What do you do with a 5 year boy who you only spend a day with
once a year? You take him to the Miami Seaquarium, in Miami Dade County, of coarse. The
Seaquarium is a great way to spend a day with someone special like
Dane, my Godson. Our time was filled with visits to the Bottlenose
Dolphins during the Flipper and Top Deck Show, educational Manatee
exhibit, Shark Channel, Main Reef Aquarium, Sea Lions clown show,
and the Orca Killer Whales show.
After paying we started our journey through the different presentations.
The first show was the Top Deck Dolphin Show featuring the natural
athletic ability of the Atlantic bottlenose dolphin. This was a
little overwhelming for Dane; the music was loud and the action
in the water was extremely high paced. It was hard for Dane to comprehend
the overabundance of noise and action. As part of the audience you
are close to the action in this show, which I found really exciting,
but for a
small boy it was not much fun. I think if we had a chance to warm
up to the facility and the action it would have been better for
Dane. If you take a small child be sure to arrive earlier than we
did, about 10 am.
After each main show there is a 1/2 hour break before the next
show begins. During the break we had a chance to go to the ongoing
exhibits, the Manatee, Shark Channel, and Reef Aquarium exhibits.
At the Manatee exhibit we had a chance to come face-to-face with
Floridas state marine mammal. We were able to view manatees
through poolside and underwater viewing areas. The manatees featured
are part of the rescue and rehabilitation program at Miami Seaquarium.
Presentation provides an opportunity to learn about this fascinating
and highly endangered animal and, more importantly, explains ways
that we can help save these gentle creatures of the sea. Please
visit the Internet if you are interested in helping these beautiful
When Miami Seaquarium first opened in 1955 one of the main attractions
was the Shark Channel exhibit. The day we visited the shark presentation
animal care specialists fed 200-pound nurse sharks while explaining
the different species of shark that exist around the world.
My favorite exhibit was the Main Reef Aquarium, with its 750,000-gallon
main tank teeming with reef fishes of every size, color and description.
During the reef presentation a diver slowly works his way around
the tank allowing visitors to watch as he hand feeds the colorful
tropical fish, large groupers, cobia, loggerhead turtles and moray
eels. This presentation is accompanied by an environmental narration.
In addition to the Main Reef Aquarium, there are 26 jewel
tanks that surround the Top Deck Dolphin Stadium, which display
a wide variety of marine fishes, corals, anemones and other marine-life.
If you are not a snorkeler this will give you a glimpse of what
you are missing. I look forward to the day that Dane is old enough
to snorkel with me. I hope he enjoys it.
Before lunch we had time to head to another show, the Flipper Dolphin
Show, which takes place at the Flipper Lagoon, film location for
much of the popular 1960s television show of the same name.
The Flipper dolphins demonstrate the grace and intelligence of Atlantic
bottlenose dolphins. Dane was much more comfortable at this show.
There more space between the stand and the water, and the music
wasnt as loud. Unfortunately Dane was still experiencing some
anxiety from the first show and, subsequently, did not like this
show either. We had to leave the show early and stroll around the
park before lunch.
Next, we headed to the cafeteria for lunch. You might want to pack
a lunch and bring it, because the menu is very limited with only
hot dogs, hamburgers, and fries. They do have apple juice, though,
which made Dane very happy.
After lunch we headed to the Sea Lion Show. Dane seemed to like
this show the best, probably because of the friendly presentation
of the sea lion. The announcer showed the different talents and
behaviors of the sea lion while incorporating it into a skit. There
was no music during this presentation. It was very funny and it
made everyone laugh, especially the children. This stadium is small
and seating was very limited. Many individuals had to sit on the
stairs, including us. Once again, my advice is to get there early
for a good seat.
The final show of the day for us was the killer whales program featuring
Lolita and her Pacific white-sided dolphin companions. The line
started early because this show was only given once a day. The arena
was big, so even though we did not get their early, we were able
to get a seat. The first 8 rows from the bottom of the seating is
the splash zone, where spectators will get wet when Lolita jumps
up out of and plummets back into the water. Some children really
love to get wet and others dont like it at all. I didnt
chance it with Dane. You should consider what your child would prefer.
Luckily, we had good viewing seats and were excited to see this
show. The music is high paced, starting off with Michael Jacksons
dance song while the dolphins and Lolita, the killer whales, start jumping in and out
of the water, getting the crowd really excited. It was amazing how
big and powerful Lolita was, especially in her diving acrobatics.
I was able to take some great photos with her and the trainers.
Hopefully the photos will tell the story better than I do!
By early afternoon Dane was totally exhausted and wanted to leave.
Even I was tired. In the end, we both agreed we had a great day
at the Miami Seaquarium, the killer whales, dolphins, and would recommend it to anyone who is
coming to South Florida and Miami. Danes parents tell me he
is still talking about
his day at the Miami Seaquarium with his Godfather. Hopefully you
can have special day with a special child in your life sometime
The Miami Seaquarium is quite easy to get to within the state of
Florida. The facility is located at the end of Interstate 95, on
Virginia Key, one of the islands heading toward Key Biscayne. The
hours of operation are 9:30am to 6pm, 7 days a week. The cost is
$23.95 for adults and $18.95 for a child age 3 to 9 years old. The
telephone number is 305-361-5705. A nice hint visit the Miami
Seaquarium website to get a $2 off coupon, which will help if you
have a large family or group.