US Zoo Dolphin Exhibit to End

Days after the Legislature approved $4 million for the Minnesota Zoo — for what many legislators thought would be used to refurbish the dolphin tanks there — the zoo announced an end to the popular exhibit.

But zoo officials were thinking about moving the dolphins several months before they told the public, or the Legislature, according to documents obtained by MPR News.

That has Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk calling for a public hearing on whether money going to the Minnesota Zoo will be used appropriately.

“We need some assurance,” said Bakk, DFL-Cook. “If it’s not going to be dolphins, what’s it going to be?”

The dolphin show is a popular attraction at the Minnesota Zoo, particularly at lunchtime, when hundreds of visitors pack into a stadium to see two dolphins perform.

The dolphins leap into the air, splash their tails and swim at breakneck speed around a glass tank. Before and after the show, children press their faces to the glass tanks in the hopes of getting a glimpse of the dolphins.

Zoo officials had hoped to renovate the tanks to continue the dolphin shows. But a shortage of animals, the deaths of six dolphins at the zoo since 2006 and zoo officials’ inability to find other dolphins prompted them to announce in May that the dolphin exhibit would end in the fall.

Full story: MPR news

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