2/17/2008 - 2/23/2008
South To The Sun
"A Winter Break trip to San Diego"
We were in slow mode this morning and didn't manage to get out of the
condo and to Sea World until 11:30am. This puts us in a bit of a
bind as the "Pet's Rule" show Dawn wants to see is at 1:30pm and the only Shamu "Believe" show is at 2:30pm. Our "Dolphin Interaction"
session is booked for 3:30pm.
We found a locker to stash our suits in and then made
our way to the Penguin exhibit. They had quite a collection of
penguins in a special refrigerated viewing area behind glass. They
are quite entertaining to watch swim and walk; some you would swear
were stuffed they stood so still.
From there we went over to the Arctic Adventure
building. We skipped the full motion simulated helicopter ride and
went straight to the exhibits. First up were the Beluga whales.
There were 3 of them out in the tank, including one that was with 3 kids
doing the 'Arctic Interaction' program. We had considered this when we
were making plans, but by the looks on the kids faces we were glad we
passed on the cold water whales.
The Beluga's were great to watch as they played in
their tank. Next up was the Polar bears, both of whom were sound
asleep, followed by the Walrus. What a giant creature he was,
slowly swimming around his tank mostly upside down.
We then went to Atlantis and Sam and Mike took a ride
on the coaster/water ride. Before we knew it it was 1:00pm and we
needed to adjust our plans. Wanting to see more sea animals we
decided to skip the 'Pet's Rule" show as we can always watch our own
dogs at home.
By a very round about route we made our way to the
tide pools which were quite disappointing compared to what we see up
here on boat trips all the time. From there it was over to the Ray
tank where you could reach in and pet them as they swam around in the
We checked out the Moray Eels then went on to the
Otters which were also disappointing. There were just two otters
and while one swam back on forth the other just spun in a circle going
We considered riding the
river rapids ride but on seeing how wet people were at the end of it we
decided to pass.
We grabbed some Pizza to eat and made our way with
pretty much the every other person in the park to the only showing of
the Killer Whales. I guess that's what you get when you come in
the off season. The lack of crowds was a plus however.
There were 5 whales taking part in the show, one large
one with a curled dorsal fin that we think was suppose to be 'Shamu' and 4 smaller ones. It was a good
show with lots of jumping and splashing alone and in groups as well as
posing up on the side decks. No trainers were in the water riding
or playing with the whales as I guess that old school type show is not
allowed any more.
When the show ended we made our way through the crowd
to our locker and then over to the 'Dolphin Interaction' area. We checked in and filled
out our forms and soon were in the classroom with the trainer learning
about Dolphins. The Dunn boys were the stars of the class asking
good questions and always having the answer to the trainers questions.
From there it was into the locker rooms to suit up
in our wet suits. They do the interaction program with 16 people
at a time in 4 groups. We were all 5 able to all be together as one
group on 'C' platform in the tank.
We climbed down the ladder into the water and spent a
little time getting warmed up in our suits as the water was cool but
Our Dolphin was
'Maggie', the youngest of their trained dolphins at 2.5 years old.
In the wild Dolphins live to be 10-15 years old. In captivity they
live 30-40 years so Maggie was a very energetic youngster compared to
most of their dolphins.
We started out the session with a few hello's from
Maggie as we gave the 'talk' hand sign, then we did the dolphin 'spin'
and finally the most important sign of all, the sign to have Maggie
produce 'fart' sounds from her blow hole. A very handy trick to
We then sent her on a high speed race around the pool with
the other 3 dolphins and even though she got a late start her youth
showed and she passed everyone by the end.
Next up was the sign to send her leaping high above
the water. After warning the other trainers to keep their animals
clear we sent Maggie off for a some air, and boy did she get some air.
You could tell she was a bundle of energy ready to go and she leaped higher than the trainer had ever seen her leap on her three jumps to the
sky. It was amazing how far above the water she got in the
relatively small pool.
Sam was up next as the star pitcher of our team
launching a fish into her open mouth as she jumped clear above the
Afterwards the photographers said they were impressed as
few actually get the fish near let alone in the dolphins mouth, but Sam was right on
Next the rest of us had some private time with our
family dolphin, Mike doing the splash walk, Dawn dancing with the
dolphin, Me doing the fart walk, and Nick taking a stroll in the park
hand in hand with his girl. We then all gave her a good tail rub.
Following that we each posed with Maggie for our
portraits while we held and kissed her. Then it was time for more air as
she jumped high over our heads for a family picture. We then sent
her across the pool for a tail walk on the water.
So how much water do you think a single dolphin can
splash with their tail while upside down in the pool? The answer
is a whole lot and soon we were all nicely soaked.
Since we were
wet we each took a turn diving across the platform with Maggie at our
side, of course splashing even more water on those watching in the
A final pet of Maggies back and we were done. We
all headed back into the locker room for hot showers and to get dressed.
After looking at the hundreds of pictures shot by our photographer we
picked up our photo CD of a great Sea World experience.
By the time we were done it was after 5 and the park
was closed for the day. We made our way back to the van in the
parking lot and drove home to the condo.
Dawn and I made a quick
trip out to KFC for dinner for the kids then left them under the
watchful care of Sam as we made our way to 'Gringo's for drinks and
dinner. The Thursday night special was Giganto Margaritas for the
price of Grande Margarita's. These and Fajitas for two made a nice
end to a great day.
After a nice stroll along the boardwalk back to the
condo we joined the kids for popcorn as we watched a bit of TV before we
turned in for the night.