DTE foundation gives $500K for zoo's penguin center
The DTE Energy Foundation, the philanthropic arm of DTE Energy, donated $500,000 to the Polk Penguin Conservation Center at the Detroit Zoo, which will open in early 2016.
The grant will support projection mapping, an advanced video feature that will depict a phenomenon known as iceberg calving — icebergs splitting and sending massive cascades of ice crashing into the sea.
"This generous gift will enable our visitors to experience one of nature's most dramatic visual spectacles," said Ron Kagan, executive director and CEO of the Detroit Zoological Society.
The center will be home to more than 80 penguins of four species: rockhopper, macaroni, king and gentoo, which currently reside in the Detroit Zoo's Penguinarium.
The 33,000-square-foot facility will feature a penguin "deep dive" with views above and below water as the birds dive and soar through a chilled 326,000-gallon, 25-foot-deep aquatic area.
That feature, deeper and larger than the aquatic area at the zoo's Arctic Ring of Life, will allow visitors to observe penguins "flying" under water – something that cannot be seen even in the wild, zoo officials said.
"We are happy to partner with the zoo to help build a world-class penguin center that will be enjoyed by visitors of all ages for many generations," said Faye Nelson, vice president of public affairs, DTE Energy, and president, DTE Energy Foundation.