Archive: Explore Shackleton ‘Endurance’ Exhibit at the Detroit Zoo

March 2, 2016

ROYAL OAK, Mich., 

ROYAL OAK, Mich. – In anticipation of the opening of the Polk Penguin Conservation Center on April 18, the Detroit Zoo is featuring an exhibition recounting the legendary Antarctic explorer and expedition that provided inspiration for the facility’s design. “Sir Ernest Shackleton Endurance Expedition 1914-1917: Triumph Against All Odds” will be on display at the Wildlife Interpretive Gallery March 5 through September 7, 2016, and is free with Zoo admission.

Shackleton’s harrowing journey has been called the greatest survival story of all time – an 18-month struggle to lead his 28-man crew to safety after their ship, the Endurance, was crushed in the pack ice of Antarctica’s Weddell Sea. The exhibition features 150 photographs taken by Frank Hurley – a member of the ship’s crew – as well as haunting video clips and replications of artifacts from the expedition.

“This amazing collection of images, film and artifacts is a testament to the heroism, leadership and human endurance of Sir Ernest Shackleton,” said Ron Kagan, Detroit Zoological Society executive director and CEO.

Shackleton’s legendary expedition and crossing of the Drake Passage inspired many design elements of the Polk Penguin Conservation Center. The facility’s dramatic exterior resembles a tabular iceberg with a crevasse and waterfall. A 360-degree, 4-D visitor experience will include arctic blasts, waves and snow. The penguin center will have a video feature called projection mapping depicting iceberg calving – one of nature’s most dramatic visual spectacles where icebergs split, sending massive cascades of ice crashing into the sea.

The Polk Penguin Conservation Center will be the new home to the Detroit Zoo’s 83 king, rockhopper, macaroni and gentoo penguins. Its signature feature will be a 326,000-gallon, 25-foot-deep aquatic area where visitors can watch the birds swim and soar. Two acrylic underwater tunnels will provide views of the penguins above and below water. The facility is nearing completion on a 2-acre site at the Zoo’s entrance.