New Africa Rocks penguin and shark pool marks a “first” for the San Diego Zoo

The San Diego Zoo has been home to hundreds of species of animals in its 101-year history. However, when 12 leopard sharks began moving into the all-new ELM-designed Africa Rocks (June 28, 2017), it marked the first time the Zoo has ever displayed sharks.

The 12 leopard sharks were introduced into their new 200,000-gallon seawater pool, where they met their new pool mates: 20 African penguins.

The Cape Fynbos penguin habitat in Africa Rocks features a cobblestone beach surface, penguin nesting areas and rockwork that mimics the granite boulders found at Boulders Beach in South Africa. The 70-foot-long and 10-foot-wide habitat includes a 200,000-gallon pool that stretches 170 feet, with depths up to 13 feet.

ELM's Seattle studio, ELM Environments, together with Miller Hull Partnership & Quince Farm Studios, designed the San Diego Zoo's 8.5-acre $68.3-million Africa Rocks project featuring this new shark and penguin habitat modeled after the Fynbos ecoregion located along the Western Cape of South Africa.