I visited the “aquarium” with a few friends last month. After all, the aquarium webpage gives it glowing reviews and it sounds like such a wonderful place.
To begin with, we forked over our $2 donation each, and we didn’t get a receipt for our donation. How are we supposed to claim it on our taxes? Once in the seal area, we saw some pitiful seals that are confined in a cage. Wanting to go through the whole experience, we purchased some bags of fish. The bags were tiny—and, by the way, still no receipts. The seals were begging for the food.
A sign announces that those seals came from Marine World. So at least two of them and probably three are not rescues.
There are three females and one male. I asked if they mate and was told yes. What happens to the pups then? Do they get sold to other aquariums or do they replace the seals that die here? No answer.
Then we went into the fish “building.” It was pathetic. Giant eels that are the same length as their container were staring back at us blankly. The containers were small, and the whole place was dismal. To top it all, as we were leaving, we were requested to sign a petition to keep that place open. Really?
In summary, that place is outdated and a disgrace to Morro Bay. The whole traffic of seals is misleading and missing some pieces, you don’t get receipts for your “donations,” and obviously the place operates at an extremely low comfort level for the animals. It all points to one thing: That place is not a rescue and rehab center, it is a money-making business that squeezes all it can out of its prisoners.
Their 50-year lease is up in 2018, but the lease negotiations are starting now. I certainly hope that their lease does not get renewed, and that the so-called aquarium gets replaced by something a little more palatable, vibrant, and happy than what is there now.