Even though this isn’t a typical Travel Texas article, and we really didn’t have to travel far to Sea World, I thought it should be highlighted for anyone that is looking for a cool travel destination. And if you’re an animal-lover like us, you’ll want the scoop on these opportunities.
The first time I saw the animal interactions offered was in an e-mail a few years ago. Evan wasn’t old enough yet. But Ben wanted to go behind the scenes of the penguin exhibit. So I snagged the tickets during their Black Friday 50% off deal, and we attended a few months later. The program started off with an introduction to the park, how they’re working to educate the public and care for these animals, information on the penguins we were about to see, and what we can do to help with animal conservation. We pulled on layers of clothing and boots. And we proceeded into the exhibit. I guess it was freezing cold, noisy, and smelly. But all I actually remember was pretty fuzzy and dreamy. We walked among penguins!!! They waddled around us, pecked at our pants, seemed very inquisitive, but went about their feedings and swimming too. I took dozens of pictures. By favorite moment was when I handed the camera to Ben, to take a picture of me hugging a king penguin. As I squatted down and put my arm around the big guy, he tried to crawl into my lap. The cutest thing!
Two years later, I mentioned the Black Friday sale to the boys again. This time, Evan wanted the penguins and Ben wanted to swim with the dolphins! So we ended up spending the whole day at Sea World yesterday!!!
In between the interactions, we spent time with the sea lions, sea otters, sharks, and roller coaster. But the bulk of our day was behind-the-scenes.
First, my mom and Evan checked into the penguin interaction. They got all the same presentation we did… and then Ben and I got to watch them in the exhibit. It was fun to see Evan interact with, pet, and hold the penguins, smile for pictures, and enjoy himself. (just as much fun as our chickens!) And you could tell that he loved seeing the fairly-recently hatched chick.
When it was our turn, Ben and I squeezed into wet suits and headed to the dolphin interaction. We learned about the bottlenose dolphins, their behaviors, what threatens their lives in the wild, how we’re helping Sea World be ambassadors for them. And then we headed into the water. Our dolphin was Brady, a 17-year-old male that was born at Sea World. They visited with us about all the activities he does during his day and all the rewards he is given for doing his “job.” We then go to interact with him…. and I swear he enjoyed it as much as we did! The trainers had us wave to him, which got him to wave back. We got to pet, give kisses. We hung on tight as he swam us across the pool. We fed him; he splashed us. And before I knew it, it was over.
We came home cold and exhausted from the long day. But, we made more amazing memories!
As always… although we can’t afford to travel very far, Texas sure does give us some amazing opportunities and adventures!
So if you’re in the area, it’s a great stay-cation activity! If you’re on a budget too, watch for those Black Friday deals. And wherever your road leads you… have a great time when you TRAVEL TEXAS!
If you’re interested in a quick visit, a season pass, or an encounter, yesterday was Sea World’s season opening day. They’re ready for ya!