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"Pinniped Cove" Quick Facts


•  The exhibit is home to five harbor seals:  Ariel (age 31), Leila (33), Polly (34), Rasal (36) and Tillie (35). 

•  The exhibit holds 160,000 gallons of water, and is 22 feet deep at its deepest. 

•  It’s the largest aquatic display in The Maritime Aquarium’s 33-year history.  

•  “Pinniped Cove” is named for the scientific grouping pinnipedia that includes all seals, sea lions and walruses. The word pinniped means “fin- or flipper-footed.” 

•  The habitat is more than eight times larger than the seals' original 19,000-gallon exhibit, where they lived from 1988-2019.  

•  It’s also nearly 50 percent larger than The Maritime Aquarium’s popular 110,000-gallon, 18-foot-deep shark exhibit.  

•  The exhibit’s fabricated rock work is actually made from rebar covered with 700,000 pounds of concrete. First, the rebar structures were bent to fit in the rock-work shapes off-site by a company in Wisconsin. They were then cut into more than 50 numbered pieces, trucked to the Aquarium and re-assembled like a puzzle inside the exhibit. The skeletal structure was then sprayed with the concrete, and cut, treated and painted to look like rocks. 

•  Included into the concrete are the ashes of two of the Aquarium’s seals: Susie, who died in June 2016 at age 43; and Orange, who died in May 2018 at age 35. 

•  The exhibit has 432 square feet of underwater viewing windows. The largest window is 18x9 feet. All windows are 4-inch-thick pieces of acrylic. 

•  It takes 46,000 pounds of salt to give the 160,000 gallons of water the preferred salinity of 35 parts per thousand (ppt).

•  The Maritime Aquarium will vary the water temperature – from the mid-50s to mid-60s – to give the seals natural seasonal changes. 

•  Behind the scenes, the exhibit’s state-of-the-art life-support system cleans and sanitizes 2,400 gallons per minute, or all 160,000 gallons of the habitat every 66 minutes. 

•  The exhibit’s water-quality system contains 1,300 feet of piping. 

•  The exhibit’s “green” water-quality system employs 39 tons of recycled, specially processed beer and wine bottles for filtering out organic debris. Compared to the alternative use of sand, the advantages include: the recycled glass requires less water usage; it lasts longer than sand; and it doesn’t harbor harmful bacteria during the filtering process. 


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Posted by Brianne Faust at 3:30 PM
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Our Mission

Mission: The Maritime Aquarium inspires people of all ages to appreciate and protect the Long Island Sound ecosystem and the global environment through living exhibits, marine science, and environmental education.

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