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


Who's Who: True Seal Edition

Since our Who's Who series about the fur seals and sea lions was so popular, here's another Who's Who blog, as requested! This time we are going to help you learn how to distinguish the true seals—the harbor seals—apart from one another.

Atlantic harbor seal (guess who!)

There are six Atlantic harbor seals in the exhibit in front of the Aquarium. They are part of a group of marine mammals called true seals, sometimes referred to as earless seals. Since the male harbor seals are the same size as the females, it makes it a bit harder to tell the two boys apart from the four girls.

First, let's start by identifying the two different families. There is Trumpet, her son Chacoda and daughter Cayenne. All three have very distinctive black spots on their bellies, necks and faces. Be sure not to lump Lana, the only seal not related to anyone in this exhibit, in with these guys; she has more of a dark grey freckled belly. Then, there are brother-and-sister pair, Reggae and Amelia—both have more of a creamier, non-spotted look to their bellies and chests.

Let's break this down a little more:

Amelia is the only seal with a belly that is totally spot free and cream colored. She has almond-shaped eyes and can be frequently seen taking a nap on the bottom of the exhibit in the shallow end in front of the rocks.

Her brother, Reggae, has grey patches on his belly and neck. He is the largest seal in this exhibit and has a square head with large round eyes. You can usually see him bottling (bobbing head-up in the water) in the shallow end of the exhibit and hanging on the pole in the corner.


Trumpet has a lighter coat with dispersed black, dash-like spots. She has these marks on her belly, chest, neck and both cheeks. She has narrow, almond-shaped eyes and swims more than rests.

Cayenne, compared to the others, is the smallest seal on exhibit. As well as being the most petite, she also has the boldest spots. These black spots are on her belly, chest and neck. She has large black freckles on her cheeks as well. She is most comfortable in the shallow end of the exhibit and will sometimes interact with visitors after hours through the glass.

Chacoda (or Chuck, as we call him), has a mottled black/grey/brown belly, chest, neck and face. He also has a square head like Reggae, but isn't as large. He has almond shaped eyes.

Lana used to have a belly that looked more like Reggae's, but just this past molting season, her new coat came in freckled!  Lana has a few age related bumps (lovingly referred to as her "old lady lumps") on her sides and hips. Not to worry- they have been checked out by vet staff and are not anything to be concerned about.  Lana has a narrow muzzle and is usually swimming around the entire exhibit.

Come test your skills identifying these marine mammals. Plan a visit to the Aquarium and get to know our endearing plaza ambassadors, the harbor seals.
— Lindsay