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Mark your calendars for Sunday, June 7th, 2020! Join us for a fun day of golfing, prizes and giving as we host our 2nd Annual Putting Fore! Pinnipeds Charity Golf Outing at Ironwood Golf Course! Proceeds will benefit conservation efforts for various pinniped species including harbor seals and California sea lions! Your participation directly contributes to Ocean Connections education, conservation and animal care programs. Learn more or register today by clicking here. Unable to attend but looking to get involved?  Make a donation! Any contribution automatically enters you in a drawing to win a backpack, a water bottle, and a four pack of show tickets good for the 2020 season!
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Criteria for submission Your design should include the name of our event: Ocean Connections Sea Lion Shuffle. It can feature a single species of sea lion, or multiple species — you choose! There is no limit to the number of entries per entrant during the entry period. Entrants must be 18 years of age or older or, if younger than 18, have the permission of a parent or guardian to enter the contest. Ocean Connections staff are not eligible to enter. Submissions must be your original artwork only. Designs should be against a white or transparent background and can contain up to 8 colors. The color of the final t-shirt will be determined based on the winning design. Dimensions of the design should be at least 10” x 10”. If your submission needs to be reproduced to ensure the highest quality of printing, we will do our best to recreate the most accurate design. How to submit your design T-shirt designs must be received by 11:59PM CT on Friday June 26th, 2020. Design entries should be sent via email to brittany@oceanconnections.org — please use “T-Shirt Design Contest” as your subject line. Designs should be in one of the following formats: JPEG, PSD, or PDF. Please send the highest-resolution files you can. Once submitted, all designs become the property of Ocean Connections, and the entrant agrees to grant exclusive use to the Ocean Connections. Ocean Connections has exclusive rights to reproduce and use any and all entries into the t-shirt contest. Entries become the property of Ocean Connections and none will be returned or acknowledged except as provided herein. The contest winner will receive a gift package or a private Aquatic Adventure. If you win, you will be notified via email, and it will be posted online on the Ocean Connections website, as well as its social media accounts. Any questions should be sent to Brittany Waryjas: brittany@oceanconnections.org Deadlines June 15, 2020 – contest begins June 26, 2020 – final day to submit art June 27, 2020 – selection of top three submissions; online voting begins June 29, 2020 – voting ends June 30, 2020 – winner revealed Official T-shirt Sponsor   << GO BACK TO EVENTS
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This year is proving to be a struggle, yet again, for California sea lion pups out in the wild. From January to Late-April 2015 alone, 2,700 pups stranded themselves along the California coast spanning from Santa Barbara to San Diego. This record breaking number is 20 times the average number of strandings and has already exceeded the total number of pups stranded in 2013 and in 2014, and we expect to continue to see stranding through the beginning of June. Stranding centers, such as the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, CA. are taking in as many pups as possible in hopes of rehabilitating them and releasing them back to the wild. The pups are coming into the centers extremely dehydrated, malnourished and most of them are extremely underweight for their age. The rescue centers are working around the clock to hydrate these animals and get them to the point where they are eating fish on their own. Once a pup has gained enough weight and appears to have no other medical conditions, it is released back to the ocean. Due to this dangerously high number of strandings, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has officially declared an Unusual Mortality Event (UME).  A UME was also declared in 2013, when a total of almost 1,300 stranding occured. The Maine Mammal Protection Act, established in 1972, states that a UME is “a stranding that is unexpected; involves a significant die-off of any marine mammal population; and demands immediate response.” Due to the increasing amounts of UMEs over the past several years, efforts to study carcasses and live stranded animals have increased dramatically. Through studying these strandings, researchers and facilities are able to gain a better understanding of pollution threats and stressors, as well as over all ocean health. These stranding are believed to be caused due to warming ocean temperatures.  The increase in water temperature results in prey fish having to move to deeper colder waters, which means mothers have to go deeper into the ocean for longer periods of time.  It also means that the mothers may not be producing enough milk for their pups.  Pups are of weaning age between 8 and 12 months, which is when they would typically begin  to prey on small bait fish. The pups who are not receiving the proper nutrition from their mothers, are trying to wean too soon; however,  they do not have the skill set needed to catch fish nor is the fish they would be able to eat present in large enough quantities to properly nourish the pups. The Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums (AMMPA) is coordinating a support system of accredited facilities for the current UME and future UMEs. AMMPA is developing the ability to be a resource of communities the are able to react and respond to UMEs in order to assist with animal rescue, rehabilitation, release, and research when the need arises.  Ocean Connections is not only working to raise funds to help rehabilitate these pups, but we will also be sending some of our staff down to assist in caring for the hundreds of animals continuing to strand. Sources Marine Mammal Center: www.marinemammalcenter.org   National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA): www.noaa.gov   National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) www.nmfs.noaa.gov Images provided by the National Marine Mammal Foundation www.nmmf.org  
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7/10/13 Let the Adventures Begin! After gaining comfort in our 6-foot holding pools, Talise has ventured into a new and exciting place - the main pool!! This vast 18-foot deep pool provides Talise with lots of opportunity for adventure! Click here to learn about her first adventures in the pool! 5/29/13 Swimming Time! Talise is growing quickly!  This past week she has reached the milestone of learning to swim in one of our pools!  Click here to follow her story! 4/30/13 Talise's Debut! Ben Lorber from WISN-TV Channel 12 came out to to showcase Ocean's of Fun newest family member, Talise!  We can't thank him enough for capturing such precious moments of Talise's first weeks!  Click here to check out his wonderful slideshow! 4/28/13 Colby is 10 Months Old! Colby's training is well underway!  Check out how fast he is learning! 4/26/13 Colby in the Spotlight! Thanks to Ben Lorber from WISN-TV Channel 12 for coming out and following Colby's progress during his first year of life!  Check out his slideshow and see highlights of Ben's Visit! 4/19/13 IT'S A GIRL!! On Wednesday April 17, 2013 at 12:06am, Sonoma gave birth to our brand new female sea lion pup!  Check out how this little munchkin is doing! 4/10/13 Spring Registration Special Receive 15% off all program reservations made from April 11th through April 18th!  To learn more about our programs and to make your reservation today, click here! 4/5/13 Colby's Formal Training has Begun! It's official! Colby's formal training has begun!  Check out what the first steps are in training a young sea lion! 3/16/13 Early Bird Camp Registration Special Extended! Back by popular demand, we are extending out Early Bird Camp Registration special, allowing you to recieve 20% off all camp registrations!  This special is running now through March 24th!  Don't miss out on these amazing savings and make your reservation today!! 3/6/13 Early Bird Camp Special Take advantage of our Early Bird Camp Special and recieve 20% off all camp registrations made from March 5th through March 15th!  Make your camp reservation today! 2/21/13 Colby is 8 months Old! Colby is now eating fish like a big boy! Check out how his trainer's made fish fun! 2/13/13 Still trying to find that perfect Valentine's Day present for that special someone?  Well book your reservation today for our Aquatic Adventure program and receive 20% off through February 17th! This program will allow you to enter our animals environment where you will have hands on interactions with these amazing animals.  You may even get sea lion kiss!  What more could you ask for?  Learn more here!   2/4/13 Seals, Sea Lions, and snow fun!  Check out our Februaruy Newsletter to see what our flippered friends are up to this winter!  If you want to stay up to date on our latest news, subscribe to our Fan Club and receive program specials and the most recent newsletter! 1/27/13 Colby is 7 months old! Colby is growing in leaps and bounds!  Check out what our little tyke is learning this month! 1/10/13 Have you always wanted to be an animal trainer? Now’s your chance! Join us at Ocean Connections for the experience of a lifetime in our Job Shadow program. Learn to feed, train, and care for our flippered friends in this private interactive program. Book today and receive 20% off all Job Shadow programs! Learn more now!   12/31/12 Colby is 6 months old! Check out our littlest star as he learns, plays and grows at Ocean Connections! 11/5/12 Punta San Juan Journal is Live! Follow along next week as Ocean Connections president, Shelley Ballmann, journals about her travels and provides updates on the pinniped conservation project of Punta San Juan! Read more and follow along here. 10/15/12 Colby is 4 months old! Colby is making new friends everyday! Learn more about Colby's newest adventures at Ocean Connections! 9/11/12 Colby is 12 weeks old! Learn more about what life is like, growing up sea lion! 8/1/12 Swimming Lessons Have Begun! Colby has started swimming in our holding pools! Check out his progress with our newest post about this cuddly little star! Swimming Lessons 7/15/12 Pup Pool Time! Colby is having a blast playing in his swimming pool! Check out the newest photos of Colby having  splashing good time!   Pool Time 7/6/12 New Photos of Colby! News reporters stopped by this week to meet Colby and take photos of the little guy playing with his toys and trainers. Check out his playful antics in his newest slideshow! New Pup Photos 6/27/12 Colby's Debut on RealMilwaukee! Tony from RealMilwaukee stopped by Ocean Connections to visit Slick and to meet Colby, our newest sea lion pup on Tuesday June 26. Learn more about Tony's adventures with the animals of Ocean Connections in the following videos. Learn more! 6/21/12 Help us welcome our new addition! Makaia gave birth to a healthy sea lion pup at 8:02 pm on Wednesday June 21, 2012. Follow along with mom and pup's progress as our littlest star learns what sea lion life is all about.  Learn more!     3/13/12 Fox 6 News: Tony has Ocean Connections with the sea lions at the Milwaukee Co. Zoo Tony from Real Milwaukee stopped by to meet our new additions to the Ocean Connections family! Learn more about our new friends Bumper, Abby and Sonoma and our new summer programs in the following videos. You won't want to miss you chance to get up close and personal with these stars! Learn more!   2/11/12 Meet Bumper! This winter we welcomed a new member to our pinniped family! In late January, Bumper, a 2 year old male Atlantic harbor seal joined Ocean Connections from Long Island Aquarium in New York. Being a juvenile, Bumper weighs in at 130 pounds. When full grown, male harbor seals reach weights of approximately 300 pounds and lengths of 6 feet. This little guy sure has some growing to do! For photos and news updates about Bumper’s transition to life at Ocean Connections, be sure to follow us on Facebook! Read the latest update >  Older Articles - 2/5/12 11/22/11 Meet our New Additions Ocean Connections works collaboratively with fellow zoos and aquariums in establishing breeding loans to diversify genetics within populations and ensure success in future generations. Our most recent collaboration unites the Chicago Zoological Society and Ocean Connections as two new california sea lions have recently joined our collection. Meet Abby and Sonoma our newest family members! Read the latest update > Older Articles - 10/27/11 |  10/20/11 | 10/11/11 | 10/07/11 10/21/11 Ocean Connections is recognized and received Accreditation at the 2011 International Marine Animal Trainer Association conference for having satisfied the qualitative evaluation for professional standards of the IMATA Trainer Development Program. Ocean Connections president, Shelley Ballmann proudly accepts a plaque in recognition of our program. 10/06/11 Let's GO Brew Crew!!! In true Wisconsin team spirit the seals and sea lions at Ocean Connections are doing their part with a little "pool gating" to cheer on our Brewers! Come cheer with them by making a program reservation before our season ends! Make your reservation now! 08/11/11 Want to keep up on what's new at Ocean Connections? Read all about our specials, program highlights, featured animals, conservation tips, and how you can sponsor a seal or sea lion in our Quarterly Newsletter. 07/1/11 Fox 6 News: Tony has Ocean Connections with the sea lions at the Milwaukee Co. Zoo   06/21/11 Aqua Kids visit Ocean Connections! Aqua Kids is an award-winning children's program dedicated to educating young people about the importance of protecting marine environments and the animals that live there. Aqua Kids motivates young people to take an active role in preserving aquatic environments and wildlife, by showing how other kids just like them can do the same. Read more > 06/20/11 Happy Birthday Sport!!! Ocean Connections proudly celebrates the 30th Birthday of Sport our female California Sea lion this year. Sport is one of three , and the last surviving california sea lion which began with Ocean Connections in 1991 at the Milwaukee County Zoo. Life expectancy for california sea lions averages 6-10 years in the wild, however thanks to the quality of care marine mammals receive in zoos and aquariums today we expect to easily double their natural life span. Read more > 11/15/10 Want to keep up on what's new at Ocean Connections? Read all about our specials, program highlights, featured animals, conservation tips, and how you can sponsor a seal or sea lion in our Quarterly Newsletter. OCEAN CONNECTIONS’S “GREEN LIVING EXHIBIT” RAISES FUNDS FOR GULF OIL SPILL Green Living area continues to raise funds for the animals effected by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill this past April. To date $1,825 has been raised to assist in the rehabilitation of effected animals and donated to the Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge (Florida) and the Oiled Wildlife Rehabilitation Center (LA). Ocean Connections will be accepting donations at our Green Living Center through October 3, 2010. Stop by to learn how you can help!   08/04/10 Check out some live footage of Sequoia from a recent interview by Kidd O'Shea at 99.1 WMYX. Click here to view it on 12 News. 06/28/10 The Zoological Society of Milwaukee wrote a great piece about our new pup, Sequoia. Click here to read it! THIS JUST IN: Ocean Connections is extremely proud to have been accepted into the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums which represents the highest standards of marine mammal care and husbandry within our industry.    
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“Green” Ideas What does going “green” mean? Going “green” is simply making eco-friendly choices in the products we purchase and the food we consume for a healthier lifestyle. Pack lunches in reusable, PVC-free lunch containers and try to pack healthy waste-free snacks like fruits and vegetables.   Use cold water to wash your clothes. It takes a lot of energy to heat water needed to do a load of laundry. Pay attention to packaging. Bring reusable bags when you go shopping and choose products with less packaging. During the heating season, open your curtains during the day to let sunlight in. In the evening, close your curtains to retain heat and reduce the chill from cold windows. Change regular light bulbs for more energy efficient fluorescent light bulbs.If each American changed out just 5 bulbs we would keep more than 1 trillion pounds of green house gases out of the air. That is equalto $6 billion in energy savings.   Leave no trace. It’s important to leave the environment as you found it or in a more pristine state than what you encounter. Be sure to dispose of your waste properly when out on a hike, exploring in a forest or walking along the beach. Better yet, lend a hand and pick up stray litter to help protect wildlife.   Keep your distance. Always view wildlife from a safe distance. Do not disturb animals, approach or try to feed them. Wild animals can be unpredictable and protective of their young and shelter. Use binoculars to view wild animals without disrupting their natural way of life.   Stay away from wildlife that looks sick or injured. If you come across a sick or injured animal, do not try to help the animal yourself. Instead, call your local animal shelter or wildlife rescue and rehabilitation center and give them details about the animal. These trained professionals will be able to provide care in a safe setting to help the injured animal.     Fix the faucet. That kitchen sink that has been dripping the past few months that you have been meaning to fix, now is the time! You can save nearly 3,000 gallons of water in a year just by fixing a leaky faucet. Don’t sit idle. When your car sits idle, you are burning fuels which release more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.  When possible turn your car off!     Be energy efficient.  Purchase appliances that are energy efficient. Appliances that are turned off still use up electricity, its called standby power or vampire power.  So unplug appliances you aren't using! Use an eco-friendly snow and ice melt in the winter. Rock salt may be cheap but it creates problems for plants, groundwater supplies, pets and children who play outside. Keep your family and the environment safe with an alternative deicer that works in lower temperatures than traditional rock salt. Stop the drafts. Hold a burning stick of incense near windows and doors to locate gaps and drafts. You can easily seal these gaps with caulk for a warmer and more energy efficient winter. Invite people over. Instead of turning up the heat when the indoor temperature drops, invite friends and family for an impromptu party. Research indicates that each guest is the equivalent of a 175-watt heater! Not only will you have fun, you’ll feel toasty, too. Check out your local farmer’s market.  Buy in season, local autumn veggies in bulk now and can or freeze them for a healthy, delicious winter meal. Use a garden rake instead of a leaf blower to clean up the yard to conserve energy and get physical exercise. Once raked up, use the leaves as mulch to protect plants throughout the winter or add them to a compost pile. Visit a thrift store when planning your Halloween costume. Piece together a chic retro costume, create a styling masterpiece or get the little bit of inspiration you need to design a hauntingly perfect costume this Halloween – all for a reasonable price while keeping Mother Nature in mind.    
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Ocean Connections is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Our mission is to inspire conservation leadership and public action for our worlds ocean through education. Join us at any of our upcoming events to learn more and support our cause. VIRTUAL 5K REGISTER BUILD A TEAM ENTER T-SHIRT DESIGN CONTEST     Just because we have to keep our distance, doesn’t mean we have to stay inside! Join Ocean Connections for our very own Sea Lion Shuffle Stay Away 5K, with all proceeds benefitting sea lion care and conservation. Run, walk, hike, or bike a 5K by yourself from anywhere to participate in this fun event! WHEN: July 18th & 19th, 2020 WHERE: Anywhere! REGISTRATION: Sign up individually or as a team. Teams require a minimum of 7 participants. Each team registrant will be entered to win a private interactive program with the seals and sea lions of Ocean Connections. All reservations include a t-shirt.   Official T-shirt Sponsor   TURN THE TIDE GALA GET TICKETS EVENT SCHEDULE DOWNLOAD INVITATION SPONSOR THIS EVENT MAKE A DONATION 2019 PHOTO GALLERY Join us for our 2nd Annual TURN THE TIDE GALA Enjoy an evening of amazing animals, conservation and fundraising. Ocean Connections is dedicated to inspiring conservation awareness and public action for our world’s ocean through education. Our beautiful ambassadors will touch your heart while teaching your mind as we share an evening devoted to conservation awareness. Joining us will be well known animal advocates Julie Scardina, Suzi Rapp and David Jackson along with their amazing animal ambassadors. All proceeds raised directly benefit Ocean Connections education, conservation and animal care programs. WHEN: Saturday, August 15, 2020: 4:00pm-9:00pm WHERE: Private Lakeside Manor in Nashotah, WI (location will be provided upon ticket purchase) TICKETS: VIP Animal Interactive Experience & Early Arrival VIP Guests enjoy the opportunity to meet our beautiful animal ambassadors personally! An experience unlike any you’ve ever imagined awaits you as you meet species from around the globe. Special interactive photo opportunities are yours to enjoy. Meet the animals, professional trainers and guest speakers as a VIP guest! Be ready for an amazing experience! $250 = March 1 – July 24 $275 = July 25 – July 31 $300 = August 1 – 14 $350 = Ticket Purchase at door General Gala Entry All guests will enjoy a beautiful evening centered around our amazing animals. Your night includes gourmet hors d’oeuvres, an open bar, silent and live auction and our animal ambassador program. $150 = March 1 – July 24 $175 = July 25 – July 31 $200 = August 1 – 14 $250 = Ticket Purchase at door  
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Meet Harley! Sub – Dominant Male Average weight is approximately 500 pounds Born June of 2002 off the coast of California Arrived at Ocean Connections in April of 2009   Harley is the newest addition to our Ocean Connections family. He is our 7 year old California Sea Lion who came to us from the Brookfield Zoo in Illinois. Harley was actually born in the wild and was rescued two times as a stranded pup on the beaches in California. While at the marine mammal stranding center, medical testing was done and it was found that Harley was in fact deaf. Being deaf this made Harley a non releasable animal. Due to his deafness, Harley’s survivability rate in the wild would have been very low. Once this was determined he then found his home at the Brookfield Zoo. Harley moved to Ocean Connections in May of 2009 in order to breed and join our existing colony of sea lions. Harley is a very fun and unique animal who thrives on the attention of his trainers and other animals. He is an extremely quick learner and enjoys training, performing in presentations, and relaxing poolside. Harley will start shows this season. Be sure to stop bye and visit our newest performer!  
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Ocean Connections, the registered 501(c)3, non-profit organization that operates Oceans of Fun, has inspired over 200,000 patrons annually and is committed to environment awareness and community engagement in conservation leadership.  Our goals extend beyond our facility into the community through educational opportunities for all ages and abilities, local and global conservation efforts, and research projects aimed at saving species worldwide.  We are eagerly planning for the future and partnership is integral key in our success.  Leading the way in conservation awareness and action is an extraordinary feat which can only be achieved with your continued support.  From hosting private corporate shows to individual interactive packages to supporting our various events throughout the year, we have customizable packages for your sponsorship investment to thank you for your support! Your contribution will assist with: Animals & Animal Care  - We pride ourselves on providing exceptional animal welfare to the seals and sea lions that call us home.  From cooperative medical training and world reknown veterinary care to ensuring a meticulously balanced, healthy diet and environment for all of our flippered friends, we ensure that all of our animals receive the best possible care. Conservation - Our mission is to touch the hearts of others and inspire them to engage in conservation efforts.  Our Saving Species initiative features local and global conservation projects geared toward protecting animals and habitats worldwide. Educational Opportunities - Whether it's through our daily presentations, interactive opportunities, or outreach programs, we love encouraging others to take action in protecting our environment as we raise awareness about the challenges marine life is facing.  We offer a variety of programs that bring guests up close and personal with our animal ambassadors in hopes to foster understanding for these incredible animals.  It is our hope to promote the mantra of Baba Dioum: "In the end we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught" and pass on the love for our planet to the conservation leaders of tomorrow. Providing Forever Homes - Ocean Connections and Ocean Connections are proud to be in partnership with stranding centers along the coastlines.  In our history, we have provided forever homes for eight rescued animals that otherwise would not have survived in the wild.  These members of our family serve as amazing ambassadors helping to raise awareness of the struggles their species are facing. It is only with your continued support that we are able to do what we do.  Whether your goal is conservation support, community involvement, increased brand recognition, or cause marketing, we offer a variety of customized benefits packages to develop a mutually beneficial partnership!  They include but are not limited to:         TURN THE TIDE GALA For questions about becoming a sponsor for the 2020 Turn the Tide Gala contact Karen Wilkey at karen@oceanconnections.com or (262) 442-5144.   All sponsors receive acknowledgement on social media, listing or logo in the Turn the Tide program, and on the Ocean Connections website. Sponsor Levels: Saving Sea Lions = $10,000 ($8,914 tax deduction) Event Experience and Recognition: Exclusive Presenting Sponsor 8 - VIP Experience Turn the Tide Gala tickets One-of-a-Kind Private Interactive Event: 1/2 hour before VIP event to meet & greet our exotic animal ambassadors and have a unique photo opportunity with our cheetah animal ambassador Opportunity for your company banner or sign to be predominately displayed at the entrance to Turn the Tide Gala Your company name, logo and recognition on our website, Event Program, social media (including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter), event’s electronic media presentation and any reference to Turn the Tide Gala Your company's logo will be featured on the Gala’s Reusable Bag giveaway to all VIP attendees 8 VIP tickets to the Milwaukee County Zoo, including parking, and to Ocean Connections Sea Lion Show where your company will be recognized and thanked for your support along with a private interaction to meet & greet our sea lions Sea Lion Party Favors – 8 unique Sea Lion painted champagne glasses with a bottle of bubbly! Refuge for Rescues = $5,000  ($4,700 tax deduction)  Event Experience & Recognition: 4 - VIP Experience Turn the Tide Gala tickets One-of-a-Kind Private Interactive Event: 1/2 hour before VIP event to meet & greet our exotic animal ambassadors and have a unique photo opportunity with our cheetah animal ambassador Your company name, logo and recognition on our website, Event Program, social media (including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter), event’s electronic media presentation and any reference to Turn the Tide Gala Your company's logo will be featured on the Gala's Reusable Bag giveaway to all VIP attendees Animal Ambassador Admiral = $2,000  ($2,000 tax deduction)  Sponsor one or our amazing animal ambassadors at the event! Support Spike the Alligator Cheetah Champion Sloth Steward Penguin Protector Event Experience & Recognition: An up-close and personal meet & greet with your amazing sponsored animal complete with a commemorative photo opportunity Your name(s)/company name & logo will appear with that animal during the VIP experience Recognition on the banner at the entrance to the event Recognition in the Event Program Harbor Seal Helpers = $500  ($500 tax deduction) Sponsor one or more more of the critical components of the event! Bar Environmentalist – support our Boat Bar Beverages Chair Conservationist – support the chairs for the presentation Table Preservationist – support the Bistro Tables for dining Conservation Ambassadors – support the company that is traveling with our event animal ambassadors Event Experience & Recognition: Recognition near your sponsored area Recognition in the Event Program
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Camp Special - Save 20% We miss all of our amazing guests and are looking forward to spending the summer season with you! In anticipation of a healthy, safe, and fun summer we're offering 20% off all 2020 summer camp reservations made through May 21st. We've even added more dates for our brand new, Nautical Navigators camp! Not sure about scheduling? No worries! Rescheduling is free up to two weeks prior to your program. RESERVE NOW     To receive the latest specials, be sure to join our Fan Club! For program reservations, gift certificates, and information, please click here or call us at 414-453-5527 ext. 1. Reservation phone lines are open seven days a week from 8:30 am – 4:00 pm.    
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Ocean Connections 10001 W. Bluemound Road Milwaukee, WI 53226 414-453-5527 Ocean Connections is located inside the the Milwaukee County Zoo. Upon arrival you will park inside the Milwaukee County Zoo parking lot and walk to Ocean Connections located on the northeast side of the zoo. The zoo is well marked but please allow yourself 20 minutes to enter the zoo and travel to our facility. All program participants will need to check in at the Sea Lion Shoppe which is located just outside of the Ocean Connections Sea Lion Theatre at least 15 minutes prior to the start pf their program. Programs start promptly. All campers will be dropped off and picked up at the US Bank Gathering Place. Please do not travel to the Sea Lion Shoppe for camp programs. Parents/guardians will present their child's confirmation letter to the Milwaukee County Zoo parking attendants for admission when dropping off and picking up their campers. Get directions. Parking All parking is an additional fee. Passenger vehicles are $12. Please see the Milwaukee County Zoo website for additional parking and admission information. Camp participants being dropped off and picked up will present their child’s confirmation letter to the Milwaukee County Zoo parking attendant’s for admission.
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Wondering what's happening at Ocean Connections? We will now be bringing you all of our latest events through our Current News page! Check it out here! November Newsletter 2014: View Want to keep up on what's new at Ocean Connections? Read all about our specials, program highlights, featured animals, conservation tips, and how you can sponsor a seal or sea lion in our Quarterly Newsletter. To receive our latest newsletter and program specials, be sure to subscribe to our Fan Club!     Newsletter Archive November 2014 March 2014
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Build a running team… and win! Teams that run together have fun together! Build a running team and help support sea lion care and conservation! One lucky team member will win a private interactive program for up to 10 participants to meet our seals and sea lions (value $1,000; ages 10+). To enter, here is what you need to do: Since this is a Stay Away 5K, your team can consist of anyone in the world! Family, friends, running team, co-workers, book club, etc. Come up with a creative team name Go to www.oceansoffun.org/store_item_detail/260 to enter. Be sure you and all of your team mebers enter your team name when registering. To qualify, teams must have a minimum of seven registrations. More registrants = more chances to win! Each registrant for your team = one entry for the drawing. For example, if your team has eight members register, then that team will have eight chances to win. If your team has 20 members register, then the team will have 20 chances to win! NOTE: The Ocean Connections tour has a maximum of 10 participants – but your out-of-town team members can increase your chances of winning while also helping to raise money for sea lion care and conservation! The winner will be announced on Tuesday July 21st, 2020. Winners can redeem their private tour at a future date when the Ocean Connections is again open to the public. Questions? If you have questions about your donation, please reach out to Shelley Ballmann at shelley@oceanconnections.org. All other questions, including those related to the t-shirt design contest, should be directed to brittany@oceanconnections.org.   << GO BACK TO EVENTS
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Ocean Connections, the registered 501(c)3, non-profit organization that operates Oceans of Fun, has inspired over 200,000 patrons annually and is committed to environment awareness and community engagement in conservation leadership.  Our goals extend beyond our facility into the community through educational opportunities for all ages and abilities, local and global conservation efforts, and research projects aimed at saving species worldwide.  We are eagerly planning for the future and partnership is integral key in our success.  Leading the way in conservation awareness and action is an extraordinary feat which can only be achieved with your continued support.  From hosting private corporate shows to individual interactive packages to supporting our various events throughout the year, we have customizable packages for your sponsorship investment to thank you for your support! Your contribution will assist with: Animals & Animal Care  - We pride ourselves on providing exceptional animal welfare to the seals and sea lions that call us home.  From cooperative medical training and world reknown veterinary care to ensuring a meticulously balanced, healthy diet and environment for all of our flippered friends, we ensure that all of our animals receive the best possible care. Conservation - Our mission is to touch the hearts of others and inspire them to engage in conservation efforts.  Our Saving Species initiative features local and global conservation projects geared toward protecting animals and habitats worldwide. Educational Opportunities - Whether it's through our daily presentations, interactive opportunities, or outreach programs, we love encouraging others to take action in protecting our environment as we raise awareness about the challenges marine life is facing.  We offer a variety of programs that bring guests up close and personal with our animal ambassadors in hopes to foster understanding for these incredible animals.  It is our hope to promote the mantra of Baba Dioum: "In the end we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught" and pass on the love for our planet to the conservation leaders of tomorrow. Providing Forever Homes - Ocean Connections and Ocean Connections are proud to be in partnership with stranding centers along the coastlines.  In our history, we have provided forever homes for eight rescued animals that otherwise would not have survived in the wild.  These members of our family serve as amazing ambassadors helping to raise awareness of the struggles their species are facing. It is only with your continued support that we are able to do what we do.  Whether your goal is conservation support, community involvement, increased brand recognition, or cause marketing, we offer a variety of customized benefits packages to develop a mutually beneficial partnership!  They include but are not limited to:         TURN THE TIDE GALA For questions about becoming a sponsor for the 2020 Turn the Tide Gala contact Karen Wilkey at karen@oceanconnections.com or (262) 442-5144.   All sponsors receive acknowledgement on social media, listing or logo in the Turn the Tide program, and on the Ocean Connections website. Sponsor Levels: Saving Sea Lions = $10,000 ($8,914 tax deduction) Event Experience and Recognition: Exclusive Presenting Sponsor 8 - VIP Experience Turn the Tide Gala tickets One-of-a-Kind Private Interactive Event: 1/2 hour before VIP event to meet & greet our exotic animal ambassadors and have a unique photo opportunity with our cheetah animal ambassador Opportunity for your company banner or sign to be predominately displayed at the entrance to Turn the Tide Gala Your company name, logo and recognition on our website, Event Program, social media (including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter), event’s electronic media presentation and any reference to Turn the Tide Gala Your company's logo will be featured on the Gala’s Reusable Bag giveaway to all VIP attendees 8 VIP tickets to the Milwaukee County Zoo, including parking, and to Ocean Connections Sea Lion Show where your company will be recognized and thanked for your support along with a private interaction to meet & greet our sea lions Sea Lion Party Favors – 8 unique Sea Lion painted champagne glasses with a bottle of bubbly! Refuge for Rescues = $5,000  ($4,700 tax deduction)  Event Experience & Recognition: 4 - VIP Experience Turn the Tide Gala tickets One-of-a-Kind Private Interactive Event: 1/2 hour before VIP event to meet & greet our exotic animal ambassadors and have a unique photo opportunity with our cheetah animal ambassador Your company name, logo and recognition on our website, Event Program, social media (including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter), event’s electronic media presentation and any reference to Turn the Tide Gala Your company's logo will be featured on the Gala's Reusable Bag giveaway to all VIP attendees Animal Ambassador Admiral = $2,000  ($2,000 tax deduction)  Sponsor one or our amazing animal ambassadors at the event! Support Spike the Alligator Cheetah Champion Sloth Steward Penguin Protector Event Experience & Recognition: An up-close and personal meet & greet with your amazing sponsored animal complete with a commemorative photo opportunity Your name(s)/company name & logo will appear with that animal during the VIP experience Recognition on the banner at the entrance to the event Recognition in the Event Program Harbor Seal Helpers = $500  ($500 tax deduction) Sponsor one or more more of the critical components of the event! Bar Environmentalist – support our Boat Bar Beverages Chair Conservationist – support the chairs for the presentation Table Preservationist – support the Bistro Tables for dining Conservation Ambassadors – support the company that is traveling with our event animal ambassadors Event Experience & Recognition: Recognition near your sponsored area Recognition in the Event Program
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Ben Lorber from WISN-TV Channel 12 came out to to showcase Ocean's of Fun newest family member, Talise!  We can't thank him enough for capturing such precious moments of Talise's first weeks!  Click here to check out his wonderful slideshow!
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August 15, 2020 4:00pm – 9:00pm Hosted at a Private Lakeside Manor in Nashotah, WI   EVENT ITINERARY 4:00pm-5:00pm VIP admittance and animal ambassador interactive meet and greet! VIP attendees will receive the opportunity to interact with animal ambassadors from around the globe. Our beautiful ambassadors will engage you in an experience of a lifetime as you meet and learn about their amazing stories. From penguins to hawks to a lemur and sloth, these animals will inspire your love and appreciation for the natural world we share. 5:00pm-6:00pm General admittance, food, drink and socializing VIP and general attendees will enjoy delicious gourmet hors d'oeuvres, an open bar, live entertainment, and socializing with animal care specialists as well as the opportunity to peruse our silent auction items before settling in for the main event. 6:00pm-7:30pm Turn the Tide evening program Turn the Tide evening program will provided by Ocean Connections president, Shelley Ballmann, alongside invited guest speakers Julie Scardina, our friends and animal ambassadors from the Columbus Zoo and Conservation Ambassadors, and more! Program will conclude with our live auction and Special Animal Ambassador Photo opportunity! 7:45pm Painting with Penguins! Animal artwork provided by our feathered, furry, and flippered friends will be available throughout the night for purchase. A special live painting opportunity will be made available compliments of two beautiful Penguin Picassos as we wrap up the night's festivities. 8:00pm-9:00pm Closing night activities Entertainment continues as you make your final silent auction choices. Bid high and bid often; it’s all for conservation! Who knows what you could be going home with! Silent auction will close at 8:15 pm. 8:15pm-9:15pm Returning transportation MEET THE SPEAKERS KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Shelley Ballmann Shelley Ballmann is a conservation leader and expert in marine mammal behavior, training, and welfare. Shelley has dedicated herself to providing a sanctuary where both animals born within human care and rescued seals and sea lions are given a second chance in life. A believer in education, Shelley is committed to the educational impact connecting people to nature has on influencing behavior for positive change in our world. Shelley will share with you the challenges facing these animals along with the inspiring impact our ambassadors bring to today’s world. INVITED SPEAKER: Stephen Fishwick Stephen Fishwick, a renown international talent, joins our cause! Look forward to being inspired as Stephen creates an original conservation masterpiece live on August 15th. His ability to infuse color, movement, and sound into each of his paintings creates an aesthetic style all of his own. Stephen Fishwick infuses every original creation with the passion that drives his art and performances! In career that has spanned over two decades, Stephen has earned widespread acclaim, but what makes him most proud are his philanthropic endeavors that have raised over $1 million for different charities. He has also produces artwork for corporate America, with professional clients that include That National Football League, Microsoft, Apple, Coca-Cola, Disney, Anheuser-Busch, the San Diego Padres and National Geographic. YOUR SUPPORT DIRECTLY CONTRIBUTES TO: CARE • CONNECT • CONSERVE Ocean Connections is committed to providing exceptional care to all of our animal ambassadors. Our animal ambassadors all have unique stories and by connecting you to all of them, we can educate others about the troubles directly impacting these species and their habitats. This helps us to better serve their wild counterparts and conserve species for generations to come! Your contribution directly assists with: Updated medical equipment necessary for health assessments and veterinary visits Modernizing animal areas High quality nutrition and dietary needs Local and global conservation efforts Species rescue, rehabilitation, and protection programs EDUCATIONAL REACH Education is at the heart of what we do. Our educational programming combines quality, STEAM+ based curriculum and quality time with our animal ambassadors. With our interactive and outreach programs continuing to evolve, Ocean Connections is in desperate need of updated equipment to increase the creation of hands-on learning opportunities that are available to diverse audiences. Your patronage will help further our commitment to providing quality science programming to the community by supplying funding for: Improved technology for distance learning opportunities Sponsoring field trips and outreach opportunities for Title 1 Schools Interactive learning displays Hands-on materials to encourage inquiry-based exploration of marine species – CLICK TO PURCHASE TURN THE TIDE GALA TICKETS NOW! – Unable to join us? Please consider partnering as a Turn the Tide sponsor or making a donation to support our efforts! Each sponsorship level is accompanied by unique event benefits. To learn more or make a contribution visit us at www.oceanconnections.org/events
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The field of marine mammal care and training is one of exciting, rewarding and challenging opportunities for animal enthusiasts. Yet, without hands on experience, animal training can be a very difficult and competitive field to pursue. Most facilities seek educated and charismatic individuals who are eager to serve the marine mammal community. Our volunteer opportunities are available for those individuals looking to donate time to the care of our animals and assist in conservation efforts, but it is also available to students or individuals looking to pursue a career in a animal related field such as: Biology, Marine Biology, Psychology, Animal Behavior, Oceanography, Ecology (Environmental Protection), Education, and Communication. Why Apply Have you always loved marine mammals and been interested in the field of animal training? Do you love the earth and want to help make a difference? Are you passionate about public education and want to assist with our mission for conservation” Then our volunteer programs are a great fit for you! Ocean Connections is actively interviewing for seasonal volunteer positions. Our programs teach individuals how to be an animal care and environmental specialist. Learn about animal diets, facility care, animal training, medical programs, and assist our staff in educating the public about how to care for the environment. Volunteer About Our Program Ocean Connections is a globally recognized leader in the field of marine mammal care and training. We receive internship and volunteer applications from around the world. Our programs have been designed to provide participants with valuable experience in a wide variety of activities that occur throughout a trainer’s day. Volunteers are trained to assist our animal care staff in the following areas: General understanding of the care and husbandry needs of marine mammals Dietary requirements and food preparation for marine mammals General water quality understanding Public presentations: guest interaction, crowd control, safety, trainer assistance Interactive programs: guest interaction and assistance, safety Public interaction: professionalism, assistance, question and answer, safety Facility maintenance and sanitation Animal observations Training session and procedural assistance Animal behavior and training Environmental enrichment Current conservation issues Requirements Volunteers must be at least 18 years of age. Volunteers must agree to all Ocean Connections policies and release forms. Volunteers must submit a completed application, resume and two letters of recommendation. Volunteers must be willing to commit to the required hours. Ocean Connections offers several seasonal programs. Volunteer positions can be started at any time, however, spring to summer or summer to winter time frames are the most beneficial. All volunteer positions require a minimum of one, 8-hour day per week, for a 6 month commitment or two, 8-hour days per week for 3 months. Positions are on a voluntary basis, therefore will have no financial compensation.  Ocean Connections is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization which operates the primary location within the Milwaukee County Zoo in Milwaukee, WI. Our sister facility is located at Hersheypark in Hershey, PA.  Volunteer opportunities are available at both locations. Please be sure to indicate your preference in location on the application below. Note that preferences will be considered but are not guaranteed. Get Involved We are actively looking for individuals that are 18 years of age or older and that are highly motivated. If you are interested in applying, please apply below or contact our Intern/Volunteer Coordinator for more details. Due to the large number of resumes received and the limited number of positions available, we recommend getting your applications in as soon as possible for consideration. Deadlines for Application Term Term Length Application Deadline Summer Approximately May 15 - Labor Day March 15 Fall - Winter Approximately September 15 - January 1 August 15 Winter - Spring Approximately January 15 - May 15 November 15 Volunteer
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Ocean Connections is excited to welcome you and your family back to visit us starting Saturday June 13th, 2020.  Our top priority is ensuring the safety of our animals and guests so we are closely following the guidelines of the CDC as well as the Milwaukee County Zoo.  Please thoroughly read our new protocols below before visiting us: GUEST RESPONSIBILITY WITHIN OCEAN CONNECTIONS If you or any member of your party or family is not feeling well, please don’t visit. We welcome your visit when everyone is well. Currently, government health organizations are recommending people 65 years and older, those who live in a nursing homes or long-term care facilities, and people with underlying medical conditions should either remain home or keep their distance from others.  REFERENCES:  www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/people-at-higher-risk.html   All guests ages three years and up are required to wear a face mask/covering throughout their visit. This is for your own protection and for the protection of other guests and employees at the Zoo.  Employees will also be wearing face masks/coverings within public areas.   Practice good hygiene while visiting the Milwaukee County Zoo.   We have enhanced our already-stringent cleaning protocols considering the COVID-19 pandemic. We ask for your patience if you experience any delays or inconvenience as a result of these procedures. Follow physical distancing guidelines carefully, maintaining 6 feet of space from other guests/employees. Family members and others (a “family unit”) who live in the same household can be closer together. All others should strictly adhere to the physical distancing guidelines. This will apply throughout the Zoo including on rides in queue lines, in/at exhibits, in/at food and beverage facilities, in show venues, and in restrooms. To facilitate adherence to physical distancing guidelines, Ocean Connections will operate at designated reduced capacities during the opening phase(s). If you feel ill once you are at the Zoo call 414-771-3040. You and your party will be asked to move to a special area within a facility for further assessment. Ocean Connections is dedicated to thew ell-being and safety of its patrons, staff, and animals.  We will continue to follow the required guidelines related to COVID-19.  Please be aware that changes to Ocean Connections operations and protocols may occur at any time.  Current guidelines are temporary and, when appropriate, Ocean Connections will transition into cooperation with the Phase II guidelines set forth by the CDC and Milwaukee County Zoo.
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Accredited zoos and aquariums are a crucial component in the race against extinction. These facilities are dedicated to the conservation of all species and we need your support. Zoological institutions that are accredited by organizations such as the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums (AMMPA) and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), like Ocean Connections, the Milwaukee County Zoo, and ZooAmerica get inspected to ensure that species in human care receive topnotch healthcare and an exceptional environment to thrive in.  This goes for all species great and small from Naked Mole Rats to Orcas from Monarch butterflies to Elephants, accredited facilities are the face of conservation.  These facilities in partnership with other conservation-based organizations, like the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, play a pivotal role in the protection and preservation of threatened or endangered species.  Without accredited zoos and aquariums, the extinction of infinite species is inevitable. Ocean Connections is just one of the many accredited facilities across the globe that is dedicated to ensuring species survival.  We are devoted to a variety of conservation efforts from active participation in saving species to financial support.  Ocean Connections has contributed to rescuing stranded seals as well as California sea lions involved in the Unusual Mortality Event, researching pinnipeds in Punta San Juan to ensure survivability, and continued support of Walrus protection projects.  Conservation does not end with us.  It extends outward to a network of institutions we are in partnership with that have committed themselves to various conservation projects.  Our Ocean Connections Wisconsin location has been partnered with the Milwaukee County Zoo since 1991.  Home to over 3,000 animals, the Milwaukee County Zoo has been promoting an appreciation for all species and supporting the conservation of their diverse habitats since its inception in 1892.  From Bonobos to Humboldt penguins to many other critically endangered animals, their efforts have assisted with increasing wild populations and protecting the natural ranges of various species.  In 2009, we continued to expand as we were welcomed into a collaboration with Hersheypark and ZooAmerica in Hershey, Pennsylvania.  Milton S. Hershey, founder of Hershey’s Chocolate, took particular interest in environmental issues and established the first recycling center in Hershey, Pennsylvania long before recycling became a common practice.  They minimize oil and energy consumption, conserve 3.7 million gallons of water, and avoid over 6,000 pounds of air pollutants every year.  Located within Hersheypark is ZooAmerica which has a plethora of conservation initiatives of its own.  Dedicated to the preservation of North American wildlife, ZooAmerica has strived to promote public awareness, respect, and appreciation for the natural world while inspiring and motivating guests to take personal resposibility for the health of the planet.  ZooAmerica actively participates in breeding and reintroduction programs geared toward protecting endangered species from extinction.  Encroachment and loss of habitat are affecting many species including the majestic Peregrine falcon and the Regal Fritillary butterfly but by having these reintroduction programs we are restoring populations in their historic ranges from which they have almost completely disappeared.  ZooAmerica also participates in Species Survival Plan initiatives which are designed to maintain a healthy, genetically diverse, and demographically stable population for the long-term future.  This is coupled with collaboration with other accredited institutions and field project research that help us learn how to better serve species that are struggling.  One way we they are doing so is building nest boxes for various bird species including the Barn Owl, American Kestrel, Prothonotary Warbler, and Bluebird. By creating, monitoring, and studying these populations, these birds are not only provided with shelter for their nests but also provide the opportunity for research.  All of the information collected by ZooAmerica is helping to provide more data on the challenges these birds are facing and how we can best ensure their survival for future generations. Through our collaboration in conjuncture with other accredited zoological institutions, we have been saving species worldwide by inspiring conservation awareness.  Many species are struggling out in the wild and accredited facilities have made large strides to protect these animals but we cannot do it alone.  We need your help.  For it is only with your continued support that accredited zoos and aquariums can ensure these animals' survival for future generations. What many people fail to realize is that zoological institutions want animal populations to thrive in natural habitats.  Unfortunately the reality of it is that the wild is a dangerous place to be. 96 elephants are killed daily for their ivory tusks. Every eight hours, a rhino is killed for their horn.  Both of these animals now require armed protection from poachers.  Marine life of all types from cetaceans (whales/dolphins) to turtles to seabirds are washing ashore with stomachs full of plastic.  Due to this and overfishing, recent studies have shown that Southern Resident orcas are starving to death as their salmon becomes more and more scarce.  As many as 73 million sharks are losing their fins every year and being tossed back into the ocean to die to meet the demand of the shark-finning industry.  Since January of 2015, over 6,000 California sea lions have been found emaciated and stranded on beaches because of overfishing and global climate change drastically affecting their environment.  4,500 acres of forest are cleared every single hour to make way for housing and farming.  This is the equivalent to over 3,400 football fields and is endangering some of earth’s most beloved and rarest animals including Orangutans, tigers, okapis, snow leopards, and more.  Vaquitas weren’t discovered until 1958 and are the smallest and rarest cetacean.  59 years have passed since then and there are less than 30 individuals left in the wild since illegal fishing practices have this population on the brink of extinction.  Human-caused problems are creating an innumerable amount of obstacles for animals in the wild and we are obligated as shared inhabitants of this planet to take action before it’s too late.  Extinction is forever and once a species truly disappears it can never come back. However, we can all contribute to the success of species and one of the easiest ways to do so is by supporting accredited zoos and aquariums.  When you support zoological institutions you support the survival of species.  You support the reintroduction of species thanks to zoo-based breeding programs like the ‘Alalā (Hawaiian crow), Arabian Oryx, Tigers, Addax antelope, Rodrigues fruit bats, and so many more that have been critically endangered or even extinct in the wild.  You support rescued animals – like Ocean Connections’s harbor seal, Mango - that would not have survived out in the wild.  Animals in human care are living double or triple the lifespan of their wild counterpart thanks to the phenomenal care we are able to provide them.  By supporting these organizations, you support research that helps to better understand these animals’ needs.  This research helps ensure that even thriving wild populations can continue to survive and assists in conserving those that are in trouble.  It is our responsibility to work together to ensure that this single planet we all share is populated by these magnificent creatures for generations come.   Take action now! The following links provide the opportunity for you to start combating extinction: Read more about the conservation projects Ocean Connections is involved with here or donate now! Take a stand against the ivory trade by signing the Milwaukee County Zoo’s petition to Ban Ivory Trade in Wisconsin! Read more about elephant conservation projects by visiting 96 Elephants, International Elephant Foundation, and Elephants for Africa. Support anti-poaching rangers! Check out these Zoo Success Stories: Arabian Oryx Bali Starling Black-Footed Ferret Blue Iguana Butterflies California Condor Gopher Tortoise Gorillas Indigo Snake Painted Dog Puerto Rican Crested Toad Red Wolf Rodrigues Fruit Bats Siamese Crocodile Tigers Sign the petition to Ban Shark Fin Trading! Download the free Seafood Watch App to support legal, sustainable fishing practices and the free Palm Oil Guide App to support sustainable palm oil farming to combat deforestation. View Snow Leopard and Great Ape conservation projects. Discover marine debris projects and activities in your region.         Photos courtesy of: Ocean Connections, Milwaukee County Zoo, NOAA, Oceana, and ZooAmerica.
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Ocean Connections marine mammal interactions.   Milwaukee Schedule: Seal & Sea Lion Feedings: 11:00, 12:30, and 2:00 Hershey Schedule: Seal & Sea Lion Shows: No programs currently scheduled. Seal & Sea Lion Feedings: No programs currently scheduled.       *Programs are subject to change due to animal or program needs Upcoming Program Availability Our Flippered Friends & Family program is offered multiple times daily. Learn more or register here.     About Us Ocean Connections is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization that is dedicated to inspiring conservation awareness and public action for our world's ocean through education.  Ocean Connections has partnered with Oceans of Fun to further our dedication to the field of science, education, and providing a forever home for marine mammals in need.  It is our goal to further community engagement in conservation actions by fostering a relationship with our animal ambassadors as well as ensuring the exceptional welfare of the seals and sea lions that call us home. Ocean Connections offers a variety of opportunities for children and families alike to discover the amazing world of marine mammals. We provide a wide array of interactive programs, allowing you to connect with our animals personally. We hope that you have the opportunity to join us and experience the wonder of working with marine mammals. The opportunity to touch, feed, and interact with our flippered family awaits you!
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 2/5/12 This winter we welcomed a new member to our pinniped family! In late January, Bumper, a 2 year old male Atlantic harbor seal joined Ocean Connections from Long Island Aquarium in New York. Being a juvenile, Bumper weighs in at 130 pounds. When full grown, male harbor seals reach weights of approximately 300 pounds and lengths of 6 feet. This little guy sure has some growing to do! At his previous home, Bumper was an exhibit animal and had just begun his formal training. As an inquisitive youngster, Bumper is curious about everything in his new environment. We are excited to continue his training and help him transition from an exhibit to a show and interactive environment. Bumper’s training goals include advancing his foundation behaviors, building trust in his new trainers and learning voluntary husbandry behaviors to help the animal care staff monitor his health on a daily basis. For photos and news updates about Bumper’s transition to life at Ocean Connections, be sure to follow us on Facebook! < Back to Current Events
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Meet Ayla! Female, Juvenile Average weight is 150 pounds Born on June 20, 2000 Daughter of Makaia Learned to swim at 2 weeks of age Ayla is now seven years old this year! Born to Makaia in the summer of 2000, she is affectionate and delightful. Ayla began her formal training at one year of age after weaning from her mother onto a diet of fish. She has a lot of energy and is always ready to learn new behaviors in her training sessions. At 7 years of age, playfulness and being mischievous are a constant past time. Our staff can often be spotted laughing as we watch her silly play of leaping, rolling and engaging in chase games under water with her friends. Ayla especially enjoys playing with water hoses that her trainers spray into the water...she rolls in the stream and enjoys the feeling of the spray along her body and flippers (much like we would with a whirlpool jet). It is not uncommon for Ayla to steal the show and entertain the audience with her adorable antics! Be sure to stop and enjoy this adorable little lady!
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Meet Geneva! Sub adult female Born on June 29, 1999 Daughter to Makaia Swam at 2 weeks of age Currently weighs approximately 200 lbs. Geneva was born at Ocean Connections late in the day on June 29th, 1999. She was the first pup born to Makaia (third generation at Ocean Connections). Geneva weighed in at 11 pounds when born and immediately had a feisty personality. Geneva was very playful and a welcome addition to our family! She was cared for by both her mother and grandmother (Sport) as a pup. Her formal training began at 9 months of age when she weaned from her mother and began eating fish. Today Geneva, is all grown up and knows over 75 behaviors that delight our guests. She has a very distinct vocal and zoo patrons can definitely pick her out of the crowd! Geneva travels to HersheyPark during the summers with her brother Diego to educate and entertain guests in Hershey, Pennslyvania. No matter which location she is in, Geneva's voice and energy cannot be mistaken, she enjoys training, performing and touching the hearts of our guests!
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1981-2011 With heavy hearts, we said goodbye to Sport in early November 2011. At 30 years of age, Sport was a founder animal within our organization. She joined our team in 1990 and over the past 21 years has been an ambassador for marine mammal conservation in Wisconsin, educating and entertaining thousands of children and adults alike. She has mothered 4 pups of her own and was the grandmother to five! Sport passed away due to old age and will be missed by her trainers and fans. We are sad to see her go but so thankful for all that she has shared with us. We dedicate our lives to ensuring the highest quality of care for the animals we are fortunate enough to work with. The most difficult element for all of us is having to say goodbye. It never gets easier and always breaks our hearts. Thanks to all of you for taking the time to share your memories, positive thoughts and love. Your support and wonderful words mean more than you could possibly know and have helped our team tremendously - thank you!    
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