After Five Years Teachers Can Resume Field Trips To See Sparky the Sea Lion at Como Zoo, and Multiple Questions of ‘Why Does Sparky Look Different?’

ST. PAUL — After five years, the Sparky the Sea Lion Show is finally returning to the Como Zoo in an updated habitat at Como Harbor in the new KSTP Amphitheater. Teachers say they are thrilled to have their students experience this exhibit once again. Mostly.

“I loved seeing the Sparky show as a kid, and I know the kids are excited to have Sparky back!” said Montessori teacher Diane Jenkins. “But I also know these kids are observant enough to realize this isn’t the same Sparky from years ago, and that is not a conversation I want to have right now.”

Children who have seen the new Sparky show have reacted with a mix of joy and strife as they watch this much younger, spotty, and timid Sparky perform tricks for the crowd. But adults are trying to focus on keeping things positive.

“Look, these kids are just getting out of distance learning and still dealing with COVID,” said Jenkins. “We–I mean–they deserve whatever lies will bring them joy! Oh class, ha ha ha, look! Sparky is balancing a tiny, blue ball on his nose!”

Other children are setting aside their doubts and keeping up with the charade.

“I need this.” rasped student Kirby, eleven, while nervously chain sucking a Ring Pop.

At press time, Jenkins assured everyone it was the exact same Sparky from 1956.