Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Orlando, part 6: Sea World

A couple things: 1) I love Sea World. Yes, I've watched Blackfish, and no, I don't want to talk about how zoos aren't very nice for animals because they need wide open spaces and natural habitats and blah blah blah. The fact is, I'd never actually see these animals in person were it not for such establishments. So yes, I love Sea World. 2) This was the day Joel began to feel not very well, so yes there are fewer pictures.

We hit the new penguin exhibit right away, since my brother-in-law said that the wait gets long pretty quickly. Lucky for us, we waited long enough for them to open the doors. I was a bit confused - are we going on a ride? I thought we were just going to see some penguins? Turns out it's both. You take a little ride, following some animated adventure of a penguin just being hatched. You spin and glide around and then the music swells and the narration tells you he's joining his family and your car spins and this curtain goes up and BAM, there's a whole huge glass window with real live penguins running around on ice. I cannot do it justice, but I'm not going to lie - I got a little choked up. When I say I hate birds, I exclude birds of prey, penguins, and birds taller than me. This just makes sense. Also, I reserve the right to accept birds on a case by case basis. Parakeets will NEVER be accepted.

So then you step off your car or whatever it's called that you're riding in, and you stand behind a short glass barrier and you are literally (and you know I use that word sparingly) a foot away from penguins. There they walk and dive and swim right past you. It was amazing. I loved it. Also, it was freezing in there. Again, literally. Good thing we were accustomed to Orlando's frigid winter and had brought jackets accordingly. My sister-in-law Katherine told us how, in the summer, it can become quite uncomfortable. Having come prepared, we were able to enjoy quite a lot of time in there. It was really amazing.

I am a big believer in feeding the animals. I will pay insane amounts of money for sardines or crackers or whatever they feed the animals, and then insist we all de-cootie our hands with soap and water, but in the meantime we WILL feed these animals.

Like a complete amateur, I disregarded the sign to watch out for seagulls, and at our first feeding stop (the sea lions), I was showing my kids how to hold out the fish and the toss it out too the basking sea lions. The sardine left my hand in what was surely going to be an expert arc when a cunning seagull who had obviously been studying my technique from his nearby lair, launched himself and incepted the food. As if the birding community has completely given up on impressing me. Oh I hate them so much. So I used that as an example of what, obviously, NOT to do. Oh I hate them so much.

 Cute girl, hanging with some sea lions.
 look - you can see those birds taking off. oh i hate them.
 I'm pretty sure this guy got SOME fish.
 Nice pose, Mr. C. Lion
basking in the sun (both of them)

walrus and sea lion show
 entertained (not the guy in the background)

 the walrus is like the most epic slug ever.
watching a manatee is perhaps the most zen feeling

We concluded the day by watching a training session with the Orca whales. While there wasn't an actual show (while they work on the stadium), we got to see them closer than we would have, otherwise. It was really beautiful, and a nice way to end our visit to the park. 

I'm quite proud of this shot, thank you very much