The previous Seal Pool, built in 1969, was in serious need of upgrading to improve the appearance and function of the exhibit, enhance public viewing and provide full accessibility, improve animal management facilities, and satisfy U.S.D.A. regulations. A new saltwater filtration system and a mechanical system to heat and cool the water to maintain temperatures consistent with the animals’ natural environment was incorporated into the exhibit. The existing artificial rockwork was removed or concealed with new rockwork reminiscent of the Pacific Northwest that created large beach areas, tall rock outcropping and cliﬀs, and contoured underwater areas including a cave for the animals to swim through.
The current underwater viewing area was upgraded to be an enclosed and conditioned space, with the former small porthole-type windows replaced with a continuous 70’ expanse of glass. Ramps were rebuilt so that the area is now completely accessible. The amphitheater seating to the south was reconfigured to feature accessible overlook areas, and access from the north via a system of pathways that lead through a coniferous forest, again suggesting the character of the Pacific Northwest.
Animal facilities include a holding area that contains a pool that can be completely isolated from the main pool filtration system during animal quarantine conditions; a keeper work area for maintaining animal records; a food preparation kitchen with a built-in cooler for holding food; and toilet and storage areas. New site amenities including benches, tables, shaded seating/eating areas, and site lighting were added and landscaping was upgraded.