Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is moving forward with the next phase of its master plan. Director Dennis Pate says the next project is the Owen Costal Shores, a new habitat for their sea lions. Pate says the exhibit will be placed at the former Bear Canyon area and it will resemble the Pacific Northwest. It will be a large exhibit that features a beach, a large underwater viewing area, heated and cooled water for the sea lions along with diving rocks and a beach area for pups.
Pate says, “There will be a 40 foot long window that will appear to be a sea cave for underwater viewing into the pool. It will have an island with conifers on it. There is seating for a demonstration area. It has a really nice entry with a long view looking across the exhibit. A nose-to-nose viewing area so you can literally get right next on the other side of a piece of glass to the animals.”
The $22.5 million project also includes wave chambers that create natural waves in the pool, a pupping beach that allows females to give birth on land and gradually introduce their pups to water. There is also a beach area for children to play.
Construction on the new Owen Coastal Shores will start this fall and it is expected to open in the spring of 2020.