Miami Seaquarium

Miami Seaquarium

(by Sherry)

The Miami Seaquarium was, I believe, the very first Florida attraction I ever went to, even before I'd actually moved down here. I'd gone a couple of times back then, but it had been a long, long time (probably over 20 years) between trips when I returned in September 2008.

First stop was the manatee exhibit. Manatees are funny creatures. I had only very recently seen my very first manatees in the wild (up in Jupiter) so it was especially interesting to see them up close and personal here. This guy has rolled over on his back. I'm pretty sure that's his bellybutton you see in the lower right.

You can see the one on the lower left has a very deep, nasty scar around his midsection. Apparently he'd gotten caught in a rope or fishing line or something and had been trapped in it for years before he was rescued.

Next stop was the Flipper show. I seem to recall, the last time I was here, thinking the area for the Flipper show looked exactly like the set for the TV show (which makes sense, since I believe the TV show was filmed here). However, I don't think it looks like that now; I'm not sure if it's just my bad memory or if they've changed things, but I suspect the latter.

In any case, the Flipper show features several dolphins jumping and doing other dolphin things. You know what? It's really hard to get a good picture of a dolphin jumping. You need to have your camera pointed at just the right spot, in focus, and have the shutter open at exactly the right time (which is especially hard with these new autofocus cameras :-) The best I got is at right.

On the other hand, you have more time when they do the standing-on-their-tails thing:

I was amused watching this egret. He was hanging around at the back of the action during most of the show, then as it ended he walked out to this box, which is where they kept all the fish they'd been using as treats for the dolphins.

This was a children's play area, but there were no kids there at the time so I had to pose for a photo op.

The next major show was the seal show at the Golden Dome. As we entered, we looked up to see this great egret waiting for the show to start. Apparently the wild animals around here have also learned where to go for easy food pickins.

They blow bubbles all over the place for the beginning of the seal show:

When I had been here previously, I was totally blown away by how well the seals could balance things on their noses, just like in the cartoons. So I was looking forward to getting a picture of that; but alas, they didn't do it this show. But here are a couple of other pictures from the show:

They have a variety of animal exhibits. For example, they have sea turtles that they rehabilitate; this is a loggerhead.

This iguana was roaming wild. You can't see it in the picture, but he had an odd tail, with 3 branches, like a tree.

They also have a number of small tanks exhibiting creatures like these lobsters. The one in front seemed to be doing a little dance for us.

The also have a large coral reef aquarium with lots of interesting fish:

But the highlight of the Seaquarium is probably its killer whale show, featuring Lolita, who performs along with some Pacific white-sided dolphins (if memory serves). These dolphins seemed easier to get pictures of, compared to the ones at the Flipper show (I think they jumped higher and hence were in the air longer), but because I had the gray seats on the background, my pics didn't come out that good. On the other hand, it was easy to catch Lolita, probably because of her sheer mass:

And here she is, taking her "bow" at the end of the show:

And, another case of the wild ones learning where the food is.... This night heron was waiting around the whole show for his chance at the whale treats. You can actually see him in the center of the "stage" in the previous photo.

My final show this day was the dolphin show. Maybe they jumped higher than Flipper, or maybe I was just finally getting the hang of it, but it seemed easier to get photos of these dolphins:

On the way out, I caught hold of this whale tail! You don't believe it's real? Well, OK... yes, it's just a photo op, but the tail is real in size.

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