The program is designed to both educate the users and provide stimulation for the seals. Apparently, seals are very bright and get bored just swimming around. If you've ever been to the aquarium and seen a seal swimming in a circuit, that's them being bored.
We were given a couple of toys to play with. The first was literally just a garden hose.
Sure, it looks kinda lame, but when Nicole sprayed into the water, the seals came swooping in. They love the sensation, especially since they are finishing their molting season, which makes them feel like crap. The spray is like a little massage for them.
The other toys were “fishcicles,” which were ice toys filled with cut squid and a rubber chew toy. It looked gross.
But as the ice melts, the squid becomes exposed, and the seals WENT NUTS tugging and digging for that squid. According to Paul, the seal caretaker, the toys help the seals retain their ability to forage for food.
In all, it is a fabulous program, and definitely worth experiencing. Maybe instead of ripping off ideas for their ad campaigns, the aquarium could let more people know about these programs.