SeaWorld Orlando Ends Public Dolphin Feedings And Adds New Experience
SeaWorld Orlando has sadly ended their popular program for guests to hand-feed dolphins. Until the attraction was quietly closed last month, large groups of guests bought $7 trays of fish and fed the dolphins. The opportunity drew hundreds of visitors to the dolphin pool at meal times offering some great photo opportunities.
Guests at the Florida location will still be able to pet the dolphins, but they will no longer be able to buy $7 trays of fish to lure the mammals over to the side of their enclosure. Starting next month, guests will be able to interact with the dolphins in a new way paying $15 to spend 10 minutes with them in ten-person groups. Trainers will call the dolphins over to interact and also get photos next to the dolphins. The entire experience is expected to last about 10 minutes. Although we will miss feeding the dolphins, it’s a nice change. Guests will no longer have to rely on food to lure them over to interact, creating more of a personal experience.
“Dolphin Cove will continue to provide areas where all guests are able to view dolphins up close, and interact with animals that choose to interact with them,” said SeaWorld spokeswoman Becca Bides.
SeaWorld’s sister park in Orlando, Discovery Cove will remain part of a program where a limited number of guests touch, feed, and swim with dolphins. SeaWorld San Diego ended it’s large group feeding program in 2012, followed by the San Antonio park in 2013. Those parks still allow guests to feed dolphins, but only in small group interaction programs. San Antonio and San Diego parks charge $50 and $60 per person for their dolphin feeding experiences.
Attendance at SeaWorld Orlando park took a plummet after a 2013 documentary focused on its captive killer whale program, and in particular on Tilikum, formerly a performing a killer whale that drowned trainer Dawn Brancheau. Her death led a federal administrative judge to order the theme park to maintain barriers between trainers and the whales, which took a ton of the great aspects out of the shows that we have been accustomed to at SeaWorld parks.
Most of the creatures at the Florida attraction’s Dolphin Cove are friendly, and come up to play with visitors while making small splashes.
Some guests said they were more interested in just petting the dolphins rather than giving them their fish snack anyways. The folks over at Behind The Thrills had an awesome experience with some dolphins on their last visit to SeaWorld San Antonio. Watch the video below as they interact and play!
The Orlando park’s dolphin cove area is currently operating with a soft open and will resume normal operations on March 2, 2015.
For tickets and more information about SeaWorld Orlando, visit their official site here.
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