St. Louis Zoo Sea Lion Sound

The Sea Lion Show opened June 30, 2012 at the St. Louis Zoo in its new Lichtenstein Sea Lion Arena. Our role was to provide shade and rain protection over the new Arena without forward posts to obstruct the view of the show.

This new venue replaced the Zoo’s former sea lion arena, which for 57 years, was home to various animal shows.The new tensile structure measures 135’ wide with a 35’ projection that covers an 811-seat amphitheater, a large stage, a rock bridge extending into the audience and a high diving platform and slide.

The cantilevered tensile structure shades the audience during the sea lion shows surrounding the 39,000-gallon transparent pool. In addition to 600 yards of fabric weather protection, the client requested a design with artistic flare that would be dramatically striking and provide an amazing atmosphere for guests to enjoy.The installation was very complex due to the entire fabric membrane being set in one piece and the small restricted area surrounding the arena to maneuver our equipment. Our installation team used two man lifts and two 55 ton cranes to place the fabric in the arena for attachment to the posts. Extensive engineering precision was involved in the overall installation. Our goal was to ensure audience comfort during the shows and the tensile structure definitely provides ample shade, wind and rain protection.