Aquarium of Niagara holding 40th birthday celebration for Sandy the harbor seal this weekend


NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) – The Aquarium of Niagara has celebrations planned all weekend for Sandy the Harbor Seal’s 40th birthday.

Sandy was rescued off of the coast of Washington state in 1980 as an abandoned pup.

“Abandoned harbor seal pups do not have the skills necessary to survive in their natural environment, so Sandy was deemed non-releasable and brought to the Aquarium of Niagara,” the Aquarium said in a Saturday press release.

She became famous in 1987 when she became the first harbor seal in the world to undergo a successful cataract removal surgery.  

The average lifespan of a harbor seal is 20-25 years, which means Sandy has lived double the amount of time she would be expected to survive in her natural environment.

“Sandy’s 40th birthday is truly a testament to the high level of care provided at the Aquarium of Niagara,” said Executive Director Gary Siddall. “Sandy has been an integral part of the Aquarium for four decades, and we are thankful for the opportunity to help her celebrate her golden years in comfort and good health.”

Sandy’s birthday celebrations will take place Saturday and Sunday and will include an ice cake at noon both days. Aquarium visitors can purchase themed cookies, a Sandy-themed adoption package, and a Sandy plush.

The Aquarium is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday.

Due to COVID-19-related capacity restrictions, visitors are strongly encouraged to purchase admission tickets online ahead of their visit.

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