HOUSTON – A new Galápagos Islands exhibit at the Houston Zoo is expected to open this spring.
The exhibit will feature wildlife from the legendary island chain and immerse guests in environments that show the archipelago’s unique landscapes and oceanic habitats.
It will open to the public on April 7 and feature animals like the giant Galápagos tortoise and several stand-ins for protected species.
More than one dozen Humboldt penguins from zoos and aquariums around the country will be featured in the exhibit as a stand-in for the Galápagos penguin — the most endangered penguin species in the world and also one of the smallest.
Four new California sea lions will join the current colony of five and also call the new exhibit home. The sea lions, which have been a staple at the Houston Zoo for decades, will be standing-in for the closely related Galápagos sea lions, according to a press release.
The new sea lions will be heading to Houston from a California rescue facility.
There will also be a 270,000-gallon One Ocean aquarium at the center of the Galápagos Islands complex. Two black-tip reef sharks, two bonnethead sharks and a green sea turtle will be among the animals that call the aquarium home.
Funding for the Galápagos Islands exhibit came from a portion of the “Keeping Our World Wild” centennial fundraising campaign, which exceeded its $150 million goal.
“We are deeply grateful for the exceptional support we have received during our centennial campaign,” said President and CEO of the Houston Zoo Lee Ehmke.
“The opening of our Galápagos Islands exhibit will be a momentous occasion, and we are excited to introduce these remarkable animals and places they represent to the community. It is our hope that this exhibit will inspire visitors to learn more about conservation and the vital role the Zoo plays in protecting these species for future generations,” Ehmke said.
The Houston Zoo is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week. Tickets can be purchased online.