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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The show also takes time to answer questions often asked about killer whales both in human care and in the wild.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Discovery Bay is home to two exhibits: one for rescued sea turtles, and another for Nile crocodiles.
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!
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.
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!