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After my up-close glimpse at killer whales, I was inspired to gather more information on the beautiful orca. I still remember the inflatable model I had hanging over my bed as a child – these animals have always been a fave of mine. Do you think you're an expert on the black-and-white beauties? Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz!
Well, along with all the other fun animals we saw during our time in Orlando (thank you, Aquatica!), we spent one night at SeaWorld where we caught a glimpse of some killer whales! LilSugar and I watched a preview of Shamu Rocks (officially kicking off Memorial Day 2008), which combined fun music with improvisational movements of two orca whales. I was happy to hear that the tanks were eco-tastically filled with recycled rainwater and learn about how much attention the organization dedicates to the research, rescue, and rehabilitation of marine wildlife. To learn how SeaWorld Orlando collaborates with the Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute (HSWRI), read more
I admit it — growing up, I was one of the kids who jumped off the bleachers at the killer whale show when they asked for a volunteer for it to kiss.
Though I was never selected, the same adolescent excitement pumped through my veins when Busch Entertainment asked me to come down to Orlando and check out their Worlds of Discovery.
One of the perks of attending was getting a chance to see the awesome Shamu Rocks show at SeaWorld. If you've never seen a killer whale slow dance, you don't know what you are missing.
Featuring the re-mixed music of Cold Play, Jennifer Lopez and Shakira — the waterworks were nothing short of spectacular. Trainers and whales were flying through the air, plunging underwater, surfing, and I kid you not, slow dancing together. The black and white beauties were surprisingly light on their fins.
And, there wasn't just one couple (whale and trainer) rocking, there were two, a live band and a crowd going wild — not to mention the flashing kid-friendly light-up Shamu necklaces.
Whether your child is an aspiring marine biologist or just one that won't keep quiet, this is a must see. It's a unique combination— part concert, aquarium exhibit, light show and shower (if you sit in the section closest to the tank — you WILL get wet).
The half hour show is included in the price of SeaWorld admission. Kids ages 10 and over cost $68, those ages three to nine are $58, and children two and under are free. Discounts are also available.
If you're looking for a fabulous family adventure, there's a spot in Florida that offers parents an oasis and their offspring incredible sea-life encounters. The folks at Busch Entertainment invited me to Orlando to check out Discovery Cove, a reservations-required, tropical retreat that offers kids six and older the chance to get up close with dolphins and those of all ages the opportunity to swim with rays (their stingers have been removed) and tropical fish. One lagoon also allows for safe snorkeling alongside sharks and barracudas as a partition separates the two pools. And, a bird aviary where park goers can hand feed over 250 exotic birds.
- Location: Orlando
- Price: $269 all-inclusive per person, children under 3 are free.
- Includes: Dolphin encounter, unlimited access to coral reef, ray lagoon, pool, tropical river, and aviary, all food, beverages (including alcoholic ones), swim gear (mask, snorkel, swim vest, or wetsuit) towel, locker, sunscreen and use of locker-room showers, etc., parking, a complimentary photo, and a pass to SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica, or Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.
- Food: Breakfast — muffins, pastries, coffee, juices, tea,etc. Snack stations — chips, cookies, sodas, juice, etc. Lunch at Laguna Grill — offering entrees like pasta primavera, lobster salad, fried chicken, salmon, and kid-friendly favorites from mac and cheese to mashed potatoes.
While some parents may find the park a tad pricey, the chance to interact with sea life in such a safe environment is well worth it in my opinion. My experience was so incredible that I plan on returning with my own kids once they are old enough to swim with the dolphins. Most amusement parks cost a pretty penny, but this one is incredibly relaxing since it also offered sandy beaches for lounging and was not over crowded. Discovery Cove also has ample lifeguards patrolling the water areas and staff at your beck and call. If you're searching for a place to splurge on your fam, this is it.
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Now I've always thought stingrays were cool creatures . . . and now I know it after I got to snorkel with them in Florida a couple weeks ago! That's right, thanks to Aquatica, lilsugar and I got the great opportunity to travel to Florida with other journalists and check out some of the theme parks in the Orlando area. It was super fun for us to see these family-friendly travel destinations . . . and all the awesome animals! On day one, we checked out Discovery Cove where we got to wade and snorkel in the "mock" coral reef and ray lagoon. While in the tropical lagoon swim areas, guests can touch and swim alongside the rays and other saltwater fishes. Lucky for us, they didn't have their stingers so we could safely get a close look at these flat, triangular beauties. Think you know all about stingrays? Check yourself with this quiz!
Spring is in full swing and before we know it, Summer will be here! And, that's a time when a lot of families opt to take trips.
Whether you prefer a weekend jaunt to an extended stay, or a red-eye over a mid-day flight, lilsugar's newest feature, Junior Jetset will be bringing you advice and options for traveling with tots.
From hotel room rates to kid-friendly destinations, it will offer ways for your wee ones to earn their wings!
To see the first place I'd recommend, read more