It will be another 105 °F hot summer day here in Saint Louis, but under the sea it is only 68 °F, also here in Saint Louis. Today, the Saint Louis Zoo opened to the public its newest exhibit, “Sea Lion Sound”. Instead of my usual dawn patrol, I slept in a little and Anne got up a little early too. The end result was that we launched together towards Forest Park, before the heat had set in. The timing was right, so halfway through our bicycle ride we stopped off at the zoo and visited the new sea-lion exhibit.
Daughter: I don’t want to go underwater.
Mom: You won’t actually be underwater.
This mom would have been closer to the truth if she had told her daughter that, “You will be underwater, but you won’t get wet. That sounds a lot cooler and it was a lot cooler, both from a temperature and style point of view.
People forget that the animals that they are viewing also have eyes and that they see them too. This is most apparent when a new exhibit is opened to the public. While the public, as expected, went wild over the opening of the new sea-lion exhibit, so did the sea-lions. They were checking us out just as much as we were checking them out.
Modeled after the Northwest’s Pacific coastline, this exhibit features eleven new sea-lions in a marvelous looking new pool that replaces the old sea-lion exhibit area. As pictured above there are multiple windows that allow underwater viewing, culminating in a 35′ underwater plexiglass tunnel, where the sea and the lions surround you. As I mentioned above, the water is ‘climate-controlled”. No more Saint louis summer bath water for these lions of the sea. Having a blanket of chilled sea water all around you keeps the viewing tunnel quite comfortable.
Seeing the sea-lion exhibit is free, as is most of the zoo. The Saint Louis Zoo is arguably, the second best zoo in the country, but we are still trying even harder. Adjoining the new sea-lion exhibit is an also new amphitheater for the zoo’s traditional sea-lion show. This show was once held up the hill, next to ‘Big Cat Country’, but has now moved, co-locating all sea-lion activities. The sea-lion show is ticketed and is $4.
A couple of final asides: I always enjoy seeing pictured a geeky bicyclists, in a non-bicycling venue. Especially, if I am that cyclist. Being the cultural capital of a landlocked state, Saint Louis has scored a win with “Sea-Lion Sound”.
Under the sea
Darling it’s better
Down where it’s wetter
Take it from me
Up on the shore they work all day
Out in the sun they slave away
While we devotin’
Full time to floatin’
Under the sea
– “Under the Sea” from
“The Little Mermaid”