If you have visited the Aquarium recently, you may have noticed some newly reopened exhibits, like our beautifully reimagined Chesapeake Bay Aquarium. Soon, you will also find some new renovations underway, and we're excited to share them with you.
One of our most visible and iconic areas, the harbor seal exhibit, will receive some special attention in early April 2018, as we renovate the seal pool and acrylic panes. While it will not change the look of the exhibit itself, the renovations will include painting the pool bottom, resealing the pool, and polishing the acrylic for better viewing opportunities.
During these renovations, the seals will be making a trip to Florida. All four boys will head to Fort Walton Beach, where they will stay until completion of their exhibit renovations. This is the same Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums (AMMPA)-accredited facility that helped us in the past, and our animal care team is happy to work with them again.
To make the trip and stay just a little more comfortable and familiar for our seals, we are also sending some Virginia Aquarium staff members to stay with them for the duration of the renovations. The animal care staff will temporarily relocate to Florida with the seals to maintain continuity of behavioral training and ensure that our seals receive the exceptional care they are used to. Additionally, our staff veterinarian and our Director of Husbandry will oversee and be directly involved in each step of the process, including travel down and from to the seals' temporary home.
While it will be difficult to say goodbye to the seals, even for a few short months, we're looking forward to welcoming them home when we reopen the harbor seals exhibit in mid-June 2018!
As you walk through the Aquarium in the coming months, you will also find exciting changes happening inside the building. These changes include renovations to the Bay & Ocean Pavilion bathrooms in the lobby area and a complete redesign of our existing Café. We anticipate work starting on these projects in April 2018 with completion of the Café in May 2018 and the renovated restrooms opening in mid-June 2018.
The restrooms will include new energy efficient and water efficient fixtures, as well as low-flow toilets aimed at reducing our carbon footprint. The all-new Café concept will bring an improved flow to ordering and paying for your meals – and a revamped menu!
There is a lot happening, and we're excited to unveil these updates, but we know that it will change how you experience the Aquarium for a few months. During that time, we ask that you pardon our bubbles and check out some of our daily programs and animal feedings happening throughout your visit, regardless of which day or time you choose to come.