Oregon Coast Aquarium Completes Remodel of Pinniped Exhibit

May 02, 2013

Newport, Oregon— The Oregon Coast Aquarium opened its remodeled Pinniped Exhibit with a ribbon cutting celebration on Saturday, April 27. The exhibit, home to the Aquarium’s Harbor seals and California sea lions, has new features that will benefit animals and guests alike.

Ken Lytwyn, Curator of Marine Mammals for the Aquarium explained, “We’ve opened it up for a much better visitor experience and it is much more keeper friendly.” The remodel created larger, flat platforms for the Aquarium’s mammalogists and animals to showcase training sessions.

People that saw the old exhibit will immediately notice the viewing areas that were doubled in size to enable approximately 100 additional people to see each feeding session. These expanded unobstructed viewpoints, coupled with an improved speaker system, will provide guests more opportunities to interact with the Aquarium’s pinnipeds and staff. Aquarium President/CEO Carrie Lewis explained, “We hope the changes to the exhibit will cultivate a connection between each guest and the Aquarium’s incredible animals and the marine environment they depend on.”

The haul-out areas within the exhibit were modified to be more ergonomic and additional long-term holding areas were built behind the scenes as a part of the project. The new off-exhibit facilities will provide more flexibility for animal care. The Aquarium’s Director of Animal Husbandry Jim Burke said, “These additions may provide new opportunities for animal acquisition and breeding in the future.”

Deliverables from the Pinniped Exhibit’s remodel include:

• Increase above water viewing area from 23 to 49 linear viewing feet.

• The number of individuals able to view marine mammal training sessions will increase from approximately 32 to 135.

• The viewing area will increase from 96 square feet to 404 square feet.

• Feeding and training sessions viewable to the public will increase from two to three times a day.

• Feeding presentations will increase from 10 minutes to 15 minutes.

• There will now be 25 additional minutes of interactive training sessions available to 341 additional people each day.

• Repair of approximately 420 square feet of rockwork within the exhibit.

• Improved haul-out area ergonomics for the animals.

The Pinniped Exhibit upgrades are part of a continued effort to enhance visitor experiences and provide the best possible habitat for the Aquarium’s animals. The Exhibit is dedicated to the memory of the late Dr. Steven Brown, who was the Aquarium’s veterinarian 20 years and an active board member.

The $500,000 project was funded, in part by a $250,000 Tourism Facilities matching grant from the City of Newport. In response to the challenge, Aquarium donors and members contributed the additional funds.

The Oregon Coast Aquarium is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization located in Newport on the beautiful Oregon Coast. Our mission is to inspire the public to better understand, cherish and conserve marine and coastal ecosystems. The Aquarium is a member of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums. It has been named one of the top 10 aquariums in the U.S. Visit us at 2820 S.E. Ferry Slip Rd., Newport, OR. www.aquarium.org, 541-867-3474. Follow us on Facebook.com/OregonCoastAquarium for the latest updates.

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