Visitors interact with the Alaska SeaLife Center’s Rocky Coast Discovery Pool on May 28, 2021 in Seward, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Alaska SeaLife Center)

Visitors interact with the Alaska SeaLife Center’s Rocky Coast Discovery Pool on May 28, 2021 in Seward, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Alaska SeaLife Center)

SeaLife Center reports increase in visitors

The center is encouraging people to buy tickets online

The Alaska SeaLife Center is encouraging summer visitors to purchase admission tickets in advance in response to high visitation numbers last month. More than 1,700 people visited the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward on May 29, a 15-year high for the center, according to a press release from the center.

The release attributed the increase in patronage both to the beginning of tourism season and the opening of the Rocky Coast Discovery Pool. That exhibit, which had been in development since 2017, includes six pools and three feature tanks across 1,100 gallons of water.

Visitors of the SeaLife Center are still encouraged to follow COVID-19 mitigation protocols, requiring masks and managing their capacity. The release cited the safety of younger visitors, who may not be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine yet.

The SeaLife Center, which opened in 1998, is a private nonprofit and is home to animals like Steller sea lions, ringed seals, harlequin ducks, horned puffins, yelloweye rockfish, wolf-eels, moon jellies and red king crabs, among many others.

The center recently admitted to its Wildlife Response Program a newborn harbor seal pup that was found on land near Tonsina Creek Trail in Seward. The work of the center has recently been highlighted on NatGeo WILD’s show Alaska Animal Rescue, which follows first responders, veterinarians and animal caretakers from the SeaLife Center, the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center in Portage and the Alaska Raptor Center in Sitka. The show can be viewed on Disney+.

More information about the SeaLife Center and the Rocky Coast Discovery Pool can be found at alaskasealife.org. Tickets can also be purchased on the SeaLife Center’s website.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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