What to Know
- Ellie has resided at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach since it opened in 1998
- She turned 32 on May 16
- The pinniped is the Long Beach aquarium's "oldest mammal resident"
Chocolate, vanilla, lemon, raspberry-filled, coconut, or caramel?
The flavor choices, at least when it comes to picking out a perfect birthday cake, are as plentiful as the colorful sprinkles that frequently top a frosting-fun confection.
And while we all have our favorites in the cake department, and our favorites usually cover a wide and whimsical gamut, few humans would enthusiastically elect "frozen clam smoothie" as the theme of their special sweet.
But let's be real: If you were a harbor seal, that's the exact flavor that would catch your fancy.
And fancy this: Ellie, the "oldest mammal resident" at the Aquarium of the Pacific, enjoyed a birthday cake that most definitely featured a frozen clam smoothie, as well as "ice, vet approved food dye," and, of course, some tasty fish, too.
This whimsical dessert, presented to the whiskery denizen of the Long Beach-based aquarium, was created to honor the sweet harbor seal's 32nd birthday. Snapshots shared on the institution's social pages showed the clam-loving cutie about to chow down on the icy dessert.
A few notable facts about the lovely Ellie?
She has lived at the Aquarium of the Pacific since it opened in 1998.
Born in 1989 at another AZA-accredited aquarium, Ellie received a special spotlight in an in-depth piece written by aquarium volunteer Hugh Ryono in 2017.
The volunteer spoke warmly of his one-on-one time working with the spunky pinniped. Due to Ellie's growing "visual difficulties," Mr. Ryono trained the harbor seal to use her "...whiskers instead of her eyesight to find objects thrown into the water."
"I also introduced using ice cube splashes to form trails of wavelets to help lead her to the object and using my voice to guide her back to me. Ellie being a smart little seal caught on fast," shared the volunteer.
You can see this "smart little seal" in person and wish her a happy 32nd birthday daily at the aquarium, which is again open to visitors with advance reservations.
There are also some special happenings at the Aquarium of the Pacific, like the chance to go behind-the-scenes and watch a training session with a bird ambassador.
And in-person summer camp is returning to the aquarium, too, with two different programs created for aspiring aquarists.