Killer Whale and Dolphin Show, Photo by Zoo Nation

Postcards From The Zoo: Miami Seaquarium

Greetings from Miami Seaquarium!  Nestled right sunny south Florida, this is one of the oldest operating marine parks in the country.

The star attractions of the Seaquarium are the four marine mammal shows: the Top Deck Dolphin Show, the Flipper Dolphin Show, the Killer Whale and Dolphin Show, and the Golden Dome Sea Lion Show.  Each of these experiences offer guests the ability to see marine mammals up-close interacting with trainers, and they all convey specific educational messages related to the species featured in the show.

Golden Dome Sea Lion Show, Photo by Zoo Nation

Golden Dome Sea Lion Show/Photo: Zoo Nation

 

Golden Dome Sea Lion Show, Photo by Zoo Nation

Golden Dome Sea Lion Show/Photo: Zoo Nation

 

Golden Dome Sea Lion Show, Photo by Zoo Nation

Golden Dome Sea Lion Show/Photo: Zoo Nation

The Golden Dome Sea Lion Show is unique in that it features behaviors from not only traditional California sea lions, but there is also an in-water interaction segment with harbor seals.  The show follows the story of the Reef Rangers, who are tasked with protecting the ocean’s coral reefs.  When a diver visits the reef, removes a conch shell, and leaves behind a plastic bottle, the Reef Rangers are tasked with tracking down the diver, retrieving the conch shell, and teaching the diver how to protect coral reefs.  This show has a lot of clever behaviors laced through the story that will make you laugh, all while learning about how our everyday actions impact ocean environments.

Recycling Sea Lion at Golden Dome Sea Lion Show, Photo by Zoo Nation

Recycling Sea Lion at Golden Dome Sea Lion Show/Photo: Zoo Nation

 

Golden Dome Sea Lion Show, Photo by Zoo Nation

Golden Dome Sea Lion Show/Photo: Zoo Nation

Outside of the sea lion show is the Seal Feeder Pool, where at several times throughout the day, guests have the opportunity to feed some of the park’s harbor seals.  Each feed is accompanied with a brief educational talk about seals and sea lions, such as how to tell them apart and their lifestyles and unique adaptations.

Harbor Seal Exhibit, Photo by Zoo Nation

Harbor Seal Exhibit/Photo: Zoo Nation

 

Harbor Seal Exhibit, Photo by Zoo Nation

Harbor Seal Exhibit/Photo: Zoo Nation

The park’s most famous resident, Lolita the killer whale, stars in her own show along with her Pacific white-sided dolphin companions.  Lolita is estimated to be over 50 years old, making her the oldest killer whale in human care.  The Pacific white-sided dolphins have resided alongside her for the past 30 years.

Killer Whale and Dolphin Show, Photo by Zoo Nation

Killer Whale and Dolphin Show/Photo: Zoo Nation

The Killer Whale and Dolphin Show has the most educational narrative of any of the four shows.  While the beginning and end are filled with high-energy behaviors that will make your jaw drop (take a look at the guest’s faces in the picture above), the middle of the show discusses and showcases natural histories of killer whales and Pacific white-sided dolphins, the natural abilities of these animals (such as vocalizations), and the threats facing these two species in the wild.

Killer Whale and Dolphin Show, Photo by Zoo Nation

Killer Whale and Dolphin Show/Photo: Zoo Nation

 

Killer Whale and Dolphin Show, Photo by Zoo Nation

Killer Whale and Dolphin Show/Photo: Zoo Nation

 

Killer Whale and Dolphin Show, Photo by Zoo Nation

Killer Whale and Dolphin Show/Photo: Zoo Nation

The show also takes time to answer questions often asked about killer whales both in human care and in the wild.

Husbandry Behavior Display in Killer Whale and Dolphin Show, Photo by Zoo Nation

Husbandry Behavior Display in Killer Whale and Dolphin Show/Photo: Zoo Nation

 

Pacific White-Sided Dolphins in Killer Whale and Dolphin Show, Photo by Zoo Nation

Pacific White-Sided Dolphins in Killer Whale and Dolphin Show/Photo: Zoo Nation

 

Pacific White-Sided Dolphins in Killer Whale and Dolphin Show, Photo by Zoo Nation

Pacific White-Sided Dolphins in Killer Whale and Dolphin Show/Photo: Zoo Nation

Before and after the killer whale show, guests are able to approach the sides of the pool to see Lolita and the Pacific white-sided dolphins up close.

Killer Whale and Dolphin Show, Photo by Zoo Nation

Killer Whale and Dolphin Show/Photo: Zoo Nation

 

Killer Whale and Dolphin Show, Photo by Zoo Nation

Killer Whale and Dolphin Show/Photo: Zoo Nation

 

Killer Whale and Dolphin Show, Photo by Zoo Nation

Killer Whale and Dolphin Show/Photo: Zoo Nation

The Top Deck Dolphin Show and Flipper Dolphin Show are both lively fun presentations of bottlenose dolphins and their natural athletic abilities.  The Top Deck show takes the audience on a rock-and-roll cruise, but also invites the audience to participate in a dolphin trivia game.

Top Deck Dolphin Show, Photo by Zoo Nation

Top Deck Dolphin Show/Photo: Zoo Nation

 

Top Deck Dolphin Show, Photo by Zoo Nation

Top Deck Dolphin Show/Photo: Zoo Nation

 

Top Deck Dolphin Show, Photo by Zoo Nation

Top Deck Dolphin Show/Photo: Zoo Nation

The Flipper show is where guests will see waterwork behaviors between the trainers and dolphins, and the primary educational message in this show is the importance of reducing, reusing, and recycling plastics and other disposables so that they don’t contaminate the oceans.

Flipper Dolphin Show, Photo by Zoo Nation

Flipper Dolphin Show/Photo: Zoo Nation

 

Flipper Dolphin Show, Photo by Zoo Nation

Flipper Dolphin Show/Photo: Zoo Nation

 

Flipper Dolphin Show, Photo by Zoo Nation

Flipper Dolphin Show/Photo: Zoo Nation

 

Flipper Dolphin Show, Photo by Zoo Nation

Flipper Dolphin Show/Photo: Zoo Nation

Other exhibits at the Seaquarium include the manatee exhibit, where the guests can see rescued manatees that the park cares for long-term.  The underwater viewing gallery includes a lot of signage teaching guests about manatee biology as well as the Seaquarium’s rescue program.  One visual details the six major causes for manatee rescues.

Rescued Manatees, Photo by Zoo Nation

Rescued Manatees/Photo: Zoo Nation

 

Rescued Manatee, Photo by Zoo Nation

Rescued Manatee/Photo: Zoo Nation

 

Manatee Underwater Viewing Display, Photo by Zoo Nation

Manatee Underwater Viewing Display/Photo: Zoo Nation

The Shark Channel is home to several species of sharks, fish, and sea turtles.  While there, you may witness animal feedings, during which the animal care staff utilizes target training with the individual animals.

Turtle in Shark Channel, Photo by Zoo Nation

Turtle in Shark Channel/Photo: Zoo Nation

 

Turtle Feeding in Shark Channel, Photo by Zoo Nation

Turtle Feeding in Shark Channel/Photo: Zoo Nation

One noteworthy exhibit is the upcoming penguin display that should open later this year.  Here are a few photos of what could be seen above the construction walls.

Upcoming Penguin Exhibit, Photo by Zoo Nation

Upcoming Penguin Exhibit/Photo: Zoo Nation

 

Upcoming Penguin Exhibit, Photo by Zoo Nation

Upcoming Penguin Exhibit/Photo: Zoo Nation

 

Upcoming Penguin Exhibit, Photo by Zoo Nation

Upcoming Penguin Exhibit/Photo: Zoo Nation

Discovery Bay is home to two exhibits: one for rescued sea turtles, and another for Nile crocodiles.

Nile Crocodiles of Discovery Bay, Photo by Zoo Nation

Nile Crocodiles of Discovery Bay/Photo: Zoo Nation

 

Nile Crocodile of Discovery Bay, Photo by Zoo Nation

Nile Crocodile of Discovery Bay/Photo: Zoo Nation

 

Sea Turtles of Discovery Bay, Photo by Zoo Nation

Sea Turtles of Discovery Bay/Photo: Zoo Nation

 

Sea Turtles of Discovery Bay, Photo by Zoo Nation

Sea Turtles of Discovery Bay/Photo: Zoo Nation

Adjacent to the Top Deck Dolphin Show is the reef exhibit, which is a massive aquarium that is home to fish and stingrays.  The barracuda in the aquarium are particularly huge!

Barracuda in Reef Exhibit, Photo by Zoo Nation

Barracuda in Reef Exhibit/Photo: Zoo Nation

 

Reef Exhibit, Photo by Zoo Nation

Reef Exhibit/Photo: Zoo Nation

In addition to the attraction offerings through general admission, the park offers a number of interaction programs.  Dolphin Harbor is the park’s dolphin interaction program area.  There are two dolphin interaction programs: Dolphin Encounter is a shallow-water interaction, while Dolphin Odyssey is a deep-water interaction.

Dolphin Harbor, Photo by Zoo Nation

Dolphin Harbor/Photo: Zoo Nation

 

Animal Interactions at Miami Seaquarium, Photo by Zoo Nation

Animal Interactions at Miami Seaquarium/Photo: Zoo Nation

Miami Seaquarium is a great place to experience a wide variety of marine life. Add this park and its offerings to your South Florida to-do list!




2 thoughts on “Postcards From The Zoo: Miami Seaquarium

  1. IkesBigFeet

    Please don’t delete this comment, even though it may sound anti-cap. I am a pro-cap, though I don’t support all facilities. I’ve wanted to be a trainer at SWSD for five years now.

    MSQ is one of those facilities I can’t support. The size of Tokitae’s tank is pathetic – in fact, it’s illegal, but it has been grandfathered in. I don’t understand how anyone who really has the animals’ good as their top priority could buy tickets to MSQ.

    Again, let me repeat, I am pro-cap. But I’m sick of this “SeaWorld and other facilities CAN DO NO WRONG” attitude displayed by most pro-caps, including the Awesome Ocean/Zoo Nation/Stand With SeaWorld crowd. PLEASE don’t delete tgis comment, because we as pro-caps should allow for CIVIL, intelligent discussion from both sides of this debate.

    Thanks. Have a great day.

    Reply
    1. Mike MadsenMike Madsen

      Hi IkesBigFeet,
      Thanks for chiming in and we appreciate your comments.

      I’d like to point out that the MSQ has tried to expand the habitat and were battled by so called “animal activists” who thwarted the effort, denying Lolita an expanded habitat. This was done by them not because it was best for the animal; but because it would have made their claims of her mistreatment moot. These so called activists do not have Lolita’s health or welfare as their objective, but rather use her as pawn in their ongoing battle as an argument against human care.

      We also certainly appreciate civil, intelligent discussion on both sides. While all facilities may not be created equal, at ZooNation we’d like to think we can help with conservation from all aspects, especially zoo initiated projects. Starting good dialogue in regards to animal care means encouraging facilities in their efforts and making sure they have the funding to do what is necessary for their animals.

      Reply

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