Thank You for 33 Years In Milwaukee!


After over three decades of providing educational seal and sea lion programming which both entertains and inspires zoo patrons, Ocean Connections has left the Milwaukee County Zoo.  This decision was made after several months of careful consideration and conversations.  The pool in Milwaukee is 38 years old and is in need of restoration to remain operational and meet the welfare standards which are essential in housing marine mammals. The Milwaukee County Zoo decided not to allocate funds to these renovations and instead retired the facility at the close of 2023. 

Ocean Connections was founded in Milwaukee, WI and was the only facility in the state to house California sea lions. “Providing forever homes to seals and sea lions, including rescued, non-releasable animals which touch the heart and teach the minds of our guests has allowed us to introduce thousands of children to the world of marine mammals, inspiring empathy and stewardship for our natural world. It is with great sadness that we now lose such an instrumental community reach.” said Ocean Connections President and CEO, Shelley Ballmann. “Our commitment to the community will remain strong as we plan to continue school outreach and community programs within the Greater Milwaukee area as well as within our sister parks in Hersheypark, PA, Pigeon Forge, TN and Myrtle Beach, SC. “  

The Ocean Connections animals remain our highest priority. Our animals have been relocated to our sister facilities and are adjusting to their new homes. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you all so much for the love over the years and we look forward to your continued support.