Yes, it's time for another holiday post as it's been a bit of a while since the last one. I really am beginning to forget all the details now so thought I'd better get on and get them finished!
The second week of our holiday saw us visiting Sea World. Now, I've read a lot of mixed reviews about Sea World both before and after our visit and I'm still on the fence about some of the issues raised. Although the creatures appear to be treated well and also appear to enjoy their performances and interaction with humans I can't deny that I too feel it is cruel to hold them in captivity. However, I also know that places such as Sea World offer us an opportunity to learn about and view these creatures that we would not get otherwise, this in turn helps to promote conservation efforts by building an interest in nature from a young age. So, with my views out of the way onwards to our visit!
One thing I will mention that was very noticeable upon first entering the park is that, like Universal, staff are simply not as friendly and approachable as at the Disney parks. There was still a much higher level of customer service than you would expect in the UK but I think after you visit Disney you just get spoilt! The park itself is lovely, very well laid out, clean and areas are easy to find. We decided to head to the 'Blue Horizons' show first as this was next on the schedule and we were near by.
If anyone was to ask me about the favourite part of our Florida holiday the 'Blue Horizons' show would have to be in the top 3 - it was simply astounding! The show featured water performers, bottlenose dolphins, false killer whales, exotic birds, high divers, trapeze artists.......you name it! The dolpins were just amazing performing flips and spirals out of the water and their interaction with the performers was just wonderful. The show came to a dramatic conclusion with numerous dolphins jumping from the water simultaneously, exotic birds flying over the crowd and into the performance area and the lead performer being spun into the air on a high rope. What with all this and the stirring original soundtrack played by the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, the whole spectacle is just spine tingling and I have to admit brought a tear to my eye.
There were many other great sites to enjoy at the park including the sea lions, stingray pool, turtle point, aquarium, penguins and of course the 'Believe' show in the Shamu Stadium. We'd been warned in advance that the 'Shamu' show had lost a lot of it's pizazz due to the sad death of a trainer in February 2010. Although it was still wonderful to see the Orca's in all there glory and the amazing feats they're capable of the show didn't come close to the marvel of 'Blue Horizons'.
'A' absolutely loved the 'Jewel of the Sea Aquarium'. This was well laid out with loads of weird and wonderful sea creatures to see such as the 'leafy sea dragon' which we had lots of very blurred photo's of :). There was also another opportunity to see the stingray's up close as you could actually watch them swimming overhead at one point.
Food was very nice I have to say. We ate fish and chips at the 'Seafire Inn' and had a wonderful cheesecake for dessert. Again, the whole place was very clean and well organised and food was pretty much cooked to order.
Our last trip of the day was the exhibit 'Wild Arctic' unfortunately this left us on a bit of a downer as for the first time that day we really did feel like the enclosures for the Polar Bear and Walrus were just too small and it was very sad to see them in these circumstances. Our initial impression upon entering 'Wild Arctic' was that it had been really well thought out. There was a drastic drop in temperature as you walked around and even a false arctic sky, it's just a shame that more thought wasn't put into the actual enclosures rather than the exhibit as a whole.
All in all, as I said at the beginning of this post, I have very mixed feelings and memories of the day. One thing is for sure though, Sea World if nothing else is certainly unforgettable.