Sea Lion Sound to open Saturday at St. Louis Zoo
Despite the extreme heat, a chorus of exclamations could be heard from the tunnel exit as Zoo members of all ages got to preview the exhibit on Friday.
Nine-year-old Seth Wilder enjoyed seeing the animals up close at the new sea lion exhibit. “I thought it was really cool,” he said.
Starting Saturday, sea lion feedings will occur daily at 10 a.m., 12 p.m., and 3:30 p.m. at the Enterprise Rent-a-Car Sea Lion Landing. California sea lions can eat up to 25 pounds of food a day, and when they swim through the water they can reach speeds of 25 miles per hour.
The exhibit houses 11 sea lions and one harbor seal. Originally the Zoo expected four harbor seals, but three died on their way to St. Louis earlier this month.
Five of the zoo’s sea lions are experienced stars and will return for the 2012 show season. During the shows, sea lion trainers use positive reinforcement to encourage classic tricks such as balancing a ball on a sea lion’s nose and waving hello to the audience in addition crowd-pleasing high dives and a slide down into the 39,000-gallon salt water tank.
“I thought it was awesome, especially when he [the sea lion] did that dive at the end,” 12-year-old Michael Rau said.
Sage Wilder, 10, agreed. "I liked it a lot," she said as she proudly clutched the frisbee she caught on a throw from one of the sea lions during the show.
Throughout the summer, sea lion shows will take place daily at 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 3 p.m. with an extra show at 5 p.m. on weekends and some holidays.