Tulsa Natives “Dorsey” and “Briney” Return to the New Helmerich Sea Lion Cove

 The Tulsa Zoo is happy to announce their resident sea lions Dorsey and Briney are now back in Tulsa as construction on the new Helmerich Sea Lion Cove nears completion. The two sea lions have been at the Oklahoma City Zoo since September 2009 when the Tulsa Zoo began construction on the new $5 million exhibit

            The new Helmerich Sea Lion Cove is set to officially open March 2012, with a 100,000-gallon saltwater pool for the sea lions to splash around in and a demonstration area, sponsored by the Tulsa World and Lorton Family where they’ll show off some of their awesome maneuvers while guests watch in a shaded seating area. Even when the sea lions are splashing around their pool, sunning themselves on the ‘islands’ or playing around the exhibit’s waterfall, guests will be able to see the sea lions from every angle – from above on a upper-deck viewing area; on the water’s edge through three panes of specialized glass; and from below, through a concave 30 feet by 6½ three inch thick underwater viewing window, sponsored by the Hille Foundation, where guests can see the sea lions glide through the water.

            The exhibit also has some important updates behind the scenes, such as a state of the art holding and quarantine area complete with heaters and two indoor  pools. Additionally, there is a dedicated life support building that generates ozone for water purity, mixing tanks for salt to create saltwater and a computerized monitoring system of the Ph and chlorine levels, all to keep the saltwater pool perfectly balanced, all sponsored by Nadel and Gussman and the Adelson and Heyman Families.

            Helmerich Sea Lion Cove was built to accommodate a larger sea lion collection as well and the Tulsa Zoo has been working with other facilities and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to locate additional sea lions. It is a priority of zoo staff to find new sea lion companions to join Dorsey and Briney very soon in the new exhibit.

            The construction phase may be almost complete, but there is still much to be done by Tulsa Zoo staff to get the exhibit ready to make a big splash for its grand opening in March 2012. The sea lions must also get acclimated to their new home and acquainted with their new keepers before they are ready to make their big debut in March!