Adventure Aquarium bids “Bon Voyage” to our seals

Adventure Aquarium’s leadership team has announced plans to renovate our existing outdoor space to make way for an expansive new penguin exhibit. The new exhibit, which will take up a much larger footprint than the existing outdoor “Penguin Island,” is expected to be the largest renovation since we first opened our doors in 2005. As an integral first-step in the planning process, we will be relocating our existing seal colony to a brand new, state-of-the-art seal and sea lion exhibit at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park, in Washington, DC this fall.

“We are reassured to know that our seals will stay together as a colony as they travel to this brand new Seal and Sea Lion exhibit,” said Kevin Keppel, Adventure Aquarium’s Executive Director. “In fact, for two of our Grey Seals, Kara and Kjya, this trip will bring them full-circle, as both were originally born at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park.”

Keppel continued, “We are also genuinely excited about the future of outdoor exhibitry here at Adventure Aquarium and hope to make a formal announcement about our plans within the next 12 months.”

Seal Shores is one of two outdoor exhibits currently featured at Adventure Aquarium. The exhibit, a 170,000-gallon outdoor salt water exhibit initially constructed by the New Jersey State Aquarium in 1992, currently houses two Harbor Seals and three Gray Seals. In preparation for the move, Adventure Aquarium’s Husbandry team is working closely with their counterparts at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park to prepare for the seals’ departure, which is scheduled to take place this fall. A team of Adventure Aquarium husbandry staff will also accompany the seals on their journey to Washington to ensure the transition goes smoothly and to help the seals acclimate to their new surroundings.

Opened to the public on September 1st, American Trail is the Smithsonian National Zoological Park’s newest exhibit area, where visitors can explore and marvel at the biodiversity of the Americas. The largest exhibit on American Trail is the stunning Seal and Sea Lion Exhibit, where both seals and sea lions live and frolic in two enormous state-of-the-art pools that mimic natural coastal waters. A wave machine keeps the water in constant motion, like the ocean, and provides sensory stimulation for the animals.

“Our animal care team is not only grateful but thrilled to work with the professionals at Adventure Aquarium on transitioning the seals to their new home in the nation’s capital,” said Don Moore, head of animal care sciences for the Smithsonian National Zoological Park. “The seals will add another magical touch to our newly opened American Trail exhibit and delight millions of visitors each year.”

From September 17 through September 30, Adventure Aquarium is inviting the public to wish the seals well as they begin their exciting new adventure in Washington. During this time, Aquarium staff will offer increased seal programming, including shows and special enrichment or training sessions that allow guests the opportunity to speak with biologists to learn more about the seals and their upcoming journey. Guests will also be encouraged to sign a “Bon Voyage” card, which will accompany the seals as they travel to their new home. The exhibit will officially close to the public on October 1st, 2012.

To learn more about public opportunities to say “farewell” to the seals now through September 30th, call (856) 365-3300 or visit our Event Page.

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