Interactive aquarium SeaQuest Littleton to close

Owners of the interactive wildlife facility SeaQuest Littleton are closing its doors next month. The company announced in a Facebook post Friday that its last day at the Southwest Plaza location will be Feb. 4th.

“SeaQuest continues its strength as a company and will still operate in states that support our interactive business model,” the statement read. “We believe this is such a value to the community, and we are thrilled that we can create a magical and unforgettable experience for every guest by connecting them with amazing animals from all over the planet.”

The Littleton location of the national chain has faced scrutiny from animal rights groups such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

In a post on their blog, PETA called the closure a “victory.”

“It's cruel shopping mall petting where countless animals have been subjected to the facility's incompetence and they've suffered painful injuries or horrific deaths,” said Michelle Sinnott, PETA Foundation’s captive animal law enforcement director. “The Littleton location has been in hot water since before it even opened to the public.” 

SeaQuest was founded in 2015. Before it opened its doors in 2018, the Colorado Department of Agriculture issued a cease and desist to SeaQuest Littleton for not having a permit. The company has been cited numerous times by state and federal agencies. 

Incidents at the site included a sloth being severely burned by a heat lamp, patrons stomping birds to death, and several animals that drowned. There have also been over 40 incidents involving injuries from animal interactions. SeaQuest was also cited and paid fines for illegal animals trafficking

Colorado Parks and Wildlife suspended SeaQuest Littleton’s exhibitor’s license for two years due to numerous violations. Sinnott says the Littleton location isn’t the only site experiencing issues.

“They're a chain of hands-on shopping malls where there's nothing but endless suffering and neglect on display. Animals are trapped inside shopping malls where they're in barren, wholly inadequate enclosures,” Sinnott said. “They're focused on hands-on encounters, which is horrible for the animals and the people involved because you're forcing wild animals into interactions with the public, which is dangerous for everyone.”