Long Island Aquarium’s Sea Lion Coliseum is the place to go to appreciate the grace, playfulness, and intelligence of the California sea lion (Zalophus californianus).
Sea lions, which get their name from their loud roars, barks, and honks, put on a fascinating show whenever they are in the water! Just look through the underwater viewing windows of our Sea Lion Coliseum inside the aquarium to marvel at these graceful swimmers!
There’s an even better performance waiting for you outside! Long Island Aquarium’s expert mammal trainers put on a daily Sea Lion Show. It’s your opportunity to watch the Aquarium’s talented sea lions – Java, Bunker, Nila, and Lucy – demonstrate a variety of impressive behaviors!
California Sea Lion
Scientific Name: Zalophus californianus
Weight: 200-880 pounds.
Length: 6-8 feet.
Lifespan: 18-30 years.
Range: Southern Alaska to Central Mexico.
Habitat: sandy and rocky shorelines along the coast of western North America.
Meet our Sea Lions!
Java is Long Island Aquarium’s one and only male California sea lion. Java was born at SeaWorld Orlando on June 25th 2001 and came to Long Island Aquarium in September of 2002 with his half sister Bunker. Java weighs approximately 350 lbs to 410 lbs depending on the time of year. However, male California sea lions can weigh up to 800 lbs. Although Java is our largest sea lion he has a mild-mannered, laid back personality. Java can often be found swimming in the main habitat accompanied by our two youngest sea lions Nila and Lucy, or sunning himself on the rocks in-between sea lion presentations and training sessions with his dedicated trainers. Aside from Java’s diet of restaurant quality fish, his favorite treat is ice cubes and he can be seen after presentations and training sessions eating a pile of them on his habitat. Java is a fan favorite among staff and guests alike, for his relaxed and easy going personality which makes him an excellent animal ambassador for his species. He is a star in our Sea Lion Selfie and Sea Lion Encounter Programs.
Bunker is the oldest resident female California sea lion at Long Island Aquarium. Bunker was born at SeaWorld Orlando on June 5th 2001 and came to the Long Island Aquarium in September of 2002 with her half brother Java. Bunker weighs approximately 185 lbs to 200 lbs depending on the time of the year. This is the average weight of a female California sea lion as they normally do not get much larger than 250 lbs. Bunker is currently our largest female, which helps to identify her apart from her two younger female companions, Nila and Lucy, who are much smaller. Bunker also has very long whiskers (vibrissae), compared to Java and Nila, but not as long as Lucy’s whiskers. Bunker enjoys the company of our other sea lions and can be seen swimming in our main habitat with them, but also enjoys swimming by herself in the smaller side of her habitat. Aside from Bunker’s diet of restaurant quality fish, her favorite treat is unflavored gelatin which she enjoys chasing and eating after presentations and training sessions. Bunker is an energetic performer and is always eager to show off high-energy behaviors such as the ball jump, dance moves and ball balancing skills during presentations and training sessions. Bunker is very smart and quick to pick up on the “training game” with her care givers and is always eager to learn new things. Bunker also enjoys painting with her trainers and guests during the Sea Lion Paint Program offered here at Long Island Aquarium.
Long Island Aquarium is home to many different rescued animals, including two of our female sea lions, Nila and Lucy.
Nila, has stolen the hearts of her trainers and aquarium guests since 2014. Nila was rescued by the Channel Islands Marine and Wildlife Institute (CIMWI) due to an unusual mortality event (UME). Many young sea lions were stranding on the beaches due to malnourishment and dehydration. As one of those sea lions, Nila was brought to CIMWI where she received all the care she needed however, she was deemed non- releasable due to her lack of survival skills. While in CIMWI’s care, Nila was very timid around other sea lions and would not eat enough fish when they were around, this is an undesirable trait for a sea lion in nature as they do gather into very large groups. Nila has flourished since her arrival to the Long Island Aquarium, and continues to act as an animal ambassador, inspiring and teaching guests about the issues facing our planet and her counterparts in nature.
Lucy, our youngest female California sea lion, has called the Long Island Aquarium her home since 2019. After being born on Wind-n-Sea beach in La Jolla, CA, residents alerted SeaWorld San Diego’s rescue team to her presence and the team began to monitor Lucy’s health and progress. Unfortunately, for unknown reasons, it became apparent that Lucy’s mother had abandoned her on the beach and stopped coming to nurse her. Due to this, Lucy was rescued and brought to SeaWorld for rehabilitation. As Lucy was so young she was not able to develop the survival skills that she would need to be on her own in nature. Since her arrival at the Long Island Aquarium, Lucy has been thriving. You can catch Lucy in segments of our daily educational presentations as an animal ambassador, helping to expand the knowledge of our guests while bringing smiles to their faces.
If you want to help sea lion’s in nature, remember to recycle your plastic bottles, reduce your use of plastic, use a reusable water bottle and straw, don’t litter and make sure you are eating sustainable seafood. Insert Seafood Watch link? Decreasing pollution and trash that ends up in the ocean can save marine life, and making smart seafood choices for dinner can increase the fish populations in the ocean that marine life like sea lions depend on.
Get up close and personal with our Sea Lion Encounter adventure. Click HERE to reserve your spot and learn more.
Do you love Java, Bunker, Lucy and Nila and would like to send them a gift? Check out their Amazon Wish List