Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Shaky Start

We were late to camp today because Avery got sick last night and threw up again this morning, actually both kids threw up! Luckily it was just a bug or something and they appear to be better.
Today was a lot of fun. We started by comparing the length and weight of dolphins, beluga whales, and orcas. Orcas grow from 18-22 feet and weigh 12,000-16,000 pounds. Beluga whales get up to 12 feet and about 3,000 pounds. The Pacific White Sided Dolphin is 6-8 feet long and weighs 300-400 pounds.
We went and looked at the beluga whales, we were only a few feet away from where they surfaced! Then we had a question and answer session with one of the dolphin trainers. The kids were asking basic questions like how cold is the water (67 degrees), how many dolphins do you have (7), do the animals prefer one trainer over another (sometimes), and other relatively simple things. Avery raised her hand and waited several minutes to be called on. When it was her turn she simply asked, "Where is the Daddy dolphin?" The trainer said that was a very good question. The dad, Jump-Jump, is on loan to an aquarium in Chicago. Zoos, aquariums, and parks around the world work together and trade semen samples to keep gene pools varied. He said that sending sample through Fed-Ex is much simpler than trying to transfer the animals across the country or around the planet!!! Have you ever tried to explain artificial insemination to a bunch of 4-5 year olds? Obviously the trainer hasn't either! It was pretty funny!!!
We had some time to spend before the Viva! show. It was the perfect time for snack. Then, we made some construction paper tadpoles. I didn't realize that Sea World had a frog exhibit, but we got to see it today. Most of the frogs appeared to be wax figures, you had to look very closely to observe them breathing.
After the frogs, we went back over to the Viva! stadium and Anthony got to dress up as a beluga whale. He had blubber, fins, a tail, and a humped head. The kids offered explanations for why a beluga has the hump on his for when he bumps the glass, stores water like a camels hump, or helps them float. The real reason is for echolocation.
All of the Small Wonders campers got to see the Viva! show together. This is an acrobatic show with Beluga whales, dolphins, synchronized swimmers, and high-jumping divers. It is simply amazing how high out of the water the dophins can jump!!! They don't just jump, they also twist and flip and spin!!!! WOW! Avery was impressed with the beluga whales pushing the trainers around the pools. After the show one of the Beluga trainers came over. He said the animals started out nopt wanting to cooperate, but the show was successful in the end. The kids wanted to know if it hurt the whalews for him to stand on their noses. He told them no! Whales are much bigger and stronger than humans and they just feel pressure when the trainers are on their noses!!
I'm really enjoying Sea World camp!!!
After camp, Avery and I went to Lost Lagoon with Cameron, her uncle, Sophie, and her Nana. They floated a while in the Castaway River. All appeared to have a good time, and I enjoyed relaxing by myself! The others stayed in Lost Lagoon to have lunch while Avery and I went over the Shamu's Harbor. There we rode the Orca roller coaster. Avery really enjoyed it, even going on it again by herself!!!! She is growing up too quickly!!!