To Do


9. Play with dolphins

My Story

Completed September 2004

My baby sister (who hates it when I call her that) came out to Southern California for a visit. She wanted to go to Sea World. I did not want to go, but I felt obligated to show her a good time since she did travel all the way across the country.

Really, I didn’t so much enjoy myself at Sea World. We watched several animal shows and I found myself sitting there brooding over the sad fate of these majestic animals, reduced to spending their lives in small tanks, performing the same tricks over and over for the delight of sunburned tourists.

Probably the highlight of the day was when the trainers pulled a young girl up from the audience during the dolphin show to have her pet one of the dolphins. “What does his skin feel like?” the trainer asked. “He feels like a hot dog,” the little girl answered, and we all got a good laugh.

Later we paid $4.00 for a little paper plate of fish to feed to the dolphins. The rules were simple. You fed the dolphins the fish one at a time and got to pat them on the head once for each fish you fed them. In case you forgot the rules, no worries, because the dolphins had them down pat. In fact, the dolphins had even figured out that there were five fish on each paper plate. They would obligingly let you pet their heads after fishes 1 through 4, but immediately after you fed them fish number 5, they would shoot off across the tank. I can only imagine them laughing underwater at their own cunning. There’s a reason why they always look like they’re smiling.

In case you’re wondering, they do, indeed, feel exactly like hot dogs.

We also visited a couple other interactive exhibits. At a tide pool exhibit, we were allowed to pick up and pet sea stars, sea urchins, and sea anenomes. There was also a sting ray exhibit, where we got to run our fingers over squishy, slimy, de-stingered sting rays. We also got to flirt with the cute biologist on duty at the sting ray exhibit, repeatedly making him show us the proper way to pet the sting rays.

Don’t bother with the Shamu cookies. Bleh.

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