The stingrays at Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park are experiencing a new and improved environment this summer with major Stingray Bay renovations taking place over the winter season. A new underwater coating inside the exhibit and a roof structure rated to 150 mph winds are just two of several structural and aesthetic modifications.
“The permanent roof provides shade for our viewing guests and temperature control for the animals in the habitat,” says Allen McDowell, Gulfarium’s Curator of Fish and Invertebrates. “We also added ample amounts of substrate gravel in the bottom of the exhibit since a lot of these animals enjoy burying themselves in the sand.”
A newly landscaped deck area displaying unique dune vegetation surrounds the area designed for Stingray Bay Snorkel encounter guests. During the snorkel experience, participants enter the water with cownose rays, southern stingrays, bonnethead sharks, and white-spotted bamboo sharks.
“The encounter is safe for both guests and animals and is a unique way to gain an appreciation for the fascinating underwater adaptations that rays and sharks display,” says McDowell. “The barbs of the stingrays are trimmed regularly and these small species of sharks are bottom feeders so there is no reason to be nervous snorkeling with them.”
Another exciting addition comes in the form of six baby cownose rays, all born within the last month. Currently residing in a smaller exhibit adjacent to Stingray Bay, these adorable baby rays can be viewed by participants in the Discover Stingray and Stingray Bay Snorkel encounters.
Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park invites the public to enjoy the new and improved exhibit and take a turn snorkeling with stingrays and sharks! For additional information and encounter reservations, visit www.gulfarium.com.