We took lots of pix with many characters during our quick get-a-way, but everyone going to Sea World this time of year needs their pic taken with Shanta. Shamu + Santa = Shanta. I'm thinking we should frame this baby and call our Christmas card done. I kid.
And we enjoyed many shows. And the opportunity to sit down. Amen.
But one of the many highlights...
Have you met Nator? Our penguin lover? Seriously. I don't remember when her passion for birds started, but she. loves. them.
Imagine the giddiness that ensued when we announced we were splurging for an up close encounter with the penguins. Jump up and down giddy.
We got a behind-the-scenes look at how these penguins live in captivity. Compared to the average penguin, which has the lifespan of about 15-20 yrs, these penguins live to be about 40. Their fish are caught and frozen for transport. Then the crew rinses them, removing any netting or coral that may potentially harm the penguins.
Oh... and if you see a penguin shake, they may simply be cold. I didn't quite get that one. Why make it soooo cold then? Poor little shivering penguin. At least he's eating coral-less fish, right?
And I'm not sure why I thought penguins had a different 'feather', but their feathers look and feel much like other birds. A baby chick's hair is very soft and fine.
See the brown chick 'fuzz'?
The big, brown chick is funny and cute all the same, yes?
They all 'shed' their feathers once a year. If you look closely, you can see a penguin to the right of the brown chick losing it's feathers, too.
We were able to witness many king penguins lining up to attract the females. It's mating season and many penguins were nesting. ;)
Daddy likes the rockhopper.
Gracie loves the gentoo.
I'll go with the chin-strap penguin, just to be different.
And Nator loves all penguins, but the king penguin is her favorite.
So many interesting facts to soak in.
We were all a little giddy when 'Janet' waddled out to meet us. She was the 12 yr old king penguin waiting patiently at the gate where we entered the behind the scenes tour. That's how they pick the penguin who gets to come out. She was born there and seemed to know the drill.
I felt a kindred spirit with her. I walked like her when I was pregnant. Just sayin'.
Maybe we should adopt 'Janet' and make this our Christmas card?
For some reason, getting our pic made with Big Bird made my day. If hubs were in this pic, this would be in the runnings for a Christmas card for. sure.
Our last hurrah at Sea World did not leave us disappointed. If you ever go during this time of year, you must see Shamu's Christmas Miracle show, complete with gospel singer. The orcas didn't hold back either. Chills. The good kind.
I'll have to fill you in on more chills. Probably not the best kind. It did, however, leave us feeling pretty proud of our baby girl.