Visitor Information

Rock Island Penguin Habitat


imgresMARYLAND ZOO- “One of the top ten behind-the-scenes tours in America”

Please note: Behind-the-scenes tours at Rock Island will end September 1, 2014 in preparation for the opening of the new Penguin Coast exhibit. 

Behind-the-Scenes experiences are private, specially designed tours and are scheduled personally for you. These unique up close encounters are planned and coordinated with each individual group in mind.

Rock Island is home to the largest colony of African penguins in North America. The colony was started in 1967 and houses between 50 and 60 birds at any one time. The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore has raised more than 800 chicks over the years and plays a large role in the African Penguin Species Survival Plan (SSP). The tour includes a trip into Rock Island including the kitchen and food preparation area, hospital room, chick rearing area, and the nesting room. Keepers will explain how the penguins are cared for and the extensive records system. They will also discuss penguins in the wild and the efforts currently underway to conserve them.


Special Instructions: The interior of Rock Island is accessed through a long, narrow tunnel which may be difficult for some people to walk through; unfortunately, we can not accommodate wheelchairs in this area.

A Truly Wild Gift

Behind-the-Scenes Tours aren’t just amazing up close encounters with wildlife, but they’re also one-of-a-kind gifts.  Share this unique encounter with the animal lover in your life.  Each Behind-the-Scenes Tour can be gifted to your special someone by purchasing a gift certificate in advance.  Simply click the ‘gift certificate’ link below and pre-purchase a Rock Island experience that will leave lasting memories for years to come.  Once the recipient has received their gift certificate, a member of our group sales staff will be happy to coordinate with them to schedule their Behind-the-Scenes experience. Gift certificates are valid for one year from the date of purchase.

Purchase a Rock Island Gift Certificate

For questions regarding Behind-the-Scenes Tours or to schedule your experience, please click here or contact the Group Sales Office.

Click to learn more about our other Behind-the-Scenes Tours:

Giraffehouse rhinobarn polarbearwatch

Presidentstour  Elaphant