Friday, April 27, 2012

Sea World

When we first had Addie, Brian and I decided that we would use our birthdays to do something fun as a family. We didn't want to focus on ourselves individually but on "us" as a family.

This year we decided to use Brian's birthday to go to Sea World. For Florida residents, we have the option of adding Sea World to our Busch Gardens tickets, and because the parks have a "free two park pass" for children 5 years old and younger, Brian and I decided to upgrade our tickets this year.

The first thing we did upon arriving was visiting the sting ray petting pool. Brian did all of the petting. Addie was only interested in watching.

Addie was fascinated by it all......

......and this is what Ian thought of it.

Then, of course, the "teacher" in me came out as we looked at the baby rays.

Next, we moved on to the dolphins. We were able to watch them play, and they blew water on us with their blow holes.

And with all that was going on.... this rock was more interesting to Bud. Go figure!

After watching the dolphins play from above, we went down to the observation area and watched them play under the water. Addie was amazed by the hugeness of it all. And there is just something about watching these beautiful animals play so close to you.

While we were watching, I noticed one dolphin moving a lot slower than the others. It appeared that the tail wasn't working correctly. It swam to the wall and sank to the bottom of the pool (you can vaguely see it in the photo below).

It bothered me, because dolphins are mammals and breathe air. Other dolphins swam over to it and began trying to help push it to the surface. I told Brian there was a problem and ran to the park worker at the entrance to the area.

I felt like Dora the Explorer and Diego Animal Rescuer wrapped up in one (yep, they are our heroes right now).

The worker sounded very patronizing as I told her what I had seen. I went back to Brian and saw that the dolphin was still on the bottom. People began video taping the dolphin. Other dolphins kept coming around to it to try pushing it up.

Addie was watching all of this.

I felt sad and hopeless. Hands were just above it from people trying to pet the dolphins and lots of people were on its level watching it. Suddenly it made a push for the surface and took a breath. Then it swam very slowly at the surface. Brian decided it was time for us to move on, but as we left, I saw that same worker on the phone system talking to someone and she seemed concerned. Finally!

We headed for the dolphin show (absolutely spectacular!). And we got to enjoy the dolphins doing what they do best- play as a group- with an awesome soundtrack in the background.

My favorite part? Seeing the awe and excitement in Addie's eyes.

We headed for the Shark Encounter after making our reservations for dinner at the Underwater Shark Grill.

We went through the tunnel that goes through the massive shark tank. Sharks swam above and beside us. Addie held on tightly to Daddy the first time around. By the fourth time (yes, we went through the exhibit four times!), she was such a pro that she practically had her own stand-up comedy act going on and had other park goers laughing.

The quality of the photo below is horrible, but it will give you some perspective as to the tank and our restaurant. I Photo shopped some words onto the photo itself to show you where the window wall was. We were seated right next to the window to look right into the tank!

Brian's birthday dinner.

We also went to see the Shamu show and the otter and sea lion show, but we were all beginning to wilt and were very ready to head home.

We will be returning at least one more time this year- possibly two more times. We had a great time celebrating Brian's birthday as a family.


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