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10 Reasons To Take Your Kids To SeaWorld




My kiddos have pretty much been raised at the park in Orlando. As it started out, when my daughter was three and the twins were five, it was one of the only places that I ever got out with the kids. The experiences that we have had there, and the things that we have learned together, are beyond value to our family. I struggle a lot with the unfounded criticism about the parks; they literally wound me emotionally, because our park makes up such a monumental portion of our family’s history. If you haven’t had a chance to visit one of the parks before, here are some reasons that it is an experience not to be missed.

1.     The beauty. From the landscaping to the architecture to the truly stunning creatures, the beauty to be found in the parks is unsurpassed. Even if we are not engaged in a show or an exhibit, I simply love to walk the park and look around. I never fail to notice something new and beautiful.
2.     The effort. SeaWorld is making a big effort to reduce the waste that they produce. They have even gone to the lengths of initiating waste reduction programs in their restaurants. I can always feel good about feeding my family there.
3.     The attention. SeaWorld cares for the animals at their parks with unsurpassed attention and care, and their parks are some of the most successful zoos in the world in terms of the health and longevity of their animals. The weekly diet chart for the otters alone is so detailed and well balanced that it boggles my mind. Those otters eat better than my own kids.
4.     The contribution. When we pay to visit the park, we know that we are contributing to the rescues of over thirty thousand marine animals. Especially as citizens of the state of Florida, we know that our local wildlife services do not have the resources that Sea World does, and we truly need their help to protect our wild animals.
5.     The education. We do not come home from the park on any given visit, and we visit a lot, without having learned something new about marine life, our oceans, or conservation. There are animal experts accessibly stationed at every animal exhibit to answer questions about the animals who live there.
6.     The inspiration. From what I have learned from lectures and demonstrations at the park, I have been inspired to change the habits of my own family in terms of how we interact with our wild surroundings as well as the choices that we make as consumers. We know that the changes that we have actively made make a difference to wild creatures all over the world.
7.     The sheer joy. I sometimes tell my kids that I need to go and see a show so that I can get my crowd fix. I am truly brought to tears by being present to witness the joy that people experience when they get the opportunity to observe the amazing animals that so excitedly perform in the live shows.
8.     The connection. Like with many zoos around the world, the opportunity to be up close and personal with the special animals that live at the parks helps to create that connection, especially in children, that inspires people to care about the wild animals that live all over our world. When people are inspired to care, they are inspired to make a difference, and we are in desperate need of more people who want to make a difference in this world.
9.     The conservation. The amazing scientists and veterinarians that work at the parks are doing research and collecting data every day that is put towards better helping wild marine animals survive and thrive. Without these contributions to conservation, and the awareness that is raised by Sea World and other zoos, many species of animals around the world would be at greater risk of extinction.
10. The honest experience. No matter what anyone has ever told me or speculated about, I want to experience the truth for myself. Being aware of the health and happiness of the animals that I care about, first hand and up close is the only source of knowledge that I am willing to depend on. When I visit the parks I can rest assured that all of these animals are adored by their trainers and keepers, and treated with kindness and love. There is no better proof of anything than to see it with our very own eyes. I urge you to give the parks a visit, and experience the magic of a place that is truly dear to our hearts.   


Comments

  1. Dear Silly Mommy Luni,

    Beautifully written, and I completely understand what you're saying and what you want to share with your family.

    However, there is a sad truth behind all the beauty and magic. Fact is that a lot of SW animals are captured in the wild. Not all in Taiji, Japan, but from several places. Taiji is by far the worst of them, but any wild capture of a dolphin (including orca) is devastating to both the animals captured and their pod.

    Please watch this information:

    * Frontline: A Whale of a Business
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D3fZ2dMdtu8

    * A fall from Freedom:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79ompkCgimQ

    Or check Ric O'Barry's website - he used to catch dolphins and he was Flipper (tv series) trainer for years: http://dolphinproject.org/

    I am very aware I am asking you to do something you don't want to do; to accept something that will hurt the beautiful memories. But closing your eyes for the truth doesn't make it any less true, as I am sure you know.

    Times are changing, and your children will at some point learn the truth when they get older. They'll ask questions and may even feel bad for going so often and not knowing the truth. I say that not as a threat, but because I believe you are raising children that care about nature, our oceans and the beautiful creatures that call our oceans home.

    For the sake of the animals, please watch the documentaries.
    Thank you!!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Zout,

      While I do appreciate your comments and have to applaud the sensibility with which you wrote them, because I do not often see it in rebuttal to my many SeaWorld support posts, I do have to respectfully disagree.

      It may help you to know that I speak out specifically because I have family friends who are trainers whom I am highly supportive of. I have been behind the scenes at shows where very few people get to visit, and where there are absolutely no abuses happening. I have also met some extremely happy marine animals.

      Trainers love animals more than anyone else that I have ever met. They risk their lives on a daily basis to facilitate the work of animals who serve as ambassadors to our oceans. If these parks did not exist, scores of people would not care one bit about marine life. People from foreign countries where animals get almost no respect or concern visit the SeaWorld parks. They come from places like Spain where people still throw goats out of windows to their death as part of an annual celebration. It is important that zoos exist where connection and care for the animal kingdom is encouraged.

      Huge amounts of profit stand to be made from these types of "documentaries" that do not go towards animal conservation. My children and I constantly study factual sea life information, and no we absolutely refuse to watch sensationalized propaganda.

      We also speak often about the controversy involving SeaWorld, and other animal rights issues. My children are well aware that peta not only publishes cartoons titled, "Your Mommy is a Murderer, " but they also make public death threats, and cover up the murders of hundreds of cats and dogs at their hands.

      Sea world has not captured an Orca in the wild for over thirty years, and when they did it was because there was serious concern that the whales were going to go completely extinct in the wild. Their parks do however, house countless marine animals that have been rescued and cannot be returned to the oceans.

      I am personally so concerned about animal cruelty that I do not consume meat, so you can rest assured that I do very thorough research.

      The staff at the parks has been forbidden to speak publicly on these issues for their own safety, and that is why you do not hear them speaking out in defense of the jobs that they love.

      Like in my article, I urge you again to go and visit the parks and see for yourself. We were there just yesterday, and we had a wonderful time. I encourage you to form your opinion for yourself, and not to rely on the hearsay of others. Films in particular, can be incredibly misleading. Watching television alone makes the brain more open to suggestion. Getting information from someone who used to wrangle animals in Hollywood, is in no where comparable to getting information from one of the most successful zoos in the world. I would urge you to look into how much money this man is making from his "project". None of the money that was made from the film Blackfish has been used for animal conservation. It is a very sad state of affairs when the company that is doing the most work to help animals is the one that is being targeted by opportunists. This is just something to consider.

      Thanks-Kristin

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  2. Hai Kristin,

    Thank you so much for your reply!

    Sadly, many 'activists' seem to think that being disrespectful helps them get their point across. I strongly disagree with that, and with the whole "if they disagree with me they're just bad people who don't care" attitude.
    Most people, no matter how they feel about captive dolphins, are decent people who just want the best for the animals.

    Same goes for the trainers; I believe without a shadow of a doubt they more then care about the animals. And they work incredibly hard at keeping them as happy and healthy as they can. I personally am very grateful those trainers do what they do every day for the animals in their care.

    There's really only one problem with captive dolphins --both smaller ones, like Bottlenose dolphins ("Flipper") and orcas alike-- which is simply that no matter what we do for them, we simply can't provide cetacea what they need to be truly happy & healthy. The room, the family pod, the prey they hunt, the ability to use their full sonar and language - none of it can be provided, simply because there's no room to build a sea on land and we need to use concrete or polyester to build the pools.

    Orcas in the wild live in family pods, with a matriarch leading them. A family stays together for their whole lives and have their own language, way of hunting and preferred food. A wild orca will only 'talk' to others if they are introduced to that other orca by their mother or matriarch.

    In captivity, we can't provide enough room for orcas - they are simply way too big. The pools we have (world wide, not blaming SeaWorld) are way too small for even one orca, let alone several. They need to swim for miles just to keep their muscle tone (and dorsal fin) up and stay .. well, sane, basically ;) And -much worse- we can't provide them with the family ties they depend on.

    We can't keep more them maybe 3 or 4 orcas in any given park, which is nothing compared to their family life. At the very best, we can keep a mother and calf together for a certain period, but rarely for live and never with the ties they need: all the related males & females together, with a matriarch leading them. Mostly, orcas / dolphins at theme parks come from different pods / parks and would have nothing to do with each other in the wild. They don't even speak the same language.

    In short, it's simply impossible to provide them what they need: room enough to swim for miles & miles, together with their pod, communicating in their own language. If you are interested about learning about wild orcas: http://vimeo.com/45809457 is a documentary about Ingrid Visser, one of the leading orca researchers. It's just about her and her work and has nothing to do with the captivity-issue at all.

    While I'm willing to believe Blackfish was made with the best of intentions, I don't think just saying "it's wrong!" is the way to go. That's just forcing a point of view on a person, without taking them seriously enough to tell them much about WHY we shouldn't keep those animals captive. For many captive animals, we can provide what they need or at least get very close to it, allowing them to live a life close to what they would have in the wild. For dolphins, we simply can't, which is why we shouldn't :)

    Kind regards and thanks for reading!
    (English isn't my first language, so I'm sorry for being lengthy at times - can't always find the right words to quickly explain what I'm trying to say.)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Zout,

    Wow! If this is your second language, I am truly impressed. I am fluent in French but my written French is appalling...barely legible. I understand the information that you have to share, I guess that it all just comes down to a difference of opinion. I don't see the hardship for wales and dolphins when they can't travel long distances, do not have to fight predators to survive, and face the possibility of starvation and shorter life spans. I understand the concept that every creature deserves to be free, but then, by that thinking I don't see the human race as being all that free or living as we were naturally meant to live either, and I think that we do okay. At least, I am very happy.

    Here at our park in Orlando we have seven Orcas together, a group of four or five Belugas and large groups of dolphins as well. There are also four new rescued pilot whales. The other day I was actually taking pictures of the dolphins before a show as they amused themselves over and over again by jumping up onto the stage, posing, and pushing each other off.

    From my own observation, I actually believe that the whales that have an opportunity to perform and interact with park guests have a much more enjoyable existence than many animals in other zoos that appear to be very bored and display signs of their malcontent. I am actually quite pleased that the park has not taken on another polar bear after we lost our bear who was almost forty years old, because I see polar bears as one of the animals who have the most difficulty surviving in captivity, even though they are only allowed to be taken in by zoos if it is not possible for them to survive in the wild.

    If our whales were showing signs of stress, looking sad or lonely, or even bored, that would be one thing. If they didn't live as long, or normally even longer than they could be expected to live in the wild, that would be another, because when creatures suffer from emotional stress, their health suffers greatly. This is why I strongly urge people to visit our parks. I have never seen any of our whales, performing or not, appear in any way unwell. People can continue to insist that they are suffering all day long, but am only going to believe what I see with my own eyes.

    Thanks again, -Kristin

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