March 14, 2018
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces Grand Opening of Humboldt Penguin Exhibit at Aquarium of Niagara

TOP Governor Cuomo Announces Grand Opening of...

New State-of-the-Art Penguin Habitat Projected to Attract an Additional 30,000 Visitors Each Year to the Aquarium 

Photos of the New Exhibit Are Available Here


Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the grand opening of the $3.5 million Penguin Coast exhibit at the Aquarium of Niagara in Western New York. The new exhibit adds programming and interactive features to the already popular attraction, while providing a state-of-the-art habitat for the colony to grow to more than 20 Humboldt penguins. The Aquarium of Niagara is one of only 20 facilities in the United States and Canada to house the threatened Humboldt penguin species. The aquarium currently attracts 270,000 visitors annually and the new interactive exhibit is projected to attract an additional 30,000 visitors to the Niagara Falls aquarium each year.

"The new Humboldt Penguin Exhibit is another exciting experience for families traveling to visit and enjoy the beauty of Niagara Falls," Governor Cuomo said. "Projects like this state-of-the-art habitat and exhibit are key to increasing tourism and economic activity, and I encourage both residents and visitors to experience the Aquarium of Niagara this year." 

"I was in Niagara Falls for the groundbreaking of the Humboldt Penguin Exhibit and excited for the opening of the new addition at the aquarium," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "This exhibit adds to the many attractions in Niagara Falls, continuing to build the local economy and bring more visitors to the area. The facility also helps to ensure the future of the Humboldt penguin species in a secure environment with new chicks expected in the future. Niagara Falls is a magnificent gem in New York State, and I'm proud of our investments and commitment to help restore and expand the falls and all the city has to offer."

The new 3,500-square-foot exhibit and gallery include 1,600-square-feet of living space and a rock beach modeled after their native Peruvian coast. Prominent features include nesting areas for the birds and a spectacular viewing area for visitors to enjoy above and below water viewing of the penguins in their new 15,000-gallon pool. Adjacent to the exhibit is a new interactive classroom, bringing educational marine programs to the region for visitors to enjoy. The project also includes space for one-on-one penguin encounter experiences as well as treatment areas for use by Aquarium veterinarians.

The new exhibit will also feature:

  • Scheduled feedings and presentations;
  • Hatching and rearing of Humboldt penguin chicks;
  • Routine health assessments by veterinarians;
  • Increased opportunities for student outreach, education and research; and
  • Animal encounter programs.


With the new habitat now complete, the aquarium will seek accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Accreditation will allow the aquarium to expand the penguin colony through partnership with other AZA institutions and restart a breeding program for these threatened species. When fully operational the colony will include approximately 20 penguins, and result in the hatching of several penguin chicks each year.


The New York Power Authority has provided $1.75 million to support this penguin project through its Western New York Power Proceeds Allocation Board, which uses earnings from the sale of unused hydropower from the Niagara Power Project to fund economic development projects in the region. Other funding includes $300,000 from the WNY Regional Economic Development Council and $100,000 through Market New York. 


NYPA President and CEO Gil C. Quiniones said, "The completion of the penguin exhibit at the Niagara Aquarium is great news for tourism in Western New York. NYPA is proud to have contributed to this great project, which will provide enjoyment to aquarium visitors for years to come."


"Who doesn't love penguins? Seeing them enjoying their new habitat is a pleasure for residents and visitors alike," said Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky. "The more activities we have to offer the longer tourists will stay in the region, so the Penguin Coast exhibit is a win for all of Western New York."


"The completion of Penguin Coast is a gateway to the Aquarium's future," said Gary Siddall, Executive Director of the Aquarium. "The impact of this project will build on the success that we've seen over the past several years. This exhibit is just the beginning of a wave of improvements coming to the Aquarium of Niagara."


Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster said, "The opening of the new Humboldt Penguin exhibit adds yet another layer of educational excitement for visitors to the Aquarium of Niagara. Governor Cuomo's commitment to our city's tourism economy with this state-of-the-art renovation will continue to add to the growing list of extended-stay offerings and enhance the visitor experience for generations to come." 

For more information about the Aquarium of Niagara, visit this link:


Contact the Governor's Press Office
Contact the Governor's Press Office