Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Seaworld, Orlando can be an entertaining place for the whole family. We spent the last part of our day there watching the Blue Horizon show.  This is the parks Dolphin show that includes dolphins, parrots, false killer whales and a group of young trainers/performers who all put on a very entertaining show.
This show had a tragedy in  February 2010 when an experienced trainer  was killed by a killer whale which grabbed her by her pony tail pulled her under water and kept her there causing her to drown. The show we saw did not include any killer whales instead using the false killer whales. I wondered if this was a change in policy due to the death but I have not been able to find any information stating that.  By the way both type whales are really in the dolphin family.
The park can be a great place for a family trip, although the admission fee of about $79 and $73 for children could make it a very expensive day. 

In all fairness I do need to mention that these parks do come under criticism from some organizations including; World Society For the Protection of Animals, The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society and PETA ( People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). The criticism is directed at these parks concerning the believed shorter life span of killer whales when in captivity. 21 killer whales dies in theme parks between 1986 and  2000, all died at much younger age then the average for these creatures. They also said that making these animals perform for food can breed aggression and cause violent acts toward the trainers.
PETA actually offered to buy the park and then it would release all the inhabitants back into their natural environments. Budweiser beer which owned the park never responded.

The park can be great fun for kids the exhibits are really well built and have  a good amount of space for viewing, I particularly enjoyed seeing the penguins. They are kept in a large glass enclosed environment where the temperature is kept at 30 degrees fahrenheit.

There are rides that the family can enjoy and may help keep you cool.

 The Blue Horizon Show was a fun way to spend some time under cover from the hot Florida sun. They had dolphins and whales performing as well as some high flying performers, who fly around the pool attached to cords. They also had divers jumping from ramps that were much to high for me to ever think about diving  off of. 
But to me the stars are the dolphins, whales and the trainers. I colds ee how much these young people care about the whales and dolphins. During one part of the show I happened to notice a trainer by the side of the pool with two dolphins leaning over the edge toward her. They were waiting to perform after the act finished. She was not in the spot light but I saw her talking to them and stroking them. At one point she leaned over and kissed them both. It was a touching moment to observe.
 The show has parts where the dolphin/whales do acrobatic jumps, alone and in unison with each other. The highlight for me was apart I remembered from when I was there in the 1970s. The trainers ride the dolphin/whales around the pool. As a kid that was really exciting for me to see and to be honest it still was all these years later,

   Trainer and dolphin having fun in the pool, shaking hands !!

    When the dolphins start jumping as a photographer you really need to pay attention. There is now warning that they are about to leap into the air.
     This trainer is riding one of the dolphins. Notice the whistle, it is a high frequency whistle that the dolphins can hear, it is used in training.

   After the "ride" the performers all take their bows!!!

     I love the two trainers behavior. As this large whale jumps inches from their faces they act like their at the water cooler at work discussing what they watched on TV the night before.
   The young performers flying high in very colorful costumes

   These divers kept jumping and then climbing back up the tower and doing it all over again and again and again!! What energy!!!
   From these photos that Phyllis shot you can see that they were pretty high up.

   They were falling really quickly
   Everyone of them made  perfect landing
   A false whale taking cues from the trainers
   He then acknowledge the applause  from the audience
  Trainer getting up on a whale for her ride

I love this image that Phyllis photographed of the trainer riding the whale

   Whale and trainer exchanging hugs and kisses
   Both of these images remind me of the old cowboy movie, The scene where the horses pulling the stage coach would be out of control and the hero would jump down and grab the leads and ride the horses till they stopped.

    The big finish with lots of jumping!!!! Look how high this whale is getting. Jumping way higher then the trainer.

  I do have to admit to some misgivings about this place as I do in all zoos. I have mixed feelings. I can only hope that their treatment of these beautiful creatures is humane and stays that way!!


Ann said...

Love the penguins--my Mom used to collect penguin stuff, so we'd always get things for her when we saw them. The colorful costumes are beautiful!

Abhisek Panda said...

What a place Jim....Really beautiful.Love the Penguins and Dolphins...your skills add life to any image. :D
Chase My Dreams

Anonymous said...

Out here in the St. Louis Zoo we have penguins. You can actually go in and see them fairly close up. When they jump into the icy water it will splash up over the glass pool wall. It is cold as all get out in there and stinks to high heaven but, so worth it to see them so close up.
I have a vague memory of seeing a killer whale perform, I need to ask my grandparents because I am not sure if it's a real memory or not. When I was 15 we went to Universal Studios which was fun but, I am much more excited about animals than rides. I hope to one day take my own kids although they may be grown when I do.
The photos you took are so colorful and brilliant, love them. I too worry about the treatment of animals, it would break my heart to learn of them being abused just so we can see them.

melissa said...

hi jim...finally a word(s) on seaworld... i couldn't open the other post... i couldn't speak much on how they treat these sea creatures.. do they also get overworked? hmmm...

anyhow, i liked the penguins, especially the third photo... it looks like a child having fun and it seems that they are so used to having their photos taken...they simply pose :P

the next action packed photos excited me... wow... the dolphins in a real show... we did dolphin watching in bohol but this one looks more fun... the splash of water they create..

and those acrobats...wow... very colorful and lively... i like the contrast of blue with the red acrobat :)

hmmm...look at how supple those dolphins are... could they really carry that acrobats on their back? hmmm...

and best of all, i like the dolphins doing their own acrobats :P...

thanks for sharing these photos jim... i truly enjoy ALL of them... a little heavy for breakfast... but they are enough to keep me going throughout the day ;)

Ravenmyth said...

As always Jim, beautiful photo's. I never get tired of seeing your work. Living in B.C. Canada, I am used to seeing these beautiful creatures in the wild. For me, this is where they need to be. We have a local pod of Killer Whales here and to see them playing, raising their calves and living out a natural life is such a joy for all us locals. Penquins are adorable..have seen lots of documentaries on them. Spent hours on the bow of my Dad's boat watching the Dolphins play..brings back memories...Thanks Jim for this amazing trip your Marine Land...


Anonymous said...

Beautiful photos as always Jim. I love the clarity of the action shots. Animals in captivity? I'm torn on that subject as well.

Roy Durham said...

i love to go to the zoos and the animal parks. being able to see animals i would never be able to see otherwise. PETA from what i have read and heard from them really don't have a clue when it comes to animals. release the animals that have been captivity is a death sentence. most zoos and parks take good care of the animals. the preforming animals are not trained to do things that are a naturals behaver. the only thing is they are trained to do it on queue. you see a person raiding a horse most people see it as a tame domestic animal. the fact is they are not they are a wild animal. turn one out on the range and it will be wild in under a second, dog and cat will do the same. there has been a lot of people killed and injured by animals and 9 out of 10 times it is the person that did something stupid. yes i will be there if an animal is being mistreated. PETA make me a little hot under the collar. so i will say thank you for the beautiful photos and god bless