Marine Mammal Keeper Experience

On Christmas morning I woke up at 5:30 a.m. and had to be at Sea World at 6:30 a.m. to start our day.  I met the trainer, Lisa, that would bring us around and the other boy, Joshua, who also did the program.  Joshua is also 13, and is from Dalton, GA.  First we went back stage to feed some manatees that weren’t eating.  The pool that the manatees were in raised so that the trainers could look at the manatees closer and it wouldn’t waste water by refilling it everyday.  The trainers stuck a long tube down the animal to its stomach.  I got to pump the food into its stomach, which are different kinds of lettuce.  They did the same with the dolphins.  Then we put lettuce in tubes that we threw into other manatee pool because the tubes sink fast and manatees eat from the bottom.

We went into another building and put a wet suit on which was really hard to put on.  After I got my wet suit on we went to a dolphin pool and fed them and threw toys in their pool and watched them play.

Then we went to the manatee exhibit and got in the water with them.  We fed them monkey biscuits because they are high in protein.

Next we went to the dolphin exhibit and got big buckets with cold, slimy fish.  I learned many different signals that we did to the dolphins and when they did it right we rewarded them with a fish or two.  After that we went and got some hula-hoops and a ball.  We brought them to Underwater Viewing.  With the hula-hoops we swung them around and the dolphins would move their head in circles.   With the ball Joshua and I rolled the ball back and forth against the glass and the dolphins would watch the ball roll back and forth, this was called dolphin tennis.  We brought the toys back and then we got in the water with the dolphins and used the signals that we learned earlier.  When we got done there we took our wet suits off.

We all went to lunch and got to talk to a lot of other trainers.  We ate then headed over to the sea lions.  We fed and learned about them before we headed out to the exhibit and fed them.

Our last stop was at Wild Artic.  First we went to the polar bears but we didn’t get to go in with them because they can hurt you.  The workers that work with the polar bears don’t get to get in with them either.  Then we saw the walruses.  They can do a lot of neat things like whistle when you whistle.  We fed them then went on to the beluga whales.  We fed and played with them for a while.  They can do most of the same things as the dolphins.

After we were all done we went to the front of the park so our parents could pick us up and pick out pictures that were taken at different exhibits.

It was really fun and I would do it again.  A few days later when we went to Sea World I was wearing my shirt that they gave us.  I was petting the dolphins and a trainer, Wayne, who we had eaten lunch with, came up to me and wanted to know when we were headed back to Missouri.  It was really neat that he remembered me.

Kayla Chambers

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