public directly. This exhibit allows guests to have one-on-one interaction with the endangered species. There is also 280 SF concession stand serving beverages and snacks. Finally, adjacent to the penguin exhibit, we renovated a 2,800 SF habitat into a new flamingo exhibit.

The Penguin Exhibit achieved The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) 2016 Award for Exhibit Design.


Baltimore, Maryland

The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore









The African Aviary is a replacement of a mesh aviary structure. The project included replacing support posts and cables, providing new guy wires for support posts, along with new mesh, vestibule and perimeter plantings. The project site is approximately 6,200 SF in size, and the new mesh system encloses existing exhibit features, including two existing oak trees that were integral to the African Aviary exhibit.

One a Bur Oak, which was registered as Baltimore City and Maryland State champion tree, and the other was a state champion candidate. Champion trees are some of the largest trees recorded, and extreme care had to be taken in order not to affect them. No equipment was allowed within the exhibit area.



The Marsh Aviary project was the reconstruction of an aviary exhibit that was damaged by a blizzard. The aviary is a 10,500 SF exhibit covered by aviary netting and consisting of a system of poles, anchors and cables. The project also included replacing the life support system of both the marsh aviary exhibit and the otter exhibit.

Penguin Coast


Penguin Coast was designed to represent the coast of Southern Africa. To depict the boulders, the first step was to create a detailed model, which was reviewed by the architect. The model was measured and recreated in full scale. This involved bending the rebar into the desired shape, adding mesh, a base coat and top coat of shotcrete. Since the model was on site, the team checked the rebar for correct shaping per the model, as well as review the base coat.

Painting and other detailing was reviewed and adjusted based on the requirements. Being a part of the review process allowed us to check the work as it was installed. We also had integral waterproofing in the shotcrete, as well as adding a waterproof membrane. We integrated the required plumbing items to make sure the pool remained clean. These had to be installed so they would not leak and were camouflaged with artistic shotcrete. Finally, we installed underwater lights and current generating motors.



Cultural National Leader
Allan Gladstone
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