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'This is a true community project': Cameron Park Zoo preps for penguin exhibit opening

The Cameron Park Zoo is gearing up for their new penguin exhibit coming August 2024.
Posted at 7:59 AM, Jun 06, 2024

WACO, Texas (KXXV) — Cameron Park Zoo Director Brendan Wiley gives Heather Healy an exclusive tour of the upcoming penguin exhibit and the black-footed cat exhibit in the same vicinity. The exhibit will open August 2024.


Within his first six months as zoo director, Brendan Wiley has a few projects for the Cameron Park Zoo in the works.

"This is a true community project,” Wiley said.

But this project he's giving me a tour of is one our Waco neighbors can't wait to be completed.

"The Gloria and FM Young Penguin Shores exhibit is going to feature the South African black-footed penguins. Penguins in Texas? That's a question we're getting a lot,” Wiley said.

While these types of penguins are used to our Central Texas heat, to help them get acclimated a little bit more.

“It'll be our goal, even in the hottest Texas heat to keep that water temperature cold at a maximum of 80 degrees. That water temperature will also have the ability to chill down to 55 degrees. We'll also use things like cooling misters to make it a little more comfortable for the penguins,” Wiley said.

A highly anticipated project for our feathered friends to enjoy.

"We're really excited to have the penguins, we're really excited to bring in the black-footed cats as well. We feel these are species that the zoo will be able to do very well with and will be a good representation of our zoo and help with the outreach of our community,” said Gordon Henley, General Curator for the zoo.

Outreaching in more ways than one, with the focus of this exhibit to conserve wildlife.

"It gets back to resources, and as people, we have to figure out how to manage our resources to that all life, whether it's animals or people has enough resources for the future. It's simply about changing behaviors enough to make a big difference," Henley said.

"Being an example to our community making it a better place for everyone," Wiley said. "It's great work, it's mission work, and we're ready for it."