Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies announced Thursday an expansion that will include a habitat for about 20 African penguins. The new multimillion dollar exhibit is scheduled to open in mid-March and is located at the site of the former Veranda Restaurant.
The black footed African penguins average about 2 feet in height and weigh around 5 to 9 pounds. The African penguins, with shorter feathers than the Antarctic penguin, are from a warm climate that will allow for them to be displayed in an indoor-outdoor facility.
Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, located in downtown Gatlinburg, was named the top aquarium in the nation last year by Trip Advisor, the online travel website.