Blackpool Zoo’s penguins move into new home with a beach and pool after £100k refurb

The Magellanic penguin colony arrived at the Lancashire-based zoo in 2009.

Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 21st April 2023

The penguins at Blackpool Zoo are now settling into their new home after its undergone an impressive £100,000 refurbishment.

Or, as the zoo has comically put it, they’re ready to “net fish and chill”.

The improvement works on the newly-named ‘Penguin Cove’ down at the Lancashire-based zoo – which opened in 1972, and is now home to over 1,000 mammals, birds, reptiles, and invertebrates – started back in January when the colony of penguins was temporarily relocated so their specially-designed facility could take shape.

Blackpool Zoo is home to the UK’s only collection of Magellanic penguins – a South American penguin named after Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, who first spotted them in 1520, and who originate from coastal Patagonia, Chile, and the Falkland Islands.

The penguin colony arrived at the zoo in 2009 as part of the ‘Active Oceans Arena’ development.


The £100,000 refurb of the colony’s living facility includes a brand-new beach – which is eight-times bigger than the previous one – made with sand from an estuary on the River Mersey, and coming complete with more nest boxes for mating pairs.

The pool has also had an overhaul, and now includes a state-of-the-art lining and a net cover across the whole area to help to protect the animals from bird flu.


Thanks to the new refurb, visitors see the cute aquatic birds in their new habitats much better than they could before, as there’s a new extended walkway that goes all the way round the beach and pool, and there’s also lots of new planting that provides natural shading.

Luke Forster, Deputy Team Manager on the Birds and Events Section at Blackpool Zoo, designed the new facility and oversaw the entire project.

“We are thrilled to be reopening our improved and extended facility,” Luke said.


“The penguins moved to the new beach over Easter but this week we finished and opened their new pool, which marks the completion of the fabulous new Penguin Cove. This investment will make a real difference for the residents, the staff and our many penguin super fans and there is plenty of room for the colony to grow, which is great as they are a real zoo favourite.

“We’re hoping the additional nest boxes will lead to lots of fluffy little new arrivals and the new netting will help to protect the penguins from bird flu, which has been particularly bad this year.”

On top of the new penguin facility, now that the national restrictions on birds have been lifted, Blackpool Zoo says it’s “delighted” to have been able to reopen its World of Wings walk-through, and is also getting ready to reopen its Rainbow Landings exhibit.

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The World of Wings is now open seven days a week, while Rainbow Landings on weekends and Bank Holidays from next Saturday 29 April, and then every day from Saturday 27 May.

Featured Image – Blackpool Zoo