Snow Can Be Fun!

As parts of the East Coast brace for a crippling blizzard, it's fun to distract ourselves by thinking about fun to be had wading in a big pile of snow. Recently the trainers scooped up the white stuff and provided a bit of frosty enrichment for the seals and sea lions in the marine mammal center.

Take a look!


The Northern fur seals are perfectly adapted to life in the snow. Their wild habitat ranges from Northern California and up through the chilly climes of Alaska. That thick fur coat that keeps them warm! The California sea lions rely on a layer of blubber to keep them warm.

Even with their cozy cushion, the sea lions were reluctant to romp in the snow this time. But you can always count on the young'uns to have the most fun in the snow. Chiidax and Kitovi were definitely having blast!

Nothing like burying your face in the snow

More fun with snow:


Seal Smooches for a Happy 2016

When the calendar flips, the new year is often marked with a few kisses from dear friends and family. Since the seals and sea lions are part of our family, the trainers had to share a couple pictures of the smooches that rang in this new year!

Commander and Vanessa: Big seals give big "kisses"! 
For seals, a kiss means putting their face near or touching the face of a trainer. Not only is it fun, it also builds trust between the trainer and the seal and offers a mental challenge as a new skill for the seal to learn.

Take a look—and Happy New Year!

Kitovi gives Lindsay and the new baby a kiss
Patty and Chiidax
Lindsay with Lana and Amelia
Elias and Reggae
Jess and Ursula
Brother and sister smooch — Chacoda and Cayenne
Patty with Chacoda and Cayenne double kiss


No snow? No problem!

Some of the trainers were dreaming of a white Christmas. Unfortunately, 70 degree weather and snow don't mix, so we had to get creative. That's where the snow cone machine comes in! We had snowmen, bowls of snow with treats and snow showers.

The sea lions wanted in on the snow-making action. Watch!


Picture perfect

Trying to get that perfect shot of a young, curious fur seal can be a bit challenging at times. Chiidax, one of our 2 year old fur seals, is especially hard to catch on camera.  I have a TON of clear shots up his nose, but just a couple straight on.  Here are my 3 favorites...


I was proud it took only about 20 tries before I finally got one of him straight on!



Thanksgiving 2015 Cornucopia Fun Wrap Up

Some people still have to work on major holidays, but it can still be a really fun day if you're a seal trainer!  Even though the aquarium is closed to the public, the animals still need to be taken care of.
Starting bright and early, we clean and prep all the seals' diets for the day. 

Some have a tough time adjusting to the earlier than usual schedule... wakie wakie, Commander!

On Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, we operate on a shorter than usual staff and are so thankful for the dedicated volunteers who offer to come in and help us out. A HUGE thank you to those guys for helping our day run smooth. In fact, the day was so seamless, we were able to do some major holiday enrichment...

Introducing: The 2015 Cornucopia of Fun!

As you can see, we really went all out. For the health of the animals, we are always very careful about what we provide for the seals and sea lions during these enrichment activities. So we picked out a sampling of the seals' favorites (ice chips, jello, fish, squid and toys, to name a few!) and made a cornucopia for the fur seals, harbor seals and sea lions!

Thanksgiving staff: Marie, Vanessa, Lindsay

Superstar volunteers: Kyle B, Kyle D, Marissa

Zoe gets her nose in the toys in the marine mammal center

The fun wasn't only happening in the seal exhibits. In fact, doting aquarists and keepers spend holidays caring for the animals throughout the building. Here's a quick look at some of Thanksgivings past:

Hopefully everyone else had a great day as well! Happy Holidays!

— Lindsay and the all trainers