Ocean World: Sea Lions and Sharks
After the sea lion show, we watched a quick shark show where the trainers show off some small sharks. These guys don’t do any tricks, but they are cool to look at! Next, was the moment I’ve been waiting for my whole life: getting to meet a sea lion in the sea lion encounter. Joe and I were the only ones scheduled, so we got 30 minutes of sea lion love all to ourselves! First we had to put on our bathing suits and rinse off, then we got some instructions from the trainer and some background on the animals we would meet. The trainer told us he was going to try to bring out their youngest female (five years old), but that she was very timid and didn’t always do well with strangers, so they might have to switch her with a different sea lion. First, we posed for pictures with the small female and a large male named Shadow. They put their heads on our shoulders, gave us kisses, and made funny faces. I nearly cried, I was so excited!
Shadow the Friendly Sea Lion
Next, we moved down to the pool area and sat with our feet in the pool while each of the sea lions swam by and stopped for pets. We got to give them belly rubs! After that we got to feed each of them some fish, play catch with Shadow, and try giving them some commands to see if they would listen to us. Before I knew it, our 30 minutes were over and we had to say goodbye. Shadow ended our visit by splashing us with his flippers in a huge tidal wave before leaving the pool! The sea lions were awesome and I could not believe how gentle they were for such large creatures! The trainers were also great and answered the many questions we had. There was also a photographer there (they don’t allow you to bring in your own camera) and you can purchase the photos after, but beware, they are quite expensive.
Ocean World: Dolphins
After meeting our new best friends, we had a buffet lunch, which was decent. We then spent the rest of the day watching the other shows and wandering around the park. It was a bit overcast and rainy for most of the afternoon, so we didn’t go in the pool or in the snorkeling reef. We did, however, wander over by the lagoon where the baby dolphins live. We noticed three to four dolphins quickly approached us when we stopped to look in and started popping their heads out of the water.
Suddenly, we saw a large rock fly through the air, right past my head and land on the ground. We looked back to see the three dolphins with their mouths wide open making giggling sounds! One of them then dove underwater, and came back up with a ball of moss in his mouth which she then tossed right at Joe. Joe caught it and threw it back to her, much to the dolphin’s delight. This started a 10-minute long game of the dolphins throwing small rocks and moss at us and splashing us! While we found this to be an awesome experience, we found out later from our guide that it has actually been a problem there. The dolphins have created their own little game of throwing rocks to people, and recently, they split an unsuspecting woman’s head open with a large rock!
Here are a few tips if you decide to go to Ocean World.
- Bring your bathing suit. You are going to get wet!
- Definitely get an animal encounter with either the sea lions or dolphins (the shark one looked a little boring).
- Make sure to bring plenty of cash with you.
We discovered the most expensive thing at the park was getting pictures with the animals, but it turns out there is a loophole. If you walk by an exhibit at the right time, the animal trainers will offer to take you up close to the animals and take pictures on your own phone for a small tip. I was delighted to get a smooch from a dolphin before we left!