Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Santa Visits the Youngsters

Gypsi and the rest of the front lagoon had a great time with Santa!
Enrichment sessions allow the dolphins to have fun with trainers without food motivated reinforcement. In these sessions, trainers love to bring down a variety of different objects to entertain the dolphins. The dolphins adore being introduced to random items.

Since it’s the holiday season, a lot of the objects that have been brought down to the dock are Christmas oriented; including, a miniature Santa Claus.

On a beautiful December day, one of the trainers brought a little holiday spirit down to play with the dolphins in the front lagoon. Out of the eight dolphins who currently reside there, seven of them are under the age of six. Imagine what would happen if you let seven excited little kids loose on Santa Claus.

Each of the youngsters took the opportunity to inspect Old Saint Nick in their own way. Tursi kept Gambit away and Luna and Cayo admired him from afar. Gypsi, Flagler, Delta and Louie couldn’t wait to get their flippers on Santa! Every time it was placed on the dock, one of them tried to knock him over. They even took turns beaching next to him, which four out of five times resulted in Santa soaked in sea water.

As guests and staff members howled in laughter at the kids’ enthusiasm for the man dressed in red, the little girls and guys continued to go crazy with the toy. It became so hectic that Santa had to have a time out, while he put himself back together. The dolphins waited as patiently as they could while Santa was away, but once he was back on the dock it was time to play again.

It’s always a blast to see how the dolphins react to different things that they’re introduced to. Not only do they have a fun time investigating new toys, but we enjoy every minute we watch.