Exciting New Sea Lion Encounter Program

Brooklyn, NY – Imagine getting kissed and hugged by a California sea lion! Well that’s now possible in a new program that the Wildlife Conservation Society’s New York Aquarium has just begun.

Go behind the scenes with our keepers and learn animal training techniques, help out in the kitchen and get a sea lion kiss. Your adventure begins with a 20-minute informational session. Here you will learn about the natural history of sea lions and the threats they face in the wild. We will also prepare you for your upcoming sea lion encounter.

Next, you will spend 40 minutes touring our feed room and learning about the expert care we give our marine mammals. You’ll get to pitch in as we thaw, weigh, and cut fish for the sea lions to eat. You’ll also learn the basics of animal training, and some techniques that you can use with your pets at home.

Finally, you will have a 20-minute meet-and-greet session with one of the New York Aquarium’s California sea lions. You’ll be able to pet the animal, and the session will be photographed. The sea lion will thank you with a kiss!

California Sea Lion Encounters take place 9:30–11:00 a.m. daily; participants must check in with their session facilitator in the Aquarium's main lobby by 9:00 a.m. Only one session is offered per day, and space is limited, so reserve well in advance for this fascinating program.

Sea Lion Encounters cost $200 per participant. Aquarium admission is not required and is not included in the price of the session; admission may be purchased online at a discounted price when purchasing your Sea Lion Encounter. Photos and DVDs may be purchased for an additional fee.

Policies and Procedures
  • Participants must be at least 7 years old.

  • Participants ages 7–16 must be accompanied by a paying adult participant.

  • Women who are pregnant may not participate in the program.

  • Participants must be able to take direction and speak in English.

  • Participants will be required to sign a release before the start of the program.

  • Personal photography is not permitted. Participants cannot wear earrings and must remove hats and sunglasses during the interactive portion of the program.

  • Closed-toe and closed-heel shoes with non-slip soles must be worn: no sandals, clogs, or flip-flops.

  • Bags and personal items must be stowed during the interactive program.

  • Participants will come into contact with saltwater and will get wet.

  • For the safety of our guests and our animals, participants are required to comply with basic hygiene procedures as directed by Aquarium staff. This will include the use of examination gloves (latex or latex-free), hand sanitizer, protective gloves, and a disinfection mat for shoes.

  • Participants with special needs should call 718-220-5103 to discuss accommodations before booking a session.


Sessions may be cancelled due to lack of participation or unforeseen animal conditions. If the Aquarium must cancel a session, participants will be offered a rescheduled session or a full refund. Participants wishing to cancel or reschedule a session must do so at least 48 hours in advance by calling 718-220-5103.


Visit our online store to reserve your sea lion encounter!

or call 718-220-5103.

Sea Lion Conservation

The Wildlife Conservation Society works to save sea lions in the wild. Our conservation work in South America has helped protect the California sea lion’s cousins – namely southern elephant seals, South American sea lions, and South American fur seals in coastal Argentina.

Photos available upon request.

Contact: Fran Hackett 718-265-3428

The New York Aquarium
opens every day of the year at 10am, and closing times vary seasonally. Admission is $13.00 for adults, $9.00 for children ages 3-12 and $10.00 for senior citizens (65 and older); children under 3 years of age are admitted free. Fridays after 3pm, admission is by suggested donation. The Aquarium is located on Surf Avenue at West 8th Street in Coney Island. For directions, information on public events and programs, and other Aquarium information, call 718-265-FISH or visit www.nyaquarium.com. Now is the perfect time to visit and show support for the New York Aquarium, Brooklyn’s most heavily attended attraction and a beloved part of the City of New York.

The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide. We do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world's largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change attitudes towards nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony. WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth.