Movie Questions SeaWorld’s Animal Capitivity Practices


A vacation to SeaWorld may not seem as innocent as it once may have with the release of ‘Blackfish.’ The documentary explores the case of Tilikum, an orca who killed three people in 2010, while also providing context and information on captive whales in general. Now that the movie is being screened to the public, the reviews are in, as well as the tweets:


'Blackfish' Doc Looks at SeaWorld's Captive Whales
What do you think? Are SeaWorld’s captivity policies cruel to animals?

Can’t Afford Trip To Antarctica? Maybe A Simulated Experience Will Do

trip to antarctica
Sam Howzit/ Flickr

The idea of a trip to Antarctica is a bucket list item that few travelers have checked off. Tourism numbers are rising as Antarctica welcomes more visitors, but the cost to get there can be prohibitive. Now, Cruise ships head south to visit Antarctica more than ever before. But a luxury cruise ship is surely not a cheap ride. Still, a new theme park attraction might just have the fix needed or at least count as research for the eventual expedition.

SeaWorld Orlando’s largest-ever project, Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin takes guests on a simulated voyage to Antarctica, complete with a colony of over 200 penguins in their natural habitat. Getting an authentic feel for Antarctica, guests will experience life on the ice through the eyes of a penguin. Via new state-of-the-art interactive ride technologies, visitors get a unique, personal adventure that is said to be different for everyone.

“When our little hero penguin learns to waddle and slide, we’ll feel what it’s like as the car moves and reacts to the storyline,” said Brian Morrow, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment’s creative director, in a TravelPulse article.Like a slow roller coaster, the ride rocks along gently through a re-creation of Antarctica, making a case for environmental education along the way and ending in an icy penguin habitat.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/05/23/3413794/seaworld-introduces-antarctica.html#storylink=c
Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/05/23/3413794/seaworld-introduces-antarctica.html#storylink=cpy

“When he takes his first swim or barely escapes danger, our guests will feel as if they’re right there with him. On this adventure, we learn that we’re a lot like penguins. We’ll find we need each other and our families to survive,” added Morrow.

Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin is the coldest theme park attraction in the world with the temperature set to the low 30 degrees to maintain the penguin’s natural habitat. The area is so big that it is considered a “realm” rather than a single attraction. It also includes a gift shop and a restaurant – two venues travelers are not likely to find on an actual visit to Antarctica.

Check this video for more on Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin.


Travel Brochure Finds: The Best Key Lime Pie And More From Florida

Travel Brochures

Travel brochures found at any given destination compete for our attention. Local tour operators want us to choose them over others. Convention and visitors bureaus work to highlight all their city has to offer. Florida, the land of theme parks, beaches and year-round sun is no exception.

Racks of colorful point-of-travel brochures can be found in airports, at hotels, highway rest stops and just about any other place that travelers are likely to gather. On a road trip from Orlando to Miami, we stopped at turnpike rest areas along the way and picked up some of the travel brochures that crowds of visitors seemed most interested in.

travel brochuresKissimmee, Florida is home to must-see theme parks Walt Disney World Resort, Seaworld and Universal Studio’s Orlando Resort. From world-class resorts to RV campgrounds, Kissimmee offers a variety of choices for any age or interest.

Special events held throughout the year range from June’s Silver Spurs Rodeo to the Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights coming up November 3 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, running through January 3.

travel brochuresKey West, Florida calls itself America’s Island Paradise for a number of reasons. Walking tours are a good way to see some of the island’s best attractions but trolley tours are also popular.

The Key West City Cemetery offers a quiet tour of Key West’s past, featuring a memorial to American sailors who died in the explosion of the USS Maine in 1898 along with legendary headstones that read, “I told you I was sick,” and, “At least I know where he’s sleeping tonight.”

A visit to Key West Audubon House and Gardens, Key West Harbour and the Florida Eco-Discovery Center make for a nice day and don’t forget a piece of Key Lime Pie, served at a variety of locations. Download a Key West vacation planner here.

travel brochuresButterfly World in Coconut Creek, Florida, is one of a number of attractions that host aviaries filled with butterflies and free-flying birds. This one lets visitors enter their man-made tropical rain forest, a living habitat with a mist-filled cave and a cascading waterfall.

Butterfly World features six aviaries, live butterflies, Hummingbirds, an Insectarium, a Butterfly museum and more. Open seven days a week, Butterfly World is the largest butterfly and bird park in the world.

travel brochuresMiami Seaquarium is a 38-acre tropical paradise that is home to Lolita The Killer Whale, Salty the Sea Lion and everything else one might expect from an aquarium located minutes from the ocean.

At Dolphin Harbor, visitors can connect with one of the ocean’s most intelligent creatures doing a deep-water swim that has no swimming or height restrictions.

In addition to sea life from sea turtles and manatees to sharks and stingrays, unique to Miami Seaquarium are a number of animal and tourism experts on hand to share information and answer questions.

Here’s more about Florida, featuring Florida swamps, working cattle ranches, beautiful lakes and streams, and incredible wildlife.



[Photo Credit: Chris Owen]

SeaWorld Brings Antarctica To Florida

SeaWorld

SeaWorld Orlando is expanding with their largest-ever project. Continuing a travel industry focus on making all things experiential, Antarctica-Empire of the Penguin is the anchor to a host of new offerings set to open in January. The new ride will have a family adventure theme that utilizes new technology for a unique experience that can change from visit to visit, allowing guests to choose their thrill level.

“Only SeaWorld and its parks can take you on these journeys or bring these experiences to you,” said Terry Prather, SeaWorld Orlando’s president. “We’re excited about what the future holds for our parks and our fans.

First, guests will meet SeaWorld star, a young gentoo penguin and the ride’s guide who leads guests on a journey through the Antarctic. Casting the park’s colony of penguins, including gentoos, rockhoppers, adelies and kings, guests’ experiences with the penguins will be a theme park and zoo first.Getting an authentic feel for Antarctica, guests will experience life on the ice through the eyes of a penguin via closer-then-ever animal connections with state-of-the-art interactive ride technologies for unique, personal adventures that are different for everyone.

Empire of the Penguin will be the coldest theme park attraction in the world with the temperature set to the low 30 degrees to maintain the penguin’s natural habitat. Antarctica – Empire of the Penguin is the biggest expansion in SeaWorld history, hosting the ride, penguin habitat, a gift shop and a restaurant. It is so big that it is considered an all-new “realm,” rather than a single attraction.



[Photo Credit: Flickr user Rita Willaert]

What Goes On At Sea World At Night?

Sea World, one of nation’s top destinations, is known for being one of the heaviest trafficked, family friendly places. But not when the gates close at night, the park transforms.

Over on Reddit there’s an ongoing Q & A with “hghost,” a graveyard worker at Sea World. Here is a cross section of some of the best questions posed by users and answered by the worker. Note, quotes are taken verbatim.

Q: What is your job? Security? looking after the animals?
A: The official title is “night ops” basically janitorial work.

Q: Any crazy, aquatic tales of the night life? Or is it just creepy? Its creepy that’s for sure.
A: At about sunrise the dolphins and whales go crazy. Every night at about the same time the dogs will wake up and start barking and howling. Same with the sea lions

Q: Do you know why?
A: From what I know of the whales and dolphins is that they don’t sleep. Unlike us, they have to think of breathing to actually breathe. So every morning they, like most of us, are well rested and have energy to burn. As for the dogs, I’m not sure. That’s what dogs do I suppose.Q: Are those outdoor penguins kept outside overnight? If so, are they as awesome at night as they are during the day? Or are they mostly sleeping? When I was there last, I saw them getting tummy rubs from an employee and had I recorded it, it probably would have been worth like a million karma.
A: They’re out all night in their exhibit usually sleeping. Every so often there’s one or two pulling an all mightier walking around their exhibit quietly. At about 530 or 6 every morning they start to wake up and sound like they’re singing to each other. One will start it and then the others repeat. Reminds me of the music numbers in happy feet.

Q: Do you bond with Shamu? Can you put in a good word with him for me?
A: The whales as well as some other animals learn to recognize you and will usually come up and greet you or try to “talk” to you. He’s too big of a star. Maybe Dolly or O.p

Q: What’s the worst incident that you’ve had to deal with?
A: Having trash bags rip spilling trash all over the place including on my clothes. Smells bad

Q: Do you take dates to Sea World or can you not stand the place?
A: Yeah, I have in the past. Its a fun place, I enjoy it there so I like to go on my time off usually. I like the educational aspect of the park. Manta is amazing too. So that also helps…

Q: Dude how creepy is it by the tanks w/ no lights? Oh my god, just thinking about being by a shark tank in the dark just makes me want to cry!
A: Yeah the creepiest tank to be by is the killer whale one. Because down in the under water viewing it is near pitch black darkness and all you can see is the big white spot of the killer whales “eye patch” swim by slowly as it watches you. The sharks that I see aren’t so bad. I think its just the massive size of the whale.

Q: What’s your favorite of the animals you encounter at work? Why?
A: I’d probably have to go with the dolphins, because they never sleep so tend to watch us work when we’re around their tank. They will learn to recognize what you look like and come up and greet you and follow you around their tank. Here are some watching me sweep up. They’re fascinated by a lot

Q: Do you ever come across animals that just up and die in the middle of the night, and need to fish them out, or are the sickly ones identified well enough in advance that you don’t end up with floaters?
A: I personally haven’t but each of the main animals get full medical exams and vitamins and all that daily so they are kept under close watch. If they’re looking sick they go to the veterinary area of the park

Q: Are you ever afraid you’ll get murdered there in a Scooby-Dooesque manner?
A: No because I know creepy Mr Jenkins wanders around in his Bigfoot costume. There are parts I try to avoid when the lights get shut of and the parts of the park turn to near pitch black.