Hours: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., Admission: $12 Adults, $7 Child.
Introducing Zoey: Blank Park Zoo's newest sea lion!
This is Zoey, Blank Park Zoo’s newest sea lion that we welcomed just a few months ago.
Zoey the sea lion
She’s not quite two years old and is really sweet. That photo was taken about a month ago when she went on exhibit for the first time. I wanted to capture more pictures of Zoey interacting with the other pinnipeds, so I met up with Keiko, the Zoo’s aquatics area supervisor. It was a very chilly, blustery morning, but it was like another day at the pool for the harbor seals and sea lions.
Seals and sea lions on exhibit on a chilly winter day.
Blank Park Zoo has three sea lions – Zoey, Dinghy (28) and Pupper (25). Dinghy is Pupper’s mother and Keiko says she has really taken to Zoey, appearing to protect and watch over her. It is really cute to see the way she seems to nurture her and swims alongside of her.
Zoey and Dinghy
The Zoo also has two harbor seals, Ross and Meru, who were rescued off the coast of British Columbia and brought to Blank Park Zoo a couple years ago. (Side note: Keiko traveled to Vancouver to pick up Ross and Meru and they traveled by FedEx to get here!) They will be three years old this summer.
Ross and Meru - Note: this cute picture was taken a few months ago
The seals and sea lions can be outside year-round – even when it snows a bit. During the winter months, we keep the water above 40 degrees to ensure their safety. We also keep it cool during the summer. When it is really cold, the keepers give the seals and sea lions access to their indoor holding area, so they have the choice whether to be indoors or out on exhibit. Typically, during extreme temperatures, the younger ones stay inside.
If you’ve visited the Zoo during the summer, you may have had the chance to see the seals and sea lions do their twice-daily training. Keiko said when it’s colder outside they do the animal training in the water. This prevents them from sticking to the cement deck and any training items. Make sure to catch a show sometime, it is a special treat! During the summer months, trainings are held at 11:30 am and 3:30 pm.
The seals and sea lions eat herring, capelin and squid – and they eat a lot more during the winter months to build up their blubber (fat) and keep them warm. Their fish is used as a reward during training sessions when they do a training behavior like jumps, salutes or speed swims.
Summer training session
When you visit the Zoo this winter (or spring break in just a couple weeks!) make sure to visit the seal and sea lion pool and say hi to Zoey!