Como Zoo’s Sparky the sea lion show is taking a break

Here's why there won't be a Sparky Show for more than a year.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

The Como Zoo’s famous Sparky is taking a break from show business.

The Sparky Show on Labor Day (Sept. 4) will be the last until 2019. That’s because the zoo is renovating Sparky’s home, Como said Monday. Sparky and the other sea lions and seals will still be at the zoo during construction, though.

A video tour (watch it below) details the plans for the new exhibit – and it looks pretty cool for both Sparky, her friends, and zoogoers.

The exhibit will feature two saltwater pools divided by a rocky area. The main training pool will have an infinity edge, so people sitting in the covered amphitheater can see all of the action. There will also be a place where people can get an underwater look at the animals swimming around in the main pool.

The second pool features a more secluded habitat for the seals and sea lions.

Near the exhibit there will be a new viewing plaza, restrooms and seating area with tables nearby, among other things.

This exhibit isn’t just good for seeing Sparky and the other pinnipeds (the word for fin-footed mammals, like sea lions and seals), but it’s good for the animals themselves. The zoo says the year-round indoor/outdoor “world-class” exhibit will “meet or exceed” all regulatory and animal management requirements.

One of the most important features of this revamped exhibit is the focus on training. The zoo says it will allow for more “operant conditioning training” of the seals and sea lions, ensure zookeepers have more time to give individual attention to the animals, and create more opportunities to observe the animals’ behaviors and provide better care.

“As with recent renovations at Como, it’s not about getting bigger it’s about doing what we do better,” Michelle Furrer, Como’s Campus Manager, said in a news release. “We want to ensure that, for generations to come, Sparky will be an ambassador for conservation and education. In order to do this, updates are needed.”

The final Sparky Show until the new exhibit opens in 2019 will be at 3 p.m. on Labor Day.

Next Up

Kevin Fiala

Minnesota Wild have 3 possible playoff scenarios

Colorado controls its destiny, and that plays a big role in Minnesota's fate.

Screen Shot 2021-05-11 at 7.54.49 AM

Minnesotans arrested after 100 mph police chase in Nebraska

The pair were arrested for driving and drug offenses.

orono high school

Swastika painted on rock at Orono High School

The rock was repainted "within minutes," the superintendent said.

covid, vaccine

Walz: COVID-19 vaccines for young teens expected to open this week

Gov. Walz said parents should be able to make appointments for their kids later this week.

Both Gach

Report: Both Gach becomes 10th Gopher to enter transfer portal

Head coach Ben Johnson will have an entirely new roster next season.

Wikimedia Commons - COVID vaccine, pfizer, shot - Martin G

FDA authorizes Pfizer COVID vaccine for young teens

None of the trial participants that received the vaccine were diagnosed with the virus.

flickr - shopping basket covid

Secret shoppers rate the most COVID-safe stores

Two of Minnesota's largest companies topped the list.

Minneapolis police

Woman found shot dead in Minneapolis parking ramp identified

Police have arrested two suspects in connection with the incident.

ambulance, crash

Victims of triple-fatal Maple Grove crash ID'd as woman, 2 toddlers

The single-vehicle crash happened just before 7 a.m. Saturday, May 8.

Ray McNeary

Charges: St. Cloud bank robber wanted to 'go viral,' become 'a martyr'

Police were in a standoff with him at the Wells Fargo bank for more than 8 hours.

MSU-Mankato hockey, Minnesota State, Mavericks

Minnesota State to host St. Thomas at Hockey Day Minnesota 2022

The newly-formed CCHA will have a marquee matchup in its inaugural season

rocky taconite-silver bay

Six of the weirdest roadside attractions in Minnesota

From a two-story outhouse to a squad car's crash with a UFO, here's a list of some of the state's weirdest attractions.

Related

polar bear 2

Video: Como Zoo welcomes new polar bear named Nan

The 26-year-old bear was found orphaned under a home in Alaska.

Como Zoo welcomes a new baby gorilla to its troop

The mother, Alice, lost her previous child just days after the birth.

Como Zoo hopes its 2 new snow leopards will have babies by next year

These cats are critical to the survival of snow leopards.

Como Zoo hopes its 2 new snow leopards will have babies by next year

These cats are critical to the survival of snow leopards.

Video: Sea lion grabs girl and pulls her into the water

Officials are calling the behavior of the girl and her family "reckless."

como zoo conservatory

Conservatory at the Como Zoo is reopening on Monday

Face coverings and advanced (free) reservations are required.