Designed in partnership with PGAV Destinations, Sea Lion Sound celebrates its fifth year of operation at the Saint Louis Zoo in 2017.
“At Sea Lion Sound, visitors will see our sea lions close-up. We believe this experience will build a new understanding of these highly adaptable, social creatures and the need for their conservation,” said Dr. Jeffrey P. Bonner, Dana Brown President and CEO of the Zoo at the opening of the exhibit.
The 1.5-acre habitat was inspired by the rugged Pacific Northwest Coast and opened as home to nine California sea lions and three harbor seals. It features the Enterprise Rent-A-Car Family Sea Lion Landing, complete with North America’s first underwater viewing tunnel for marine mammals. The Lichtenstein Sea Lion Arena is home to the First Bank Sea Lion Show, seating up to 840 Zoo guests per show to learn about the natural behaviors of sea lions on the Ann Lux Family Stage and within the 40,000-gallon see-through pool. The amphitheater also features a rock bridge, which extends out into the audience, a high-diving platform, and a slide. The Sea Lion Care Center, a separate space dedicated to providing advanced care and management for the animals, has provided special attention to all of the sea lions.
“The Saint Louis Zoo, an internationally-recognized institution, annually proves it is one of the most magnificent hallmarks in our region,” said PGAV Destinations Principal and Chair Mike Konzen. “We are honored to have worked with the talented and passionate team at our Zoo, which continues to help set worldwide industry standards.”
Over the last five years, Sea Lion Sound has been honored with numerous industry awards. First and foremost, the attraction was honored with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Significant Achievement Award, followed by the St. Louis Construction News and Review Regional Excellence Award in Entertainment and Recreation. In addition, Sea Lion Sound received the Quality Concrete Award from the Concrete Council and American Steel Fabrication as well as the Outstanding Achievement Award from the Industrial Fabrics Association International.
The $18m habitat was funded by the Zoo’s Living Promise Campaign, launched in mid-2010, which also funded additional new animal exhibits, enhanced the visitor experience, improved the Zoo’s infrastructure, and strengthened its endowment. Numerous individuals, corporations, and foundations pledged more than $120m total to the campaign.
For the last several decades, PGAV Destinations has partnered with the Saint Louis Zoo on numerous other habitats and attractions, including Fragile Forest, Penguin and Puffin Coast, Big Cat Country, and McDonnell Polar Bear Point.