Last updateTue, 21 Jul 2015 1pm
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Penguins are talk of the town as city zoo launches new attraction

Twelve recently acquired Adelie penguins became instant celebrities at the Guadalajara Zoo on Saturday when the facility's latest attraction – the Reino de Pinguinos (Kingdom of Penguins) – opened to much fanfare.

Around 9,000 excited visitors filed through the attraction this weekend to catch a glimpse of the penguins, which arrived in April from the World of Adventures in Wakamaya, Japan.

The penguins cost $US30,000 each and their living quarters set back the zoo a further 25 million pesos ($US I.5 million).

The biggest cost of maintaining the penguins will be the 200,000 pesos a month in electricity it requires to keep them housed at their optimum temperature of around 0 degrees centigrade.

The zoo will expect to recoup its outlay, and is charging 40 pesos (25 pesos for children) in addition its regular entrance fee to view the new residents.

Adelie penguins are among the most southerly distributed of all seabirds and found on the entire Antarctic coast, which is their only residence.

According to Leo Soto, in charge of the penguins' welfare at the zoo, the birds must keep to a special diet consisting of imported fish found exclusively in cold waters.  He said he expects the six male and six female penguins to reproduce once they have adapted to their new surroundings.

Because the penguins are accustomed to six months of daylight and six of darkness, Soto said they will be accommodated for half the year in "colored illumination" that, to them, will "feel like there is no light."  

The penguins will be on show to the public throughout the year.

Through August 16 (the end of the school vacation period), the zoo will be open Monday through Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. During school time the zoo is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

The basic entrance fee to the zoo is 70 pesos for adults and 42 pesos for children aged 3-11.  Apart form the regular animal displays, this includes access to a bird and reptile show, the Villa Australiana, Reptile House, Tropical Jungle, Vet's Ranch, Breeding Area, Investigation Center and Monkeyland.

Additional attractions purchased separately include the Safari Park (42 pesos adults, 27 children), Aquarium, (42 and 27 pesos), the Sky Zoo panoramic cable car ride (43 pesos adults and children), and the Panoramic Train (37 pesos full ride, 21 pesos shorter ride).

The penguins and the above "extras" are included in the full "Diamond" package at 240 pesos for adults and 170 pesos for children.

Other packages that include general zoo entry and specific attractions are Premier (200 & 125 pesos), Sky Zoo (110 and 85 pesos), Tren (100 & 71 pesos) and Acuario (110 & 61 pesos).

The Gualadajara Zoo is at Paseo del Zoologico 600, just off the Calzada Independencia past the Periferico Norte in Colonia Huentitán el Alto, Call (33) 3674-4488 or check out www.zooguadalajara.com.mx for more information.