Last week Aaron and I attended the Media Mash-Up at SeaWorld Orlando. Aaron hasn’t been to SeaWorld in a few years and this visit included a behind-the-scenes tour so we were excited to learn about SeaWorld’s conservation work and enjoy some of the attractions the park has to offer.
We started back where they care for the rescued sea turtles, manatees and dolphins. SeaWorld parks have helped animals in need — ill, injured, orphaned and abandoned — for more than four decades. Nearly 20,000 animals have been rescued by the park’s animal experts including whales, dolphins, seals, sea lions, manatees, sea turtles and birds. This is the equivalent of helping one animal a day — every day — for 45 years. The majority of these animals are successfully treated by SeaWorld veterinarians, rehabilitated and returned to the wild. In a normal year SeaWorld will care for 13-30 rescued SeaTurtles. In 2010 they have already rescued 368 sea turtles and they have released 256! That is about 25 times more work and they have added no staff! The huge increase is due to both the January cold snap and the oil spill. We even got to see the orphaned manatee but we weren’t allowed to take pictures.
Our next stop was Pacific Point Preserve where park guests can feed the seals and sea lions. Then we headed to the much anticipated stop at an educational building that houses Magellanic Penguins! These penguins are used as ambassadors for SeaWorld because they can withstand temperatures in the 60’s, unlike most other penguin species. Aaron and I even got to pet Miss Mario the penguin!!
Next stop was dinner at the Sharks Underwater Grill. It was very cool eating dinner right next to the shark tank! We were served a Ceasar Salad, an appetizer platter with stuffed mushrooms, shrimp cocktail and bruschetta and this was followed by a dessert platter with chocolate cake filled with chocolate cake and covered in chocolate ganache, white chocolate mousse in a dark chocolate cage and fried tortillas dipped in chocolate and covered in coconut whipped cream. Needless to say the meal was yummy.
After eating all that food we were free to explore the park on our own, and encouraged to see the special summer nighttime shows. Our first stop was Manta! I rode this coaster last October and I couldn’t wait to introduce Aaron to it. Well Aaron’s tummy was bothering him so I got really brave and rode it alone! I still love this coaster but it wasn’t nearly as fun as it was riding it with Corrin, Toni, Dave and Laurie last fall. Next we walked around and checked out some of the animal exhibits before heading to Wild Arctic. After that we got in line for Shamu Rocks. This show was the whole reason Aaron wanted to go to SeaWorld and after waiting an hour in line to say it…we were both disappointed. The music is great but we both agree that the show was boring and didn’t live up to our expectations. I’m sure some of that has to do with the fact that the trainers no longer go in the water with the orcas thus leaving the show with just some dancers, an electric guitar player and some killer whales that wave at the crowd a lot.
After the show we decided to head back to our car. We had hoped to see the fireworks but we would have had to wait around over a half hour for them to begin and we had an almost 2 hour drive ahead of us. All-in-all we had a great day at SeaWorld and I still can’t wait to take my entire family on Manta!
Disclosure: We were guests of SeaWorld Orlando for the day. No cash was exchanged for this post all opinions are 100% mine.