One Weekend Left for Wild Days At SeaWorld

Wild Days, presented by Coca-Cola rounds out this weekend, February 7 – 8, with animal expert Jungle Jack Hanna at SeaWorld, Orlando.

Wild Days jackhanna_780x438_01-07-2015Jack Hannah made his 95th appearance on Letterman last night with a groundhog, bush baby, a black leopard, cobra, caracal and a Harris’s hawk. While it’s always fun to watch him interact with the animals (and David Letterman!) on TV, how amazing is it to say you got to watch him in person?!

SeaWorld park guests get the opportunity to see Jack Hanna from the Columbus Zoo on the Wild Days stage in the Nautilus Stage. He’ll share stories from his travels around the world, and introduce guests to some of his favorite animal friends. Wild Days is included with park admission. Shows are at 11:00am and 3:00 pm.

For those wanting a more intimate up-close encounter, there are a few add on experiences available as well.

  • Breakfast with Jack Hanna (available Saturday and Sunday) at Dine with Shamu®. Package includes breakfast at Dine With Shamu, meet-and-greet with Jack Hanna, a complimentary family photo and special reserved seats during the 11 a.m. show.
  • Dinner with Jack Hanna (only available Saturday) at Dine with Shamu®. Package includes dinner at Dine With Shamu, meet-and-greet with Jack Hanna, a complimentary family photo and special reserved seats during the 3 p.m. show.

This is the third and final weekend of Wild Days. Animal Ambassador Julie Scardina kicked off the event with a Penguin Party, and last week Bindi Irwin, 16-year-old daughter of Terri Irwin and the late Steve Irwin (The Crocodile Hunter) thrilled “Generation Nature” with her passion for education and conservation.

Bindi at Wild Days

Insider tip: Buy your annual pass now! The incredible BOGO deal ends February 8, 2015. Special this weekend from Coca-Cola: Buy one souvenir drink cup ($11.99) and receive one for 50% off with free refills of Coca-Cola products on the day of purchase. 

All weekend, don’t miss the fun at SEA Garden Block Party featuring a high-energy DJ, whimsical Storyteller, animal encounters, and special character appearances. There are also chances to earn limited edition Wild Days trading cards around the park, plus opportunities for kids to play games that teach how they can help the environment.

You can also hear from SeaWorld trainers who will be on hand to introduce you to some of your favorite SeaWorld animal friends. Discover what goes into training, feeding and loving these animals every single day, plus ask questions of your own! See the in-park flyer for times and locations.

We love going to Wild Days. It’s a great opportunity to see world-renowned animal experts and hear how they’re making a difference every day. It’s great, too, to learn new ways we can be a part. If you’d like to be inspired to action (and have tons of fun doing it), visit SeaWorld during Wild Days, or any day.

Conservation begins with Inspiration. Be inspired. Go DO.

 

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Spooktacular at SeaWorld Orlando is Coming Soon

I love Halloween. I love dressing up. I love getting the house all “decked out” for a night of family-friendly fun. I’m not much into getting scared. For me, SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular is right up my alley, and is one of the most fun events of the year. It seems to get better and better all the time.

Starting October 4, SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular takes place from 12 to 8 p.m. October: 4-5, 11-12, 18-19 and 25-26.

spooktacular2013bNew this year is a Dine With Shamu Halloween Spooktacular Brunch. In what’s being called “an immersive and memorable brunch experience,” families will enjoy a seasonal menu while being up close and personal with SeaWorld’s majestic killer whales. Plus, Halloween surprises are promised including a family photo with a Spooktacular frame, a free cookie decorating kit (something my 7-year-old loves!), and a trick-or-treat bag with goodies.

This year’s candy line-up in “Waves of Trick-or-Treat Fun” includes Tootsie Rolls, jelly beans, Airheads… just to name a few. The great fun is not only in getting to indulge in lots of yummy treats (aka “sometimes foods in our house, LOL), but stopping by all the themed characters and stop points. There is SO much to see.

Insider tip: Most guests enter the trick-or-treat line from the entrance closest to the
park entrance. To get in with less waiting, position yourself near the “other” end of
the trick-or-treat pathway, on the other side of the park… past the arcade, area
near the underwater viewing side of Shamu Stadium.

Make sure you check out Penelope’s Party Zone over in the Bayside area. There you’ll find craft stations, bubbles galore, fun music including a live DJ, and the most adorable sea-themed characters you can imagine!

Keep that dancing idea going into the night at an hour before closing. Princess Penelope and all her undersea friends can “get down” in the Village Square at the front of the park. It’s always a blast.

Admission to SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular is included with SeaWorld admission, whether you have a day pass, fun card, or annual pass!

Add-ons include: Sweet Treat Decorating, and the Dine with Shamu Spooktacular Brunch.

See you there. (I’ll be the one in costume!)

$50 Week-Day Ticket!

This is a such a great announcement, that I’m reprinting the press release below. What a savings for a one-day ticket! I’m already thinking of when I can bring some of my family members who don’t get to visit often.

Celebrate Weekdays at Busch Gardens Tampa, or
SeaWorld Orlando with their new $50 Weekday Ticket 

Antarctica at SeaWorld OrlandoTAMPA, Fla. (July 31, 2013) – Everyone loves weekends, but SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens® Tampa now have a reason to celebrate the weekdays, too. Guests can explore Antarctica: Empire of the PenguinTM and the wonders of the sea at SeaWorld Orlando, or experience thrilling attractions and amazing land animals at Busch Gardens Tampa with the all-new $50 Weekday Ticket, on sale August 1 through December 20, 2013, for $50 for a single-day admission, Mondays through Fridays.
At SeaWorld Orlando’s new Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin, families are transported into an icy world like they’ve never seen before where they can explore the majestic grandeur of the South Pole and see it through the penguins’ eyes on a first-of-its-kind family ride. Then, guests step off and explore a massive penguin colony of nearly 250 feathered friends – gentoo, rockhopper, Adélie and king penguins — in an expanse that envelops them in cool extremes, both above and below the penguins’ icy world. It’s a must-see, one-of-a-kind experience only at SeaWorld Orlando.

Busch Gardens Tampa offers an unparalleled mix of animal encounters, captivating shows and thrilling rides. Dive like a bird of prey aboard the thrilling coaster SheiKra. Soar like an eagle, roar like a tiger, and discover shared family fun playing with your littlest ones at Sesame Street’s Safari of Fun. And, nowhere is the spirit of discovery more alive than on Cheetah Hunt, the breathtaking, multilaunch coaster sprinting across the Serengeti.

The $50 Weekday Ticket is available online to U.S. residents at SeaWorldOrlando.com or BuschGardensTampa.com, or by calling (888) 800-5447. The $50 Weekday Ticket is valid for one weekday’s admission to either SeaWorld Orlando or Busch Gardens Tampa and must be used by Friday, December 20, 2013.

For an additional $25, guests may add a day’s visit to Aquatica Orlando with the purchase of the SeaWorld Orlando Weekday ticket, or add a day’s visit to Adventure Island in Tampa with the purchase of the Busch Gardens Tampa Weekday Ticket. Guests may only purchase the additional visit to a waterpark with the purchase of the $50 Weekday Ticket.

To learn more about the new $50 Weekday Ticket,and to purchase, visit SeaWorldOrlando.com or BuschGardensTampa.com.

About SeaWorld Orlando
Immerse yourself in wonder at SeaWorld® Orlando, where the aquatic world comes alive like no place else. Climb aboard and ride the mighty Manta®. Experience the power and grace of killer whales in the awe-inspiring Shamu® show One Ocean®. Share an epic voyage with sea turtles on the 3D 360 TurtleTrek®. And there’s nothing cooler than to see the world through the eyes of a penguin in the thrilling, chilling adventure of Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin™. An ocean of fun is waiting to be explored right here at SeaWorld Orlando. Jump in and dive deep.

About Busch Gardens® Tampa
Busch Gardens Tampa is the ultimate family adventure, offering 297 acres of fascinating attractions based on exotic explorations around the world. A unique blend of thrilling rides, one of the country’s premier zoos with more than 12,000 animals, live shows, restaurants, shops and games, Busch Gardens Tampa provides unrivaled excitement for guests of every age.

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment inspires millions, through the power of entertainment, to celebrate, connect with and care for the natural world. The Company has been creating innovative entertainment experiences that blend imagination with nature for more than 50 years and is best known for its 11 U.S. theme parks, attractions that hosted more than 24 million guests in 2012 and include the beloved SeaWorld®, Busch Gardens® and Sesame Place® brands. The parks offer guests a variety of up-close experiences, from animal encounters that invite exploration and appreciation of the natural world, to thrilling rides and spectacular shows. In 2011 SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment began expanding its popular brands into media and entertainment platforms to connect people to nature and animals through movies, television, and digital media; plus began developing new lines of licensed consumer products.

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment is one of the world’s foremost zoological organizations and a global leader in animal welfare, training, husbandry and veterinary care. The Company maintains one of the largest animal collections in the world and has helped lead advances in the care of species in zoological facilities and in the conservation of wild populations. SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment also operates one of the world’s most respected programs to rescue, rehabilitate and return to the ocean marine animals that are ill, injured and orphaned. The SeaWorld® rescue team has helped more than 22,000 animals in need over the last four decades.

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment employs more than 21,000 people nationwide.

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.

Four Surviving Pilot Whales Arrive at SeaWorld

The four surviving Pilot whales from the September 1 stranding arrive at SeaWorld Orlando.                                                            All images courtesy SeaWorld Orlando

SeaWorld Orlando’s animal rescue team transported four pilot whales from Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute to SeaWorld this morning (September 5, 2012). The juvenile short-finned pilot whales, one malePilot Whale being lifted up and three females, were part of the mass stranding earlier this week at Avalon State Park in Ft. Pierce. Experts from Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute cared for the animals temporarily alongside members of the SeaWorld Orlando’s animal care team, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Marine Mammal Conservancy, University of Florida, Ocean Embassy as well as trained volunteers worked tirelessly to help the whales stabilize for their trip this morning to SeaWorld Orlando. Once there, the whales were quarantined for additional observation and treatment.Whale Stranding taking notes

Veterinarians and rescue staff will care for the whales 24 hours a day, including tube-feeding those who are young and unable to eat fish yet.

It is still undetermined why the pod stranded on September 1. Necropsies may shed light on the reason, but it is possible the cause could remain a mystery.

The whales are carefully lifted out of the tanks at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute’s Rehabilitation Center…

Then are carefully lowered into the rehabilitation quarantine pool at SeaWorld Orlando.

SeaWorld-Themed SkinIT

SkinIT skin for iPadI’m a geek. I wear that “flag” proudly. Imagine my joy to see there are SeaWorld-themed “skins” for phone, laptop, iPad, Kindle, Nintendo DS and other gaming devices, tablets, MP3 players and eReaders. Nice!

The one pictured here is in honor of Turtle Trek’s grand opening!

Check them out here.

Loggerhead Turtle Who Swallowed a Hook is Released Today Thanks to SeaWorld

X-Ray shows 4" hook in Loggerhead's throat.

Four weeks ago a sub-adult Loggerhead turtle was found by biologists from the Inwater Research Group near the St. Lucie Power Plant in St. Lucie County, Florida. The 100-pound turtle was taken to SeaWorld, Orlando on February 26 with transport assistance from Inwater volunteers.

Initial tests, bloodwork, and x-rays confirmed the need for immediate surgery. The turtle had ingested a 4-inch-long fish hook.

Senior Veterinarian Dr. Lara Croft, one of three SeaWorld Orlando staff veterinarians, performed the surgery. It was one of the largest SeaWorld veterinarians have removed. Showing remarkable resilience, the turtle has made a quick recovery.

Dr. Croft watches on as aquarium staff members prepare the sea turtle for the x-ray procedure.

After a few short weeks of round-the-clock care, the turtle was deemed fit for release earlier this week.

This morning, Dan Conklin, aquarium supervisor at Seaworld, and dedicated staffers carefully loaded up the turtle for the ride to the beach before 8 a.m.

At Lori Wilson Park, Cocoa Beach, the loggerhead got one last lift from his friends at SeaWorld as they carried it from the transport vehicle to the water.

Peter Pan (as I’ve affectionately dubbed for his Hook-beating ways) moved steadily toward the water with many well-wishers around. At a little after 9 a.m. flippers could be seen darting through the waves as SeaWorld again helped an animal in need. More than 20,000 animals have been rescued by SeaWorld experts. Their hard-working animal rescue team is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Peter Pan makes way for the surf.

Help a Turtle Out:

J-shaped hooks are easy for sea life to swallow, which is why anglers are urged to use the new “circle” hooks which are less likely to be ingested. Protect this and other threatened species by properly disposing of all trash, and securing fishing line that can also cause harm to our ocean friends.

Love me, and all my Loggerhead turtle friends and sea buddies, by being responsible when you're on, or around, waterways.

Celebrate the release by doing a Loggerhead craft!

Loggerhead Turtle Rehabilitated and Soon To Be Released Thanks to SeaWorld

This is one of the many turtles rescued and rehabilitated by the SeaWorld team.

I’m so excited that the sea turtle that had a 4-inch-long hook in its throat will be returning home to the waters of Cocoa Beach soon! Thank you SeaWorld and Inwater Research Group for finding and taking care of this beautiful animal and to the vets who removed the hook and helped it make a quick recovery!

SeaWorld Rehab Teams Are Ready to Roll when and where an animal needs them.

“The turtle, a sub-adult weighing approximately 100 pounds, was rescued from the intake canal at the St. Lucie Power Plant in St. Lucie County, Fla. The animal arrived at SeaWorld Orlando February 26 and immediately underwent surgery following x-rays and blood work procedures. Vets removed a 4 inch-long fish hook, and after a speedy recovery, the turtle is now ready to be released back into the wild.

The loggerhead was found by the Inwater Research Group – an organization committed to the research and conservation of coastal species and habitats – who also assisted in the animal’s transport.

According to SeaWorld veterinarians, the fishing hook was one of the largest the team has removed to date. To help protect this threatened species, make sure fishing line and all trash is disposed of properly. When fishing, use new “circle” hooks – turtles are less likely to swallow the circle-shaped hooks than traditional J-shaped, which cause suffocation or internal bleeding when swallowed. Also, if a sea turtle’s nest is seen, please contact authorities.

This year, SeaWorld Orlando has rescued nine sea turtles. For 45 years, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment has helped animals in need — ill, injured and orphaned. More than 20,000 animals have been rescued by our experts.‪ SeaWorld’s animal rescue team is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. ‪”

Remembering Our Son’s First Visit to SeaWorld

My son is 5. Oh how those words fill me with pride and emotion. It seems like only yesterday we had him, and soon after that were visiting SeaWorld. He had some health issues at birth, so that first visit included a monitor and lots of wires. He slept through most of the day, I admit, but his parents were refreshed and renewed, taking in all the loveliness and beauty around us. A dolphin baby splashed right by us at the nursery. We smiled, looking at our little baby squirming in our arms.

We took turns holding him and pushing the stroller. We paused to watch the sea lions. All in all, I remember imagining all the amazing things we’d do here at SeaWorld with this tiny little boy of ours. Sigh.

Jump to the present.

Aforementioned baby is now 5. Five! My head spins when this kid who used to be so tiny just flies by me, running top speed. It’s birthday time, and he (again!) wants a SeaWorld theme. (To read about our other party, click here.)

Already this week we’ve sorted his “buddies” (a.k.a. stuffed animals) for the event. He wants all the penguins to be in their own habitat. No, we can’t use real ice. He’d like the birds to be in an aviary. Yes, we can put out some bird seed, but our guests do NOT have to sample it. Our remote control shark needs a pond to swim in. “Can we use the baby pool if we still have it?” he asks. It’s a lot of fun having him figure out how he wants it all to look, and what he wants people to see and do.

I’m in high gear coming up with food items for the occasion. I found some adorable penguin appetizers made out of cream cheese, carrots, and olives. We’re also serving “hot-dog-topuses.” (Check out the items I’m working on at Pinterest and if you have a great party idea, send it on!)

I firmly believe that conservation begins with inspiration. Even at 5, my son is already developing a tremendous respect and love for those with whom we share our world. He’s mindful of recycling, reducing our use of natural resources, and caring for animals. It brings me great joy that even in his idea for a party he wants to teach others about marine animals and share the love and joy of being near them and appreciating their awesomeness.

It all started with a visit to SeaWorld nearly 5, FIVE, years ago. I’m grateful!

Preschoolers are FREE in 2012 at SeaWorld, Orlando and Busch Gardens

Preschoolers can enjoy all of 2012 for Free!

Children age 5 and younger get into SeaWorld AND Busch Gardens for all of 2012 for free! The Preschool Pass is good for unlimited admission with NO blackout dates the entire year. Every special event is included. Every festival. All of it! Click HERE to sign up.

Our resident preschooler is looking forward to the “Just for Kids!” festival featuring concerts by Lazy Town, Max & Ruby, the Doodlebops and Choo Choo Soul, along with plenty of family-friendly fun and activities on Saturdays, Jan. 14 through Feb. 4.

At Busch Gardens, Sesame Street Safari of Fun is ALWAYS a hit. New this year (and on our to do-list: Iceploration, premiering this February.

“Must-see” preschool attractions at SeaWorld Orlando

SeaWorld’s littlest guests can enjoy the wildly popular 4-acre play area, Shamu’s Happy Harbor.  It’s a kid’s dream come true, complete with kid-size rides, a 4-story net climb, and a great place for parents to relax while watching their kids have splashes of fun.  The park’s first family-oriented roller coaster, “Shamu Express” can be found here along with other kiddie rides to explore.

Of course no visit to SeaWorld is complete without being splashed by Shamu!  SeaWorld’s newest killer whale show, “One Ocean,” features majestic whales performing spectacular behaviors, including thrilling high-energy leaps, while educating and inspiring kids and their families to make a difference in this world.  And at “Blue Horizons” kids will be awed by graceful dolphins, false killer whales, a rainbow of exotic birds, and entire cast of divers and aerialists.

Kid-favorite “Pets Ahoy!” will leave children giggling as a menagerie of rescued dogs, cats, birds, rats, skunks, pot-belly pigs, and other animals performing a series of uproarious and amazing skits.

While older kids are flying, gliding and soaring on Manta, younger ones can experience the incredible underwater world of tropical fish and rays in the floor-to-ceiling aquariums.  Manta’s underwater viewing area is home to more than 3,000 species. Kids can even “pop up” in the middle of a small aquarium, surrounding themselves with hundreds of fish for some great photos.

At Dolphin Cove, kids (and parents) can touch and feed dolphins and also go below the surface for an underwater view where they just might see a dolphin blowing a bubble or two!

Plus, SeaWorld features a cozy Baby Care Center located at Shamu’s Happy Harbor with top-of-the-line changing facilities, private feeding rooms and pint-sized potties.  This brightly-colored building gives parents the privacy and comfort of a home-away-from home in the middle of all the fun and is a one-stop shop for baby necessities.

Busch Garden loves kids, too!

Don’t forget this awesome new FREE Preschool Pass also includes Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. Just a short hour’s drive away, in addition to all the  wondrous animal encounters at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, preschoolers will delight in Sesame Street Safari of Fun, a sunny funny play land, filled with moments that your family can share for the first time — like a first coaster experience aboard Air Grover. And everyday smiles can be repeated time after time —clapping along to original shows, splashing in our expansive water play area and enjoying kid-size rides.

Sign up today!

The Free SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Preschool Pass is an exclusive online offer, available at SeaWorldOrlando.com or BuschGardensTampaBay.com. It is exclusively for Florida residents ages 5 and younger and is valid for unlimited admission – with no blackout dates – through Dec. 31, 2012 at SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. The Preschool Pass does not include parking or Premium Passport discounts or benefits.

After registering through either park’s website, registrants can pick up the Preschool Pass for their child by bringing a printed confirmation and a certified copy of the child’s birth certificate to any ticket window at SeaWorld’s or Busch Gardens’ front gate.

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