I must say that when I first heard that they were re-doing the sea lion pool at the St. Louis Zoo I was rather distressed. It seemed perfect to me as it was, sandwiched between two walkways so that folk did not have to wait in line to see their antics and magnificent jumps, especially at feeding times, and their barks could be heard some distance throughout the zoo. And, indeed, the new exhibit does not quite recreate that seemingly seamless integration of exhibit into the zoo landscape. Here is a close up image from previous exhibit of sea lions sunning themselves.
What it may lack for me in terms of external appeal, however, it much more than makes up for in the new tunnel under part of the pool. One is immersed under shimmering water with sea lions racing all around one. I know other zoos and parks have had such exhibits before, but it truly is a wonder, and a joy to photograph, if a little tricky. The reflections of people can enhance a photograph, but also detract from one if they obscure a seal zooming by. So, needless to say, I will be back to give it several more shots. Here, though, is a first batch.
Finally, thinking of the name “sea lion,” I think whoever named them got this wrong. Sea lions are really rather more like dogs with their playfulness and energy–like fast, torpedo shaped dogs gamboling about the water. And here is a video which explains the new exhibit really well.