- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 29, 2012

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Smithsonian’s National Zoo is preparing to open a renovated section featuring seals, California sea lions, beavers, eagles and other North American animals.

The American Trails exhibit opens Saturday after a renovation of the zoo’s lower valley. It has been designed with a landscape that evokes the native Pacific Coast habitat of many animals that are featured. The zoo says the facilities also were built with environmentally friendly features.

The new section allows visitors to come face-to-face with sea lions diving under water. It also features otters, new wolves and raves and a tide pool for children to splash and play.

The space also will be home to the Seal Rock Cafe serving sustainable seafood.



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