Some sad news from our friends at the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward this afternoon.
“The Alaska SeaLife Center is saddened to announce the passing of Woody, a 22-year-old male Steller sea lion who was one of the Center’s original residents. Woody was humanely euthanized Monday following a rapid decline due to age-related complications. Since 1998, over two million visitors had the opportunity to meet Woody at the ASLC in Seward. He was well-known for his sheer size (topping out over 2400 pounds in 2014), large personality, and curious intelligence.”
For the legions of Alaska visitors, Woody represented the face of Seward’s most popular attraction. Loud, bold, and decidedly adorable at the same time, this enormous Stellar sea lion educated and amused everyone who arrived at his tank.
So many children, including my own, grew up watching Woody swim down to greet them at the lower level tank window, curiously brushing up ever-so-gently against the pane to see what these pint-sized humans would do. Eyes grew large and voices chorused around the facility, “He’s looking AT ME!”
And so he did, over and over, and over again. For 17 years.
We’ll miss you Woody. And I promise, we’ll keep your memory within our line of sight every time we visit.