The Kansas City Zoo is opening its newest exhibit, Stingray Bay, on May 18.
Guests will have the opportunity to dip their hands into a shallow pool and discover the unique texture and movement of both cownose and southern stingrays. You’ll be able to tell the two species apart because cownose rays have a unique feature, Long, pointed pectoral fins that separate into two lobes in front of their high-domed heads. A crease in the lobes and a notched head create a cow-nose likeness that gives these rays their name. They also like to travel in a school through the pool. Southern stingrays have large, flat, diamond-shaped disks without distinct heads. They prefer to hang out or bury themselves in the sand.
In addition to stingrays, the tank will also be home to one of the smallest species of sharks, white-spotted bamboo sharks. These sharks are known as “cat sharks” because the barbels, or sensory organs near their mouths, resemble cat whiskers.
Stingray Bay is located between Helzberg Penguin Plaza and Discovery Barn and will be open year-round. The touch tank itself contains about 20,000 gallons of salt water and is shaped like a kidney bean. It’s shallower at the outer edge and built at a height that provides access to everyone. The center of the pool is deeper, so rays that choose not to be touched have a place to rest.
Entrance to Stingray Bay is included with regular Zoo admission.