The Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward will open a new touch pool exhibit this spring.
The Rocky Coast Discovery Pool is a 1,100 gallon exhibit and features six pools and three feature tanks. The exhibit has been in development since 2017 and will feature interactive designs. It was inspired by similar facilities nationwide, 20 of which were visited by SeaLife Center staff interested in learning more about latest designs, program opportunities and staffing efficiencies.
The center said in a press release that the biggest challenge in opening the new exhibit has been figuring out how to maneuver different elements of the exhibit into the second-floor space. Some of the new flooring, for example, was floated over the Alaska Marine Highway from Juneau to Whittier. It took four organizations to orchestrate the shipments of six tanks from California through Alaska’s Inside Passage, Caryn Fosnaugh, SeaLife Center operations director, said.
Financial contributors for the program began with an anonymous donation in 2017, which funded the creation of technical specifications and plans by an engineering firm the same year. Other donors have included ConocoPhillips Alaska, First National Bank Alaska, Petro Marine Services and Matson, among others.
The SeaLife Center, which opened in 1998, is a private nonprofit 501(c)(3) 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.
More information about the SeaLife Center and the Rocky Coast Discovery Pool can be found at alaskasealife.org.