Monday, November 19, 2012

What Brings You Here

Aerial shot of Dolphin Research Center

Dolphin Research Center is all about stories. We love to share the stories about our family with guests, whether inside of the facility, at the grocery store, on a trip, or anywhere people will listen! Our stories began before DRC was even a facility. Dolphins have been living on our grounds since the 1940’s, so as you can imagine there’s a lot to talk about.

Many of our stories begin with the 1960’s movie, Flipper. The man who initially started the grounds as a dolphinarium, Milton Santini, lived here with his favorite dolphin Mitzi. Being a beautiful dolphin, Mitzi became the face of the original Flipper. But a lot of people don’t know that there were at least three dolphins that played Flipper!

As we stand in front of our large lagoon dedicated to the maternity pod that currently lived at DRC, and tell the account about Santini and Mitzi, people become entranced with our story. Then, as if on cue, Tursi jumps out of the water and screams almost as if to say “enough about Mitzi, it’s time to talk about me!” The conversation quickly turns to Tursi, who is the product of a Flipper romance between two of Mitzi’s stunt doubles, and her four offspring that live here as well.  Depending on which dolphins are currently in view, or where you’re standing on the causeway, the conversation branches out in a million different directions. Dolphin Research Center is a never ending book of anecdotes, which we love to share with anyone who will listen.

Then, the scoop turns to us. By us, I mean you and me. People often ask “How did you find out about DRC?”, “What brought you here?”, or “What did you study to get a job working with dolphins?” The misconception is that most people think that to have any possibility of working with marine mammals, we all must have studied Marine Biology. Interestingly enough, almost everyone at DRC has a different educational background. Ranging from Zoology to Communications to Psychology, everyone’s background brings something unique to the DRC table.

So what brought us all here? Probably the same thing that brought you here; a love of marine mammals. Many have been in love with dolphins since they were a child. Some have always had a connection to marine mammals that branched out to interest in their intelligence, athleticism, and nature. Everyone’s story is different, but the end result is that at some point we all chose to walk through DRC’s doors and see what’s on the other side.

Every day, we’re honored to have new guests visiting Dolphin Research Center. Regardless of what brought you through our doors our hope is that you, as a one time visitor, will see what we see in our facility and become a member, and that you’ll keep up with our family. Many of our one time visitors become members, then volunteers, then staff. They share the same enthusiasm for the dolphins as someone on their first visit.

We’d like to know how you, our readers, found out about DRC. What brought you here and why do you continue to stay updated with us?


andrea-maria said...

My mom came to DRC as a child when it was still Santini's sea school so when I was old enough to participate in a swim, it was my turn. and the rest was history, all three teen dolphinlabs and visiting every time i get to the keys. You all do good work, priceless work and I love hearing the tales of the lagoons! I will never forget my first swim with santini or sharing a swim day with a friend with autism and his family. My favorite memory, the one I hold dearest, is a conversation while visiting when I was in college, with Mandy. It was no more than a few minutes at the back of the main lagoon near delphi's lagoon but his wisdom, insight, compassion, and kindness were priceless and genuine. I will never forget what he taught me!