City of Albuquerque BioPark Zoo Penguin Chill

Albuquerque, New Mexico

14,550 GSF

The BioPark Zoo Penguin Chill is a cutting-edge penguin enclosure located in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The two-story exhibit features two floors for viewing penguins above and below the water, seven viewing areas, and penguin care rooms. The BioPark Zoo Penguin Chill also hosts a 75,589-gallon main tank, above-ground and underwater guest view areas, a large interactive educational area, and an outdoor deck overlooking the zoo’s main park. Alvine Engineering provided design services through design development of the life support systems for this facility.

Animals featured in the new facility include Macaroni, Gentoo, and King penguins.


  • Two 30-horsepower pumps circulate 2,000 gallons per minute of exhibit water through four horizontal sand filters to filter the entire exhibit pool once every 36.5 minutes. The pumps are operated via variable speed controllers to maintain the design flow rate using the least amount of energy possible.
  • Each of the four sand filters weighs over five and a half tons when operating. The filters, each with a cross-section of over 32 square feet, are laid out in two stacked pairs to conserve floor space in the life support equipment room.
  • To maintain a chilly 42°F, a titanium shell-and-tube heat exchanger rejects heat from the exhibit pool to the building’s 30°F low temperature chilled water loop.
  • The pool water is disinfected with ozone gas, a strong oxidant that kills pathogens and breaks down organic wastes without leaving residual chemicals in the exhibit water. The ozone gas is made on-site by first concentrating oxygen from ambient air and then converting that oxygen to ozone via a high-efficiency ozone generator.
  • A degassing tower strips excess gas from the ozonated exhibit water to prevent any unreacted ozone from reaching the exhibit pool and oxygen “micro-bubbles” from clouding the clear water.
  • A 3,000-gallon pool is separately filtered, disinfected, and chilled in the off-exhibit animal holding area. This pool ensures that the penguins always have access to clean, cold water even if the main exhibit pool is down for maintenance or cleaning.

Learn more about projects similar to the BioPark Zoo Penguin Chill by viewing our entertainment/performing arts portfolio.

Photography credit: Mattocreative, Inc.

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