It’s been a long time coming! Roo Valley is ready to open at The Cincinnati Zoo!
Roo Valley, the newest feature at the Cincinnati Zoo, will open to the public on August 18, 2020. The exhibit features the Zoo’s first-ever kangaroo walk-about and the largest outdoor Little Blue Penguin habitat.
Walk Amongst the Kangaroos at Roo Valley
Explore the 11,000+-square-foot Kangaroo Walk-About space with the 7 kangaroos that will hop along beside you. Yes, you’ll get up close and personal with these giant marsupials!
In this exhibit you’ll find both red kangaroos and western gray kangaroos. The Zoo currently has 4 grays and 3 reds. The space will eventually house 15 kangaroos in total.
Don’t expect to see any pockets in this exhibit – these kangaroos are all males.
The habitat itself has hills and valleys, sunny areas and spots with shade. You’ll see sand covered spots, some shallow puddles / pools of water, and lots of room to roam. Various plantings along the way provide treats and snacks for the grazing kangaroos.
“Our habitat designers worked with animal staff to better understand the needs and preferences of both species,” said Cincinnati Zoo director, Thane Maynard. “As a result, there are enrichment opportunities, such as nooks in the rock work where keepers can hide favorite foods, built in throughout both animal habitats. These features promote natural behaviors for overall optimal health and well being.”
The Little Blue Penguins of Roo Valley
The grand finale of Roo Valley is the exhibit for the Little Blue Penguins, the smallest species of penguins in the world.
The Cincinnati Zoo has the largest group of Little Blue Penguins outside of Australia. You’ve seen them in the Children’s Zoo for years – now you can get a much better look and watch them swimming in the underwater viewing area.
All 34 of the penguins enjoy their new habitat which includes more water features, heated rocks, and a sandy beach.
The Zoo reports that they’re learning all kinds of things about these Little Blue Penguins since the move. Through a sophisticated tracking system they have set up in the new habitat, they realized the penguins were spending a LOT of time swimming at night – something they couldn’t do in their old habitat. Now the Zoo can allow them to have be out and about, even at night, to enjoy their surroundings.
Another fun fact – the penguins have doubled the amount they eat each day since being in their new home. All that exercise makes them hungry! And in case you’re wondering, the Zoo feeds them fish: herring, silver sides, and small trout.
There’s More to Come!
Part of the kangaroo exhibit will have to open later due to social distancing restrictions- the Kanga Klimb Aerial Adventure Course.
You’ll be able to get a bird’s eye view of it all when you traverse the two-level ropes adventure course that sits more than 40 feet high in the treetops and features 40 different stations and challenges. The upper level is wheel chair and stroller accessible and is part of their Access for All program. They hope to open this part of the adventure next spring.
Sustainability at Work
Roo Valley is in the spot that used to be home to Wildlife Canyon (a WPA project circa 1940). In typical Cincinnati Zoo fashion, the Wildlife Canyon steel was removed and will be recycled. The former cloth coverings will be used for other projects. Anything that can be re-used will be, keeping as much out of the landfill as possible.
The water that flows through Roo Valley (and in the penguin pool) is 100% rainwater that’s being collected in 100K-gallon-capacity stormwater tanks and stored under the habitat. The Roo Valley exhibit collects rain water and cleans it. This clean water is then used in the exhibits, essentially cutting their water usage down to zero.
As you walk through the kangaroo side, you’re actually walking on a large geothermal well field. 300′ holes in the ground will capture the constant temperature of the Earth to help heat and cool the pool water in the buildings.
You’ll find more sustainability features above the penguins – lots of beautiful plantings and soil that will soak up and use the rain that falls upon the roof.
Want to check out Roo Valley for yourself? You will need to purchase your tickets online before you head to the zoo. Reserve your spot right here.
The Cincinnati Zoo is located at 3400 Vine Street, Cincinnati, Ohio 45220