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African Experience Habitat

The African Experience

We've broken ground on the new African Experience - a brand-new exhibit space that continues the transformation of Franklin Park Zoo! This exciting new space is scheduled to open in April 2026.

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The exhibit will feature two integrated habitats, the new African Penguin Coast and an expanded African Savannah, home to ostriches, zebras, and more. Located at Franklin Park Zoo’s main entrance, together they will allow guests to connect with our conservation mission from the moment they enter our gates.

With your generous support, we're creating a state-of-the-art outdoor habitat for African penguins, complete with naturalistic landscapes, underwater viewing, and interactive educational displays. Conservation messaging will raise awareness about the importance of protecting African wildlife and the critical role we all play in preserving and maintaining healthy ecosystems

We invite you to learn more and support this incredible $16 million project!
There are a limited number of naming opportunities available. To learn more or discuss making a multi-year pledge, please contact the Development Office at 617-379-5190 or


Dive deeper into exhibit highlights:

A Greener Future

Conservation is the cornerstone of our mission and is integral to everything we do. This commitment to conservation is being built into the new African Penguin Coast project. Highlights include a living roof atop the penguin house, which will help to cool and insulate the building, and a geothermal system that will be installed to efficiently control the penguin pool water temperature year-round. These green energy measures will contribute to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85% by 2050.

Helping African Penguins Thrive

Since the beginning of the 20th century, African penguin populations have declined by approximately 90%. Currently, mitigating the negative impacts of climate change is critically important to the future survival of this endangered species. As global warming continues to shift the marine and atmospheric environments, African penguins are being affected by habitat loss and lack of prey availability.

As part of Zoo New England’s impactful and rapidly growing international field conservation program, we will join forces with other institutions accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, as well as partners in southern Africa, to help protect and recover African penguins.

Exploration and Discovery

The expansive African Penguin Coast habitat will include a glass-fronted view above and below the water of the exhibit pool so that guests can have a front-row seat to observe the natural behavior of these charismatic birds. Children will be invited to climb aboard a life-size penguin rescue boat replica where they will have hands-on opportunities to play and learn about how scientists are helping penguins survive and thrive in the wild.

Spotlight on Biodiversity

The new African Savannah, a multi-species habitat home to Hartmann’s mountain zebras, white-bearded wildebeests and ostriches, will undergo a transformation that will include dramatic expansion of the existing habitat and replacement of fencing with unobstructed viewing. The habitat will include a watering hole, an area where different species would naturally congregate and share this resource in the wild. The accompanying graphics will focus on the importance of healthy ecosystems and the critical role each of these species, as well as humans, plays within it.