Minnesota Zoo bidding farewell to its dolphins
Discovery Bay exhibit runs through Sept. 9
The Minnesota Zoo is inviting the public to come and say goodbye to its dolphins, which will be on exhibit through Sept. 9.
Regular dolphin training sessions will continue until the end of August, and from Sept. 1 to 9 the zoo is hosting a daily “Dolphin Open House” with special events for visitors.
The zoo’s two Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, Allie and Semo, will be available for viewing in the Dolphin Stadium during the open house, and guests can get their pictures taken with an image of Allie or Semo superimposed on a green screen. There also will be a giant card for guests to sign and wish the dolphins safe travels.
This fall, Allie and Semo will be moving to other accredited facilities, and joining larger social groups, to allow for major repairs to the zoo’s 15-year-old, saltwater-damaged Discovery Bay building. Repairs are expected to take at least a year, during which time the dolphin tank will remain empty.
Zoo officials have not disclosed the specifics of where Allie and Semo will be moving, which is standard practice during transportation of dolphins and other marine mammals to ensure the health and safety of the animals. After Allie and Semo have been moved, the zoo plans to provide details and status updates to the public.
The open house events next month will mark the end of the zoo’s popular dolphin program, which started in 1978, as Allie and Semo won’t be returning to the zoo after Discovery Bay reopens.
According to Minnesota Zoo officials, dolphins typically live in social groups, and the Minnesota Zoo would need several dolphins to create this type of setting in Discovery Bay. There are not enough dolphins available from other institutions to create a new, cohesive social group.
After repairs are completed at Discovery Bay, zoo officials say there will likely be a temporary exhibit of rays and fish until a larger exhibit can be funded and built.
More about the dolphin open house events is at www.mnzoo.org.