New sea lion exhibit & train ride at Wildlife World Zoo

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

LITCHFIELD PARK, Ariz. -- We might not have oceanfront property here in Arizona, but that doesn't mean we don't have sea creatures in our state!

Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park is pleased to announce the opening of its new sea lion exhibit.

The outdoor exhibit has a pool, public seating and viewing area for its three juvenile California Sea Lions. They're the only marine mammals in Arizona and the first sea lions on permanent display in the state in about 40 years.

The energetic sea lions can be seen daily at "Shipwreck Cove," a pirate ship themed display with upper deck and underwater viewing. The new pool brings the total volume of man-made salt water for the sea lions to approximately 100k gallons.

The exhibit allows visitors to attend an all-new demonstration featuring these acrobatic animals, two times daily.  For a small fee, a limited number of guests can even feed the animals during two scheduled feeding times.

With torpedo-shaped bodies, sea lions are incredibly acrobatic swimmers.  Their normal cruising speed is usually much less than their maximum speed bursts of up to about 20 MPH.  Using their front flippers for locomotion, sea lions have been observed diving to depths up to 900 feet and may hold their breath for several minutes at a time.

Sea Lions are highly intelligent animals known for their ability to learn complex voluntary husbandry and medical behaviors through operant conditioning principles based on the application of positive reinforcement. In fact, Wildlife World staff have already taught them how to use a platform scale to measure their body weights each morning as part of a comprehensive preventative health care husbandry program.  The new show explores and demonstrates ways in which the animals are learning to participate in their own care.

Like all marine mammals, sea lions are protected by the landmark legislation known as the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) first passed in 1972.  The MMPA makes it illegal to hunt or harass any marine mammal species found in US waters.  Sea Lions like many marine animals face an uncertain future due to ocean pollution, dwindling fish stocks, and competition with human activities. As part of our commitment to educating the public about these newest arrivals, Wildlife World is accredited by the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks & Aquariums, as well as, the Zoological Association of America.

In addition to the new Sea Lion habitat and show, Wildlife World recently welcomed a baby male giraffe and Brazilian tapir.  Both baby animals are now on public display.  A much larger addition, a three-year-old endangered white rhino arrived in late 2014, is now on public display.

Wildlife World Zoo is also offering a brand new train ride! The new train replaces on that had been at the park for more than 20 years.

"The train has always been so popular," says staffer Justine Reha. "For us to be able to redo the entire track and get a brand new train that has better seating, it was really amazing for us."

Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium is located at 16501 W. Northern Ave., Litchfield Park, AZ. We're open seven days a week, 365 days a year, including all holidays.

Zoo exhibits are open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (last zoo admission is at 5 p.m.) Aquarium exhibits are open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Daytime admission includes access to the zoo, aquarium and Safari Park.  Special reduced evening admission to Aquarium-Only is available after 5 p.m.

For more info: Call 623-935-WILD (9453) or visit www.Wildlifeworld.com