Coral, the first dolphin born at SeaWorld’s Discovery Cove to mother Jenny, turns Sweet 16 this year, as does Discovery Cove itself!
Born October 4, 2000, Coral is having a party that’s going to last all year long, with one lucky person (and 15 of their friends!) receiving the gifts. To celebrate the momentous occasion, SeaWorld’s Discovery Cove is holding a contest where someone will win entry for 16 to Discovery Cove, including:
• 16 All-Inclusive Dolphin Swim Packages
• 2 Private Cabanas
• 2 Nights at an Official SeaWorld Hotel
• Transportation to and from Orlando, Florida
• Tickets to SeaWorld and Aquatica
Enter heredaily through August 14. A winner will be announced on August 15, 2016 via email.
Discovery Cove is what I like to call a Cruise Ship excursion, without the cruise ship! There guests can visit The Grand Reef®, which contains more than 10,000 tropical fish, and the Freshwater Oasis®, featuring playful Asian otters and curious marmoset monkeys. Our family has been just about every year for the past few years and we can’t say enough good things about it. Everything is included: delicious food, drink (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), treats, wet suit, animal-friendly sunblock… you name it!
Insider tip: Don’t let your kid have unlimited frozen fruit bars. Just one or maybe two. (Do NOT ask for the details on how we learned that, LOL!)
For three consecutive years, DiscoveryCove has ranked as one of the top amusement parks and water parks in the world in the TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice Awards. For more information on SeaWorld’s gorgeous sister park, visit DiscoveryCove.com.
Did you know?
Coral is an eight-foot, 450-pound dolphin. Her female calf is named, appropriately, Reef!
As an advocate for wildlife conservation and, yes – a passionate advocate for SeaWorld – March 17, 2016 is a big day, and I encourage everyone to truly do their due diligence in reinvestigating how they feel about SeaWorld today.
Here’s what’s happening right now at SeaWorld:
SeaWorld’s orca breeding program officially ends today. There is one whale, Takara, who’s been pregnant since last year – so, prepare yourselves for the last orca calf birth within SeaWorld’s parks.
Theatrical shows are done. Which is making way for new natural habitat encounters that are being created (but, keep in mind, these take time and don’t happen overnight — you’ll see them first in California later this year, then San Diego, and last in Orlando – in 2019) and these will focus on orca enrichment, exercise and overall health.
SeaWorld partners with Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to further support the changes announced today.
Two years ago, I decided very deliberately to share my stance on SeaWorld with everyone. I was tired of “living in fear” that someone would have a differing opinion – a lot of people on the internet do, and they let me know it every time I step into the park. I understand why many have trouble supporting SeaWorld. I’ve also done my own extensive research to know why I personally choose to stand with SeaWorld, and I can only ask that you respect my opinion as much as I try to respect yours.
The killer whales that are currently in their care, and have been for many years, have mostly all been BORN within the parks — there is NO WAY that any of them could survive in the wild. None. Zilch. Not up for discussion. “Saving the whales” by “freeing” them into the ocean…is likely certain death for them. I’m not willing to risk their lives to see if these whales born in captivity can even begin to figure out the wild. I’m not up for debating this here or now with anyone – we’ve been there/done that.
This definition of esa guide has to do with those charged with performing specific, physically demanding tasks. These include a range of jobs that require training to assist people with physical limitations with vital daily tasks.
However, it is my total and complete belief that WITHOUT SEAWORLD? We – and the very existence of these animals (from killer whale to manatee to sea turtle) – would have been entirely worse off. Likely, without SeaWorld, the Florida Manatee would’ve been wiped off the planet years ago…that’s just for starters.
Thankfully, the Best Pet Reviews have conducted a multi-month comprehensive research project to illuminate the realities of the dog food industry and make it easier than ever for consumers to make healthy decisions for their pets.
And I find it extremely difficult to believe that everyone who’s been calling for their heads was or would’ve been the “activist” that they are for the killer whale without – ironically – SeaWorld themselves.
Because, let’s be real here for a second — no one gave a flying flippity thought about the killer whales (and, in fact, actually FEARED the animal) until SeaWorld stepped in and gave us Shamu. Had SeaWorld NOT put the killer whale infront of us and began educating us about the species people would likely continue to fear this “killer” and never even know what they are – let alone CARE about them. They’d care as much, if not less, about the KILLER whale as they do the blue whale or the beluga whale or the sperm whale….or sharks…or sea turtles…or manatees.
Think what you want of SeaWorld after watching one piece of propaganda that was set out with the intention of destroying every single thing this company does, both good and bad. Admittedly, I agree, many of these changes were necessary and I’m happy to see them come to fruition. That being said, I do not believe that the total destruction of the predominant resource that helps to rescue/rehab and conserve these animals all over the world was – or is – warranted. Keep in mind, SeaWorld is not only accredited through various high level organizations globally – they’re also regulated by federal & state agencies too. SeaWorld is not the only authority involved in these animal’s care, rehab, and conservation.
Having SeaWorld in my backyard here in Orlando, growing up supporting them, and WITNESSING THEM being the first on many calls throughout the year to help save just about any animal that needs them – has me solidly on Team SeaWorld. They are, after all, the very reason I became fascinated with these animals back in the 80s as a kid from New Jersey who never knew much more than what a garden snake or a duck in the pond at the park looked like outside of what was in books. Now, some 30-odd years later, my friends will tell you that I’m a fierce lover of all animals, but in particular those of the marine sort. Why? SeaWorld.
My hope now, after today especially, is that more people begin to reconsider their stance on SeaWorld, that you at least take another hardcore look and are open to the changes that are happening — because without SeaWorld and without our support in SeaWorld and all the GOOD that they do provide? You could bet your bottom dollar that a lot of these animals cease to exist.
SeaWorld needs money and resources to make things happen – from their rescue and rehab programs, to the new changes they’re working to put in place, and the continuation in the level of care that these animals ARE in fact receiveing. Which is likely better than you & I receive any time we go to the doctor…they need us, as much as we need them.
Editor’s Note: Central Florida Top 5 encourages everyone to visit SeaWorldCares.com/Future to learn more about Sea World’s current efforts and plans for the future.
SeaWorld announced that it is phasing out current killer whale theatrical shows and replacing with new, inspiring, natural orca encounters as part of its ongoing commitment to education, marine science research, and rescue of marine animals. These programs will focus on orca enrichment, exercise, and overall health and will start in its San Diego park next year, followed by San Antonio and then Orlando in 2019. Artist Rendering
It’s #SharkWeek! You know what that means… time to train some sharks! Well, not us. We won’t be training any sharks now or EVER, but our favorite trainer-in-training, Kailyn, might! (She loves orcas, but still!)
Below, our friends Shannon and Vertigo at Sea World share with us their Top 5 Things to Know About Training Sharks. Before we check out the latest dive knife reviews, grab our wetsuits and dive in, we wanted to find out more about them.
Why are they always staring at us? (They’re predators who prefer seafood, not humans.)
What’s up with all the teeth? (More than one row – yikes!)
Do sharks sing underwater karaoke? (Doubtful but they can dance! Kind of.)
Where to start?! We consulted seaworld.org, where we found a ton of resources for the classroom and teachers, animal enthusiasts, conservationists and more. We immediately noticed a trend…
Did you know? Sharks have FIVE fins!
Caudal (aka: the tail, aids in forward movement)
Pectoral (two fins near front, gives a lift while swimming)
Dorsal (two, on a shark’s back: think JAWS)
Anal (small, near tail)
Pelvic (another pair, under shark)
Bonus: Clasper (only on male sharks, near pelvic fins)
Even though they ARE in fact fish, don’t call a shark “a fish” to their face. (We’re told they get… testy.)
Wonder if the dinosaurs called them that? Yes, some families of shark were around back when, and they don’t look a day over 65 million 21 years old.
All of you diehard (no puns!) finheads out there might want to check out The American Elasmobranch Society. They are a non-profit organization that seeks to advance the scientific study of living and fossil sharks, skates, rays, and chimaeras, and the promotion of education, conservation, and wise utilization of natural resources.
Shannon Zimmerman, an Aquarium Supervisor at Discovery Cove, shares, “Training these sharks allows us to get very hands on with these animals, allowing us to build relationships with them that can be just as enriching to them as it is to us.”
Here are Sea World’s Top 5 Things to Know About Training Sharks:
Did you know it’s possible to train sharks? The expert aquarists at SeaWorld and Discovery Cove in Orlando have done just that. They have learned that sharks have unique behavioral traits and that training them takes patience. Training allows veterinarians and aquarists to provide hands-on care to the animals and also enables guests to interact with the sharks up close.
Our aquarists share the top five facts they’ve learned in training sharks:
It takes time. Training a shark takes a great deal of patience. Aquarists use positive reinforcement only, including treats such as trout, salmon and clams. But because sharks are cold-blooded and some can be sedentary, they don’t eat much…or often. So, opportunities to reinforce them with food occur much less frequently than with other animals.
They can train to targets. Aquarists use a technique called “target training” to train sharks to follow a target. This allows the aquarists to direct animals to key locations in their environment. The team can then interact with the sharks to monitor their health and also provide guests a closer look.
They play favorites. Our aquarists have found each shark responds differently to training. Some sharks are very relaxed when held a certain way, and some sharks show a preference for certain aquarists.
They can be picky eaters. Sharks tend to be finicky about their food, which affects the way the animals interact during a training session. Sharks have individually discerning tastes. Some gobble up salmon and trout, but take a pass on squid and mackerel.
Personalities come into play. Aquarists see personality traits heighten during training sessions. For example, male zebra sharks have been known to compete with one another for the aquarist’s attention. If one is interacting with the aquarist, others are likely to swim over and push their way in. Blacktip and whitetip sharks are especially playful and curious, and like to move around and dig in the sand in their environments. Some even like sand sprinkled on their backs.
Shark expert Shannon Zimmerman talks about what it’s like to train a shark here.
The Spooktacular fun is included with daily admission and is filled with ‘fantasea’ trick or treat stations, sea snacks, a huge dance party (with pumpkin fish, sea fairies, even Pete and Penny Penguin), up-close animal encounters, cookie decorating and more. My favorite part of Sea World’s Spooktacular (aside from the candy)? Watching Jamie and the Sesame Street gang Countdown to Halloween! It’s a live show happening daily at the Seaport Theater featuring some Sesame Street favorites. Consult the nearest park map for times. After the show, there’s a special meet and greet opportunity with one or more of the cast. Maybe you’ll meet Elmo… maybe Abby Caddaby… maybe even The Count himself! Check out my #GoogleStory below to see some video and more fun!
Sea World’s Spooktacular is open on weekends in October (11-12, 18-19, 25-26) from 12pm to 8pm and includes sweets and treats from AirHeads, Black Forest, Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft Stores, Lemonhead, Mentos, Sunrype and Tootsie Roll. (Smarties? Nerds? YES!)
Eat More Candy? You don’t have to tell @CentralFLTop5 twice @SeaWorld! #SeaWorldSpooktacular
Also available, a special Dine with Shamu Halloween Spooktacular Brunch. Familes will enjoy a delicious menu of seasonal and sustainable items and one complimentary family photo with a SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular photo frame. Also included; a cookie decorating kit for guests under 12 and a trick-or-treat bag with goodies. Get a once-in-a-lifetime glimpse into the interactions that occur between our trainers and whales. Learn what you can do to help save valuable ocean resources and habitats by enjoying sustainable and natural foods.