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Originally published | Page modified May 2, 2009 at 3:55 AM

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Weekend highlight

Penguin exhibit opens Saturday at Woodland Park Zoo

A new exhibit area housing Humboldt penguins opens Saturday at Seattle's zoo.

Seattle Times staff

Video | Penguins at Woodland Park Zoo

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Woodland Park Zoo's penguins have a new home and everyone's invited to come and celebrate at the Humboldt penguin exhibit opening Saturday.

The all-new 17,000-square-foot exhibit re-creates the penguins' native habitat in Peru with shoreline cliffs, waves and rocky pools. For visitors, there are vantage points to see the penguins splash, dive and "fly" underwater.

Saturday festivities include South American music, Peruvian bilingual storytelling, penguin-themed giveaways and activities for all ages. The exhibit, run on "green" technology including geothermal energy, with a water-conserving filtration system, is near the zoo's West Entrance, adjacent to the Rain Forest Food Pavilion.

Zoo summer hours, activities and admission prices are in effect starting Friday. Daily activities include a guided safari around the African Savanna at 11 a.m., African village storytelling at noon, penguin keeper talks at 1 p.m., and elephant keeper talks at 2 p.m., all included in zoo admission.

Popular attractions for kids include the Zoomazium indoor play area for ages 8 and younger, and meeting farm animals in supervised areas of the Family Farm. Visitors can meet giraffes up close on a raised platform and offer them food, 10-11 a.m. and 2:30-3:30 p.m. daily, for $5 per person; feed the birds at the Willawong Station during zoo hours for $1 per seed stick; and ride the historic carousel for $2 a person.

The Rain Forest Food Pavilion offers food from a variety of vendors. The ZooStore includes plush animals, educational games, logo apparel, animal-themed jewelry, books and handcrafted items from around the world, with proceeds from all purchases supporting the zoo's conservation and education programs and animal care.

Skates, scooters, balloons, bicycles, Frisbees and pets (except for service animals) are not allowed on zoo grounds. Smoking is prohibited throughout the zoo.

The details

Time: Penguin-exhibit festivities 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday; zoo open 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m. daily.

Cost: $16.50/ages 13-64; $14.50/ages 65 and older and people with disabilities; $11/ages 3-12; ages 2 and younger free. "Happy Hourz," $4 off admission prices after 4 p.m. every Friday. Zoo parking $5.

Location: Woodland Park Zoo, 5500 Phinney Ave. N., Seattle; South Entrance, North 50th Street and Fremont Avenue North; West Entrance, Phinney Avenue North and North 55th Street; North Entrance, North 59th Street and Evanston Avenue North, Seattle.

Getting there: From Interstate 5 North or South, take Northeast 50th Street exit (Exit 169); go west 1.3 miles to zoo south entrance. Bike racks provided at each entrance; bike lane available on Phinney Avenue.

For Metro Transit information, call 206-553-3000 or see tripplanner.metrokc.gov.

More information: 206-548-2500 or www.zoo.org.

Madeline McKenzie: 206-464-8245 or mmckenzie@seattletimes.com

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