My family and I lived in Orlando, Florida for about four years and we spent many weekends enjoying the area’s world class attractions. That included SeaWorld, Discovery Cove, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. You could say we’re a little spoiled when it comes to animal exhibits and we definitely have high standards for zoos and aquariums. So it was with a little trepidation that I headed to Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, Connecticut this summer. How could a tiny facility in a little New England town compare to the House that Shamu Built?
Beluga whale at Mystic Aquarium
The aquarium was small, it’s true. But, as my 11-year old son keeps saying, they “made really good use of their space!” There wasn’t a lot of unnecessary walking or wooded paths meant to make the grounds look bigger than they were. Each nook and cranny was used to display a variety of sea creatures in beautiful habitats that provided ample space for the animals to move and play.
The Mystic Aquarium didn’t try to do it all, but instead focused on doing a few things very well.
Frogs in the swamp exhibit at Mystic Aquarium
The exhibits were clean and spacious and made it easy for large groups of adults and kids to watch and learn. You can see even more by paying attention to feeding times or signing up for animal encounters and engagement activities.
Bottom line: two thumbs up to this seaside aquarium!
Photos: Britt Reints
Cute kangaroos at the Conservation Center
In a sad sign of the times, Georgia’s Kangaroo Conservation Center has closed to the public indefinitely. The website cites the economy and and the importance of using all of the Center’s time and efforts to provide the best animal husbandry possibly. I do understand the importance of providing the kangaroos and other animals with excellent care, but this makes me very sad. I would imagine the income the were taking in from visitors could not have been very much, otherwise they would have let visitors continue to visit the facility. Dawsonville is only one hour north of Atlanta, and I can’t believe the Conservation Center wasn’t a popular field trip site for schools. But, managing a group of school children is a lot of work, and who knows, perhaps it’s even stressful for the animals.
It’s fantastic that this facility seems to really have its head and heart in the right place. At the end of the day, the animals must come first, regardless of how much the public wants to view them. I wish they would advertise on their website where we can send donations, as I would send them a check this afternoon! I imagine they must need the money — they have such a large collection of kangaroos and other animals at the facility.
Such beautiful creatures
We need more places and people in the world who really care about conserving our planet’s resources, including its animals. I sincerely hope the Kangaroo Conservation Center opens up again soon so that it can continue education people about the importance of conserving species of all kinds.
Photos: Matt & Nayoung, Matt & Nayoung
We want carrots!
Ever been surrounded by 15 jack as*’s closing in fast? If you bring a bag of carrots to Aruba’s Donkey Sanctuary, you could be! My husband and I recently spent a week in Aruba, and our visit to the sanctuary was definitely one our trip’s highlights. What fun! Aruba’s wild donkeys are descendants of those brought over for transportation purposes before there were cars on the island. Over the years, the donkey population has suffered due to disease, accidents and even mistreatment, so the Donkey Sanctuary opened its doors in 1997 to protect the donkeys from harm and to better their conditions. Now, they have over 70 donkeys happily living on the grounds, and they depend on donations from visitors to help keep them going. Read More »
Shamu gets a new show at SeaWorld in 2011
If you’ve visited any of the three SeaWorld parks since 2006, there’s a good chance you’ve seen “Believe”, the killer whale show encouraging guests to believe in themselves and achieve the impossible. This spring, “Believe” will come to an end and be replaced with a new killer whale show.
“One Ocean” is scheduled to debut at SeaWorld parks at the end of April 2011 in Orlando, in May at SeaWorld San Diego, and in June for SeaWorld’s San Antonio park. The theme of this show will be one of connectivity, emphasizing the idea that everyone has the power to make a difference for good. While “Believe” was originally produced with a high degree of in-water interaction between trainers and whales, an element that changed after the drowning of a trainer last year, the new show will feature simultaneous whale performances, including high-energy leaps and interactive stunts.
Although the new show will continue to feature Shamu and his family, “One Ocean” should be a completely new experience for returning SeaWorld guests who saw “Believe.” A representative at the Orlando park said of the new show, “The tone is energetic, fun, educational and inspiring. Even the set is different – bringing to life the diversity of the ocean with colorful lights, fountains and more.”