Disclosure: My children and I were given one-day park admissions to Lowry Park Zoo to experience the Sea Lion Splash! in exchange for my honest review. The opinions shared are my own.
Last Thursday for Bring Your Daughters and Sons to Work Day, my children tagged along with me to experience a day in the life of a mother runner blogger at Lowry Park Zoo and its limited-time exhibition, Sea Lion Splash! Like dutiful good little bloggers, Allana shared her experience on Instagram #SeaLionsTPA while Emmalynn took notes.
It had been years since my children and I last visited the Lowry Park Zoo; therefore we were beyond excited for the opportunity to explore the park again and experience an up-close encounter with four very special rescued sea lions.
As part of a three month long traveling exhibit, trainers Brad and Debbie Rose along their lovely assistant and daughter Camden, share their sea lions at multiple zoos and marine life centers. Once their tour is finished, they will return to Mote Marine Laboratory, a rescue center in Myakka.
The first pair of sea lions to slide onto the stage was Lilly and Poonki, who were rescued along the Californian coast. Weighing less than 50lbs, these pint-sized Patagonian pups demonstrated a great love for the water and their fans.
As the pair performed clever tricks, Trainer Brad educated the audience with a brief lesson about a sea lions’ diet and their physique. We also learned a touch of geography when the trainers shared that these talented and charismatic creatures can be found along the coasts of Mexico, Central and South America.
Following Lily and Poonki, Sea Lions Kitty and Stella made their grand entrance. Much like the warm-up act, Stella was once a small pup like Lily and Poonki, but presently weighs over 250 pounds.
As Trainer Brad, explained to the audience, “Kitty loves to be the star of the show and is always the center of attention” and with that, Kitty the Sea Lion performed a one flipper handstand while Stella clapped for her stage presence.
Sea Lion Splash! then quickly transformed into Dancing with the Starfish when Kitty and Stella showed off their best breakdancing dance moves.
The show ended with a lesson on conservation. Stella reminded us that the importance of recycling and keeping our shores clean to protect all marine life.
Although we risked the chance of smelling like sardines for the rest of the day, the kids and I bravely cuddled and posed for photos with Kitty and Stella after the show.
Just outside the sea lion auditorium sat a huge inflatable slide and bounce house and my children begged me to enjoy this corner of the zoo for a bit longer. Thought it’s also hard to drag my children out of a sandbox, I reminded we had the rest of Lowry Park Zoo to explore.
To wash off the sand, we hopped over to Wallaroo Station for the Billabong Water Play Area and to say “Good day!” to some wallabies.
Allana visited with the goats at the petting zoo while Liam and Emmalynn jumped on the rides geared for younger, smaller children.
Shortly after, we made our way to the carousel and the dropped by Gator Falls.
Since the Florida Boardwalk begins right under Gator Falls, my kids and I ambled through that exhibit next. The Florida Boardwalk offers guests a unique opportunity to observe and learn about many animals native to our area. Some, like the America Alligators, even live in our backyard.
Along the way, we met a few manatees and fed the stingrays, which was a great way to end our Lowry Park Zoo day.
From now until May 31, guests can experience Sea Lions Splash!, a limited-time educational exhibition for a small fee of $2 per person in addition to the one-day general Lowry Park Zoo admission. Show times happen daily at 10:45 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3:45 p.m. Visit www.lowryparkzoo.com to learn more.