Sea Lions - the Life and Times
Some of the oldest residents of Alton Towers were a colony of Sea Lions that took residence on the lawns of the Towers alongside the boating lake. The Sea Lions first arrived at Alton Towers in 1967 where a custom made pool had been built next to what was at that time was one of the car parks drawing large crowds, throughout their days, but especially for the spectacle of feeding time.
When the Sea Lions first arrived they were on relatively open ground towards what was then the edge of the park, however over the years they saw much development surrounding them, first with the development of Aqualand, and subsequently the nearby construction of Towers Street, leaving the Skyride as their nearest neighbour.
What Happened Next...
The Sea Lions entertained the crowds at Alton Towers for almost 25 years and were a popular attraction, right through to the start of the 90s. However with the park's change in management when Tussauds took over and increasing animal welfare demands, it was decided that their old pool was too restrictive, leading to the decision to move the animals out of the park to a more suitable facility for their needs. The Sea Lions therefore left the park at the end of 1990.
But the story didn't end there... After the Sea Lions departed from the park their pool was turned into a pay-to-play remote controlled boats attraction, adding obstacles into pool and transforming the island into a small township To draw in the guests. Unfortunately the location of the pool means that it was not adjacent to any of the paths in the area and so was a little out of the way, and whilst the Sea Lions had been able to draw in the crowds, the remote control boats were less successful.
This ultimately spelt the end for the Sea Lion pool, which was filled in for the 1994 season. However during the hot summers, at times you can still see where the pool used to reside on the lawns as the grass dries out in the heat. The location of the pool is most striking when observed from the roof of the Towers.