Hours: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., Admission: $11 Adults, $6 Child
Construction has started on new pinniped pool
Donate to help construction and be the first to swim in the new pool…
For Immediate Release
DES MOINES, Iowa (April 6, 2011) – Iowa’s Blank Park Zoo has begun construction on a new $1.2 million, 132,000 gallon pinniped pool. When completed, the new pool will feature public underwater viewing, increase the pool depth by 14 inches, add a shade structure that will benefit the seals and sea lions health and comfort, build a permanent bridge to the center island and reconfigure the center island for training demonstrations. The pool will also feature a nautical theme and have interactive animal and water conservation signage.
“The new pool will make a greater visitor experience and will help us increase our care for the seals and sea lions,” said Mark Vukovich, CEO of the Blank Park Zoo Foundation. “In order to make this possible, we are asking the public for donations.”
The nonprofit Zoo is promoting a fundraising initiative called, “Come Swim in our Pool!” Each person who donates to the capital campaign during the construction of the pool will be entered into a drawing to swim in the pool before the seals and sea lions. Five people will win the opportunity to enjoy a tropical pool party and swim a few laps in the pool. Additionally, anyone who makes a $2,500 or greater donation during construction automatically will also have the opportunity to swim in the pool. To enter, click here.
The new pool also will allow for additional animals to live at the Zoo. Two rescued and non-releasable harbor seals will move to Blank Park Zoo from Marine Mammal Rescue at the Vancouver Aquarium in Vancouver, Canada after the pool is open. The new pool will also allow for an animal breeding program to be instituted.
During construction, the animals are not on exhibit and are being cared for in an indoor holding quarters and have access to two pools. Zookeepers have increased the number of daily training activity sessions to help the animals through the changes.
The pool area has had a long history at the Zoo going back to the opening in May 1966. It originally was a ‘Monkey Island’ with the pool area serving as a moat. After the children’s zoo closed in 1982, the pool was converted to a sea lion pool with steel sides and in the early 1990’s was converted completely into a concrete structure. The current pool had major structural problems that required replacement.
The new pool is scheduled to be open by the end of July.
The Blank Park Zoo, Iowa’s WILDEST Adventure, is open every day this April, 10 am – 5pm. Winter Admission rates are $6.95 for adults, $2.95 for children under 12, and $4.95 for seniors and active military. Children two years and under and Blank Park Zoo members are free. The Zoo is located at 7401 SW 9th St., Des Moines, IA 50315. Visit the Zoo online at . The Zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) The AZA is America’s leading accrediting organization that sets rigorous, professional standards for zoos and aquariums. The AZA is building North America's largest wildlife conservation movement by engaging and inspiring the 143 million annual visitors to its member institutions and their communities to care about and take action to help protect wildlife.