Friday, January 20, 2012

It's Friday! It's Dolphins Up Close!

While we were on vacation in Florida, we took a day away from the Disney parks and spent an entire day at Sea World.  For The Peanut, whose greatest ambition in life at the moment is to be a marine biologist and/or dolphin trainer (depending on the day you ask her and how recently she's seen Dolphin Tale), it was the greatest day EVER.

We booked a behind-the-scenes up close with dolphins tour before we left.  But we didn't tell her about it until we were on the way to Sea World.  And she had no idea about the up close tour until we lined up for it to begin.

Surprises are so awesome, aren't they?

We had an absolute blast on this tour.  The first stop was at the nursery area, where they had some "baby" dolphins with their mothers -- the young ones were ages 6 months or so up to a year and a half.  We got to help feed them at a scheduled feeding time, which was quite exciting for The Peanut (let alone her momma!).

Then we moved on to the much larger adult pool area, where we got paired off by families with a one-on-one session with a trainer.  We got to help feed three of the gentler ladies in the pool, which was really nice for The Peanut because they were friendly and really interactive with her.

I think because The Peanut was one of the younger kids on the tour, they paired us up this way on purpose, and I really appreciate it because the friendly dolphins were wonderful.  So was the trainer we had as our guide -- she talked nonstop with The Peanut about education and training that she could do as a kid if she really, really wanted to work with sea animals or be a biologist, and she also helped teach us some signals that the dolphins recognized for some behavioral cues, which was super fun for our Peanut.

All in all, it was a wonderful experience, and one I'd do again in a heartbeat.

Sure, we spent the rest of the day smelling like fish guts and old sea water, but it was completely worth it.  Mr. ReddHedd was over to the side taking more photos which I'll share soon, but as you can see from the ones above, The Peanut and I had a blast.  Even with the splashing!

If your kids love animals, especially anything about the ocean, this is a wonderful way to dip more than a toe into the subject matter.  Based on the fact that The Peanut now wants to set up an "ocean research station" in her room, I'd say it was a huge hit.

(These particular photos are via the photographers at Sea World.  Photos taken by Mr. ReddHedd will get uploaded at some point in the near future, as well as all the shots I took in and around the rest of our vacation.  Much more vacation to come, folks...)


Christy Hardin Smith said...

PS -- Does anyone know if you can buy the original Silent World or World Without Sun movies by Jacques Cousteau on DVD? I see they have a much pricier Blu-Ray version out, but we don't have that kind of player. I just want a regular DVD one, but can't find it available anywhere. If anyone has an answer on that, I'd love to know. Thanks mucho! Someones birthday is in March, and I thought it would be a fun thing to get her for us to watch on our family movie nights. I remember being spellbound by those as a kid --- they were so beautifully filmed and utterly mesmerizing.

Maureen said...

Hi Christy...have you tried Amazon for the movie? They have many old movies and they have "used" ones for almost nothing. I have bought many of the "used ones" and they are perfect. You might also try any of the video shops in your area...sometimes they will see you the copy!

If she is such an animal lover, go to and also bearstudy and check out the site. At this moment I am watching a bear called Jewel who is expected to give birth to one or two or maybe three cubs at any time....Have been stuck here watching her as she is amazing. The head of the Bear center in Ely, MN by the name of Dr. Lynn Rogers is a biologist who has studied bears for over 40 years..he and his assistant, Sue Mansfield, have a wonderful educational set up there and they are pushing to get programs about bears into schools. Right now there are over 500 schools linked into the Den Camera in her den to watch the birth or at least watch the little ones grow. Cubs stay with the mother for two or three years and you can really become very attached to them. I found the site about two years ago when one of the births of Jewel's sister Lilly was televised for the first time on the internet and they have over 100,000 fans worldwide now watching this birth. At the moment Jewel is grooming herself as she does every few hours and the camera films her every move. Hopefully the little ones will be born tomorrow or the next day as there are a lot of tired fans watching at all hours of the day and night..Right now there are over 2000 viewers on line.

You may not have any interest, but believe me, after you have read the info on both sites, you will be amazed...These Black Bears of North America can be almost like children in the wild and they are also very gentle souls. They are still wild animals but Lynn Rogers has been able to become "friends" with about 30-40 bears in his study area. They live in the wild and are wild, but they know him and Sue and they are amazing together. Not your circus type bear...but gentle and awesome creatures. I am now one of their biggest fans. This summer there were some loose young bears roaming thru towns south of Boston the thankfully the cops knew enough not to shoot them, but warned the families to stay inside til they left the neighborhood and not to feed them..or else they might say! :)

I didn't mean to get so wound up but as you can tell, I am stuck on these wonderful animals. Doubt I will ever get to the bear center in Ely, Mn...but would love to go. At least the education and knowledge I have learned in to last two years has made a big difference in my life and I am becoming an animal activist in my old age!! :)

Hope you are feeling ok and are better. Haven't been over here in some time, but it appears that your blog is doing for you what you expected. I am glad for that. I will try to come back for a good read of the blog next week if I am home. Now running into Dr. appointments for hubby for his quarterly checkups..he is a liver transplant patient 12 years out from the surgery. They all keep a great watch on him and say he is very healthy for a 73 year old man!! Thank God!! I promise I will be back!!

Love to you, the Peanut and Mr. Reddhead!!

Maureen Maloney, Wakefield, MA