If you’ve been paying attention, you might have gathered we’ve been vacationing in Florida.  We’re back, but I thought I’d put down some thoughts about another of the many attractions in the Orlando area:  Sea World.

Sea World is a great bargain

As far as amusement parks go, Sea World is only outrageously expensive instead of jaw-dropping, incredibly, shamefully costly.  In addition, because it’s educational, many people avoid going and the crowds aren’t so great.  My children commented on the fact that their rides are longer and the lines are shorter.

Be careful of the fauna

We watched an egret (or something like it) hop onto a table at which three girls were eating.  Without a qualm, the bird proceeded to steal their food.  It had no fear of human beings.  They giggled, but they were big girls.  I imagine a toddler might be frightened rather than amused.  There are signs warning you that the birds might do this, but it’s quite another thing to experience it.  Some of these birds are big!

Sea World is a little “gun-shy”

Animal rights activists have been explaining to anyone who will listen that keeping dolphins and killer whales in captivity is unpardonably evil, and Sea World employees have been stricken by the accusations into justifying their behavior.  At every show and exhibit, trainers and employees stressed that they love their animals, and the animals are only there because they were rescued.  The animals may have been born there!  Some of the animals can no longer live in the wild and survive.  Plus, scientists learn things by studying the animals in a controlled environment, and this may help marine biologists preserve animals in the wild.  So there!

This made a lot of sense to me.  And, really, how do animal rights activists know that dolphins would rather be hunting their own fish and dodging sharks in the ocean rather than doing tricks in a big tank for food?  Do they speak dolphin?

I don’t believe

Once you’ve seen a manatee up close, there is no way you can believe an 18th century sailor mistook one for a mermaid.  I know olden-day sailors might not have seen a woman for months, but it’s incredible any of them were that desperate.  I’d rather believe in mermaids than swallow that explanation for mermaid sightings.   Manatees are incredibly hideous.  If you don’t believe me, go see one.

If you can only see one show….

See the dolphins.  The killer whales were also fun, but the dolphins are quicker, smaller, and jump higher.  They have more variety in their act.  Avoid the seal, otter, and walrus show unless you’re bored and don’t want to leave the park yet.  Apparently, there’s only so much you can do with a seal and an otter.  The otters are cute, but that’s the extent of their acting ability.

Learn

There are lots of exhibits for learning about fish, aquatic mammals, and birds.  Take the time to read the plaques or talk to a friendly guide.  It’s worth it!

Sharks are our friends (unless they eat you)

Sea World is quite insistent that men are more dangerous to sharks than sharks are to men.  Apparently, they’ve not seen Jaws or read the book.  While it’s true that you are more likely to survive a shark attack then survive a lightning strike, I intend to go to my grave without experiencing either incident.  And, let me be clear:  if it’s either me or the shark, the shark better hope I don’t have a harpoon handy.

Next time:  Disney World!

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