Dolphin Born at Discovery Cove

Congratulations to Rose, the Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin who lives at Discovery Cove, SeaWorld’s all-inclusive day resort. Her female calf was welcomed into the world Wednesday, February 12, at 5:35 a.m.

Congratulations Rose! Your calf is beautiful.

Congratulations Rose! Your calf is beautiful.

The yet-to-be-named little girl is nursing and bonding with her mother, which is a good indicator that she’s doing well. This is Rose’s second birth, and the 27th dolphin born at Discovery Cove since the park opened in 2000.

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Animal Cams at SeaWorld

Guess what I’m watching now?! If you guessed the penguins at Antarctica: Empire of the Penguins (even though I’m not at the park today), you’d be right!

AnimalVision in action!

AnimalVision in action!

SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment has launched “AnimalVision™” which you can view 24/7 at www.AnimalVision.com.

Penguins can be seen as well as stingrays from Aquatica in San Antonio and sea turtles from SeaWorld San Diego’s Turtle Reef®.

“AnimalVision allows our guests and fans to deepen their connection with animals. For some guests, being able to see these remarkable animals at the park and then continuing that voyage of exploration at home serves as a reminder about the important role we all play in helping these animals. For those planning a park visit, seeing our animals up-close will get families excited about visiting in person,” said Anne Fischer, director of interactive marketing for SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment.

I had so much fun watching the penguin-cam that was up (in partnership with Discovery Channel) for six weeks last year. (Fans—not just me!—spent 1.5 million hours watching the SeaWorld San Diego Penguin Encounter.

2013_11_08_Penguincam from SWThe new AnimalVision features:

  • Video web portal designed to be viewed from any computer, smartphone or tablet
  • The ability to take, share and save photos of their favorite video moment
  • Live Twitter feeds to share comments with other AnimalVision viewers and interactive “ask the experts” sessions with animal trainers and zoological staff
  • Education and conservation information and facts about each featured species
  • Downloadable games
  • Additional animal species will be showcased in the near future

I can predict a lot of hours will be spent logging onto these great animal cameras so I can watch my favorites when I’m not there in person!

 

 

Enjoying the Little Things at SeaWorld

Jungle Jack HannahToday my son and I are going to SeaWorld. Sure, we’ll stop by the Nautilus Theater to hear “Jungle” Jack Hannah for the 1:15 show (read more about it here), but our main goal is to stroll around together, just taking in the sights and enjoying the “little things” we love about SeaWorld.

I remember when my son (now 6) was just learning to walk. When he waddled up to the step along the edge of the Stingray Lagoon, our hearts melted. Wow, our big boy could get up there himself! And boy did he laugh when they splashed his little face.

SeaWorld Mommy with Daniel at Stingray LagoonWe spent a lot of time around that lagoon. When kids are little, there is a lot of emphasis placed on “tactile” learning. He sure got a lot of that! From the silky smoothness of the ray, to the cool water splashing on us. Occasionally we found stingray dental plates and we’d hold them in our hands and Daniel’s eyes would get SO big at this item so tiny.

Today, when the park is bustling with extra visitors for their very special guest, we’ll say HI, but to me, the most special guest is my boy. He’ll hold my hand as we enjoy getting splashed, and as we take in all we can while he’s still a “little thing,” though he won’t be for much longer….

TurtleTrek Welcomes Big Mama and Caton

Rehabilitated turtles Big Mama and Caton make it to SeaWorld's TurtleTrek.In 2010 the nation’s attention was on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, one that would impact (and continues to impact) the environment and animals that call the Gulf home. One animal rescued off the coast of Louisiana was a female loggerhead turtle. Big
Mama, as she came to be called due to her 245-pound size, has been receiving care
from the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies (IMMS) in Gulfport, MS since her arrival August 4, 2010.

20130705_Big-Mama-Turtle-Exam_04Big Mama had bite wounds and was missing parts of her front and hind flippers. Because of these injuries, she was unable to swim properly, making it impossible for her to survive in the wild. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service deemed her non-releasable in 2012.

The IMMS worked with other agencies to find a more permanent home where she could have a larger habitat and interact with other animals, and so she could educate others with her story.

20130705_Big-Mama-Turtle-Exam_04Caton, a 95-pound subadult, was initially found stranded in 2009 on Ossabaw Island and was treated by the Georgia Sea Turtle Center (GSTC). In December she was considered healthy enough to be returned to the wild, but Caton had other plans. The subadult female loggerhead was taken to the warm waters of Cape Canaveral National Seashore. Rather than swimming off, Caton just sat there, prompting a return to the GSTC for a few more months rehabilitation. In a second attempt, Caton became stuck on a sandbar after unsuccessfully swimming back and forth in the shallows. In October 2012 she was released again to deep water, but one week later, reports of a loggerhead stranding led to Caton, again stranded on the beach.

Wildlife government officials involved, agree that Caton was unreleasable. Terry Norton, veterinarian and director of the center, agreed. “If an unreleasable sea turtle can survive comfortably in a captive setting, the center will make every attempt to place the turtle in a suitable facility,’’ he said.

turtletrekBig Mama and Caton will now have a new home at TurtleTrek, SeaWorld along with 14 other rescued sea turtles, including a hawksbill, 10 green and three other loggerheads who have all been deemed unreleasable. These animals will welcome guests at SeaWorld Orlando and will educate them about wildlife conservation. Together they will share the message that conservation is everyone’s responsibility. They’ll encourage each person to make a difference, and become “Everyday Heroes” through their day-to-day actions.

In collaboration with the government and other members of accredited stranding networks, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment operates one of the world’s most respected programs to rescue ill and injured marine animals, with the goal to rehabilitate and return to the waters. SeaWorld animal experts have helped more than 22,000 animals in need – ill, injured, orphaned and abandoned – for more than four decades.

 

So far this year, SeaWorld Orlando has rescued 52 and returned 45 sea turtles.

Penguin Awarness Day

antarctica_penguins in penguin encounter smHappy Penguin Awareness Day!

Penguins are arguably some of the cutest creatures on the planet. Some love them for their way-cute waddle. Others admire the way they cut through the water with ease. The more formal types might like that they’re dressed in black in white every day! I can’t decide which of their adorable characteristics I love more! I just know  that they are some of my personal favorites, so much so that for my birthday this past year, all I wanted was a chance to get up close and personal again with one at SeaWorld.

I’ve been missing my little friends for months while the Penguin Encounter has been taken down, and the new Antarctica… Empire of the Penguin is under construction. The first-of-its-kind family ride will transport guests into an Antarctica penguin’s world.

Quick fact break: Not all penguins live in cold temperatures.

Goofy me with a grin that says I LOVE PENGUINS!

Goofy me with a grin that says I LOVE PENGUINS!

Our family has spent literally hours in Penguin Encounter, and we were fortunate enough to have been picked a number of times for a behind-the-scenes “meet and greet” with the stars. In the Encounter format there were “Penguin Talks” at 2 p.m. in the afternoon. If you were in there and paid close attention to the educational presentation, you were given the opportunity to “win” a trip backstage. My son (soon to be 6) has never been more proud of Mama than when I poked my hand up the fastest and then (whew!) answered the question of the day(s) correctly. I’m not kidding when I say that I felt like I was on a game show. There was a LOT of pressure from my short fellow SeaWorld fan to meet those penguins!

Julie Scardina and Brian Morrow

Julie Scardina, Animal Ambassador and Brian Morrow, Corporate Director of Creative Development

Now we’re ramping up for the all-new experience. It started when I went to the media preview in November, 2011. Julie Scardina, animal ambassador, was there to greet us and Brian Morrow shared all the exciting news… How it’s going to be the “coolest” (literally!) theme park attraction in the world… and how guests will experience a state-of-the-art interactive ride that makes the adventure different each time.

We’re getting a taste of the fun with the new SeaWorld app: SeaWorld’s Antarctica (available in iTunes, with Android platform coming soon). On it you’ll find penguin facts, a fun photo game (check out my little guy as an explorer here), and info about the seven-city Epic Voyage campaign being launched in New York City. Street teams will ensure people can “follow the freeze” as teams visit malls and consumer travel shows. I’m trying to figure out what city I can visit to participate in the ice dome, photo ops, Antarctica games and (my favorite) live penguins. They’ll also have a Coca-Cola Freestyle machine serving Coke products which, as you know, is our family favorite.

Quick fact break: ALL penguins live naturally in the Southern hemisphere).

If you’re as penguin-obsessed as our family, you’re no doubt donning some sort of penguin Antarctica_Daniel at Penguin Encounteritem in honor of penguin awareness. I have on my penguin necklace, a gift from my son (maybe for getting those questions right!). I’m saving our matching penguin T-shirts for the grand opening of Antarctica… Empire of the Penguin. I may, however, have to sport ALL my penguin garb if I’m luck enough to #jointhevoyage with the Epic Voyage tour.

SeaWorld Unveils Antartica: Empire of the Penguins Vehicle

The new ride car for Antarctica: Empire of the Penguins was revealed this morning at the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions’ (IAAPA) Expo 2012 in Orlando. The state-of-the-art adventure ride puts visitors closer than ever to hundreds of kings, gentoos, Adelies and rockhoppers.

SeaWorld Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin

Set to open Spring, 2013, Antarctica: Empire of the Penguins will be the coolest ride in the WORLD!

World Penguin Day

Today, April 25,  is World Penguin Day, not to be confused with Penguin Awareness Day which January 20. In honor of their special day, get ready for the 2013 opening of Antarctica –  Empire of the Penguin!

Antarctic will be the coldest theme park attraction in the world, at a chilly 30 degrees. Guests will ride on an 8-person “boat” right into a close-up interaction with gentoos, rockhoppers, adelies and kings. Park insiders confirm an experience that will be “up close to say the least.” A friendly guide, a young gentoo penguin, will lead the exciting journey.

What’s it like for penguins in their frozen world, the coldest and windiest continent? Visitors will be able to catch a glimpse into their beautiful, but sometimes dangerous, environment.

The penguin “realm” will include not only the new attraction, but a new penguin habitat, gift shop and a restaurant.

Terry Prather, SeaWorld Orlando’s president is excited about their largest ever expansion. “Only SeaWorld and its parks can take you on these journeys or bring these experiences to you!”

Earth Day at SeaWorld, Orlando

Each of the members of  SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment will be celebrating Earth Day 2012 in their own unique ways. SeaWorld Orlando is putting focus on conservation education.

Guests visiting animal interaction areas such as the Sea Garden, Pacific Point Preserve, Wild Arctic and the Shark Encounter can approach the education team members in light blue shirts. Ask questions and answer some and you will be eligible to receive a Conservation Collector Card (there are currently 35 different cards in all).  As a special treat, on Sunday, April 22, SeaWorld Orlando will be giving out special keepsake sleeves for them at those education encounters.

Antarctica… Empire of the Penguin at SeaWorld, Orlando

Today SeaWorld Orlando announced the biggest expansion in their history! One of the “coolest” attractions is Antarctica… Empire of the Penguin. Set to open in 2013, Antarctica will take guests to the bottom of the world in a family-friendly ride which promises to be the “coldest attraction in the world.”

Antarctica, the continent, is locked under 9,000 feet of ice. SeaWorld’s Antarctica, will offer guests a taste of that harsh climate, in small doses, of course. (This is the Sunshine State, after all!) Insiders tell of “intense” up-close interaction with the penguins including “pop up” windows of some sort where visitors will be inside the actual habitat.

Julie Scardina, animal ambassador to SeaWorld/Busch Gardens, was on hand to introduce the family-friendly attraction. “Antarctica is a harsh environment even if you are a penguin,” she explained. Ever the conservationist, Julie talked about sustainable seafood and other ways we can reduce our “footprint.” “We can all make a difference and become Everyday Heroes!”

The ride is described as a “closer-than-ever” interactive experience and an incredible family adventure. Viewing the frozen world “through the eyes of a penguin,” guests will sense the beauty and drama of their sometimes dangerous world.

Don't Worry!

Although some have been concerned about penguin withdrawal during construction, Brian Morrow, Corporate Director of Creative Development assures penguin pals like myself that there will be opportunities to see “some” of the penguins while the expansion takes place. “Don’t worry!” he assures. Many of the birds will be at the sister parks, but guests will not have to go “cold turkey,” er “penguin,” at the Orlando, Florida park. A temporary habitat will allow Spheniscidae Spectators a “penguin peek” until the new exhibit opens.

Spheniscidae Spectator

SeaWorld is known for taking guests into an amazing underwater world they can’t experience on their own. Antarctica… Empire of the Penguin continues that tradition,  and then some!

You know it’s gonna be cool!

Click for video

Sea Otter Awareness Week Gets Boost from the SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Conservation Fund

Aside

This week, September 25 to October 1, is Sea Otter Awareness Week. Defenders of Wildlife, with support from the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund, is educating the public on conservation programs and education on the sea otter’s role in nearshore marine ecosystems on California’s Central Coast.

Sea Otters are Playful and FUN to watch!

Fun Facts about California Sea Otters:

  • Hair Raising! They have extremely dense fur with over 1,000,000 hairs per square inch
  • Hungry! They eat about 25 to 30% of their body weight every day
  • Handy! They use rocks to pry open shells

SeaWorld San Diego is home to some very playful Sea Otters at Rocky Point Preserve. They were originally stranded and were rescued as part of the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Sea Otter Research and Conservation program.

Adopt a Sea Otter

You can help save California Sea Otters by participating in the various programs and initiatives sponsored by Defenders of Wildlife. You can even “adopt” a sea otter! For more information, visit: http://www.saveseaotters.org.

For more than 40 years, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment – encompassing SeaWorld, Busch Gardens and Discovery Cove – have initiated and supported wildlife conservation, research, and education at home and around the world.

Honor someone you love, or donate “just because” to the SeaWorld Busch Gardens Conservation Fund.

You can also read more on SeaWorld’s blog.