Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Posted by The DRC Family at 4:00 PM
Saturday, December 21, 2013
Happy Birthday to Aleta, who turns 29 today. This beautiful lady knows she's a star and is never camera shy. Since giving birth to her little girl last month, Aleta has been enjoying the extra attention given to her by our photographers. Aleta is extremely creative and pushes her trainers to do things "the Aleta way". She loves getting to know new people and creating deep, meaningful relationships.
Happy Birthday Aleta. We love you!
Posted by The DRC Family at 10:08 AM
Thursday, December 19, 2013
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Are you running out of time to get a gift for a loved one this holiday season? How about giving them a dolphin or sea lion! Dolphin Research Center is offering gift adoption E-cards for marine mammal lovers. You decide the adoption amount, either $50, $100, or $240, and your recipient chooses which of the dolphins or sea lions in the DRC family to adopt. Gift adoptions include a full color certificate and photograph, animal biography, free admission passes with complimentary guest admissions, access to the Members Only Section of the DRC website, 10% Gift Shop discount on most items, and newsletters. In the spirit of the holidays, your marine mammal enthusiast will also receive a photo magnet of their adopted dolphin or sea lion. Gift adoptions can be made online at the DRC website, www.dolphins.org.
For more information, call the Membership Department at 305-289-1121, ext. 229.
Friday, December 13, 2013
Happy Birthday Cayo. We love you beautiful!
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Posted by The DRC Family at 3:56 PM
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Posted by The DRC Family at 3:51 PM
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Happy Birthday to Reese who turns one year old today! This awesome little dude is extremely independent and loves to play with all the other dolphins in his lagoon. Son of Santini, he's incredibly smart and loves taking part in Dolphin Encounters. His favorite part are the back rubs.
Not only is it his birthday, but it's the first day he becomes adoptable! If you'd like to adopt Reese please check out our website.
Happy Birthday Reese. We love you little guy!
Posted by The DRC Family at 9:54 AM
Sunday, December 1, 2013
Posted by The DRC Family at 9:48 AM
Friday, November 29, 2013
Happy Birthday to the beautiful Santini, who turns 27 today! This amazing lady is known as DRC's "teacher's pet" because of her remarkable intelligence and her drive to do everything perfectly. Tina loves to take part in special needs programs and also in cognitive thinking games. A huge giggler, Santini loves to belly laugh during enrichment sessions. Happy Birthday Santini, we love you!
Posted by The DRC Family at 9:52 AM
Thursday, November 28, 2013
As we welcome new members to the DRC family, it’s obvious that our little guy Flagler isn’t so little anymore. Although he is larger than most dolphins his age, Flagler is a gentle guy with a heart of gold and filled with lots of curiosity. As he continues to learn new behaviors, we like to cognitively challenge him.
During a session, Flagler’s trainer threw a target pole into the lagoon and asked him to dive with it. This is a behavior that many of the ladies in his lagoon have perfected. Since the target pole queens, Pandora and Calusa, moved into the front Flagler has witnessed them maneuver their way through a variety of behaviors without ever letting the target pole slip through their flippers. Now, it’s Flagler’s opportunity to learn how it’s done.
As the pole hit the water, Flagler’s trainer signaled him to go out for a dive. Instead of jumping with or over the pole, Flagler happily retrieved it and swam back to the dock. Once again it was thrown out and Flagler did the same thing. Since he needed a little help understanding the concept, his trainer sent Gypsi out to model the behavior. As his older friend grabbed the pole and flew through the air with it, we hoped that it clicked in Flagler’s mind.
When Gypsi returned to the dock, the trainer asked Flagler one more time to try to go out with the pole. All of a sudden, he got it! While he was still learning and barely grabbed the pole, he knew what his trainer wanted him to do. It was exciting to see the wheels in his mind turn. Soon, he’ll be able to complete what he’s asked to do all on his own.
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Forty years ago, two Flipper dolphin stunt doubles had an off screen romance and blessed us with the beautiful Tursi. This larger than life lady, affectionately nicknamed Whopper, has seen the facility grow in size, people, and marine mammals .A true happy spirit, she can't help but make sure all eyes are on her by pairing her high energy behaviors with a signature scream. Tursi has a very nurturing spirit and loves to spend time with children, both flippered and human. As a "super mom", Tursi has gifted us with four beautiful children, Talon, Pax, Gypsi, and Gambit. In addition to raising kids, she helps raise new trainers, teaching them who is really in charge: the dolphins! Happy Birthday Tursi. We love you!
Friday, November 22, 2013
Posted by The DRC Family at 4:08 PM
Thursday, November 21, 2013
It's a beautiful day to celebrate Merina's birthday. This lovely lady, and once again new momma, was born at DRC in 1984. With her striking eyes and elegant rostrum, Merina loves when all eyes and cameras are on her. Miss Merina excels at nearly everything she takes on but her leaping kiss with her sister, Aleta, is always a favorite among guests. We are so excited to celebrate this day with the lovely Merina. Happy Birthday Merinabean, we love you!
Posted by The DRC Family at 4:07 PM
Friday, November 15, 2013
Happy Third Birthday to the amazing Flagler! This not so little boy was Merina's first boy in her lineage of girls. Flagler is a fun dude with lots of spunk and dolphinality. He loves to play seaweed toss and get his partner soaking wet while he attempts to fling the green wad back to the dock. Happy Birthday Flagler. We love you little guy!
Posted by The DRC Family at 4:06 PM
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Posted by The DRC Family at 10:50 AM
Friday, November 8, 2013
Posted by The DRC Family at 2:49 PM
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Posted by The DRC Family at 3:53 PM
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Posted by The DRC Family at 2:22 PM
Posted by The DRC Family at 4:30 AM
Friday, November 1, 2013
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
|Molly is one of the most fashionable dolphins at DRC!|
Thursday, October 24, 2013
As you may know, Director of Special Needs Joan Mehew and Dolphin Research Center were recently honored by the Wounded Warrior Project with a 2013 Carry Forward Award. They produced a beautiful video about our involvement with wounded warriors to show at the awards ceremony.
We are proud and honored to share that video with you.
These adorable sisters love to be entertained!
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
In 1992, these two handsome boys came to visit from New England Aquarium. Today, they're two of the loudest, energetic and creative members of our dolphin family.
Happy Anniversary Rainbow and Sandy. We love you big boys so much!
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
|They're such goofy boys!|
Talon and Pax are two of the big boys that live at Dolphin Research Center. Not only are these magnificent guys best friends, but they’re also brothers! They have a bond with one another that allows them to be silly but yet want to show each other up.
Recently, the boys trainers were having a fun session with them and decided to ask for audience participation. One thing we love to do at DRC is show our guests how great the dolphins are at imitating. We ask the audience to do a certain behavior, then ask the dolphins to copy. Most of the time the dolphins get it right, but every once in a while their minds are elsewhere or they just feel like being silly and they don’t do the right behavior. Since everything we do at DRC is revolved around what the dolphins want to do, if they show us they’re not interested then we move onto something else. This is exactly what happened when we asked Talon and Pax to imitate the audience blowing raspberries. After being asked twice, you could tell the boys just weren’t into it so the trainers changed up the session.
Since the big guys were very energetic that particular day, their trainers asked them to do combination behaviors incorporating a raspberry behavior. First Talon was asked to dive and raspberry, but instead he dove and wiggled. Then Pax had a shot at it and pulled off the correct combo effortlessly. Once Talon saw that his brother was raspberrying, he got into the mood to do it too. He took off on a raspberrying speed run, where his head got so far out of the water we thought it would slow him down. It was quite a sight to see.
It turns out all the boys needed to do was a few high energy behaviors to get them going because the remaining of the session was raspberry filled! As they strutted then waved goodbye to the guests at the end of the narration, every behavior was coated in raspberries. It’s no surprise we always say that the silly sound is a favorite among guys.
Saturday, October 19, 2013
|Louie and Delta love to play with toys from their friends!|
Posted by The DRC Family at 8:00 AM
Thursday, October 17, 2013
Grassy Key… If a picture’s worth a thousand words, imagine how friends and family will talk when they see a holiday photo picturing you and a dolphin! Now through December 22nd, Dolphin Research Center (DRC), located at 58901 Overseas Highway, Grassy Key, is again giving guests the opportunity for a holiday photo. Visitors who participate in DRC’s Meet the Dolphinprogram can bring their own Santa hats, reindeer antlers or other accessories to use while posing. DRC’s experienced photographers will shoot the pictures using high-resolution digital cameras. For Meet the Dolphin guests go onto a floating dock to give backrubs and share a “flippershake” with a dolphin and have their photo taken. The program is offered several times each day on a walk-in basis and costs $25 per person in addition to general admission prices. The photos are supplied on a flash drive for $20 for one person, and $35 for multiple people in the same shot. Quality prints are also available and print prices vary depending on number ordered. Group size is limited to four people.
Thursday, October 10, 2013
|Cayo cannot wait to be a big sister, again!|
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
|Calusa is a hula hoop enthusiast!|
Friday, October 4, 2013
Thursday, October 3, 2013
|The trainers find all sorts of fun ways to engage the dolphins!|
Here at DRC, we always try to find new ways to enrich the dolphins’ lives. This not only includes switching which trainer and dolphins work together, but also taking the interaction experience to a whole new level. It’s common for guests to see us try new things in the middle of a program or narration, just to see how the dolphins will react.
We try to schedule at least one enrichment session a day for the dolphins. All of them seem to really enjoy the spontaneity and randomness. They never know what the trainers are coming down for during a session.
We recently tried taking a floating dock into the middle of the lagoon. Trainers sat on the dock and let it float around. Each of the dolphins in the front were like, “what is going on here?” Some of the kids had fun pushing on the trainer’s feet or extended their dorsal fins for a tow. Others had absolutely no interest in what was going on and chose to stay by the seawall. It was a brand new experience for the maternity pod. When they finally became comfortable with the random dock, they did what they like to do best with floating objects; they pushed it to the far fence. The trainers ended up getting stuck out there for a little bit while the kids undoubtedly thought it was a riot.
The Animal Care and Training interns thought it would be fun to play a game of jack in the box with the dolphins. They decorated large trash cans with waves and got inside of them. Their goal was to pop out and surprise their gray faced friends. Unfortunately, this did not go as planned. The interns had trouble getting in and out of the cans so they eventually tried to stand behind them or simply put the lid on their heads. While we learned that we need bigger containers to play this game, it was still a lot of fun and something new to bring to the dolphins who weren’t entirely sure of what was going on.
It’s so fun to see how each dolphin reacts differently to new experiences. Some of them are always excited to investigate something new. Others are a little more timid and need to become comfortable when a new object or game is introduced. Enrichment allows us to get to know the dolphin’s unique dolphinalities and see what makes them excited. As we continue to incorporate new things into the dolphins’ lives, it helps us learn much more about them on both a personal and cognitive level.
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Posted by The DRC Family at 2:50 PM
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Almost a year ago, Aleta and Merina became pregnant and we cannot wait to meet the newest members of our family. Though these two lovely ladies have already been mothers, there is still a lot to do to prepare for the little bundles of joy. Both us humans and the dolphins are waiting in anticipation.
The two ladies became pregnant before little Reese was born, so luckily we already had one mini research tower built, but since there will be two moms our Animal Care and Habitat staff built another tower along the boardwalks that looks over different lagoons. Part of the research DRC focuses on is behavioral research. The calves will be monitored on a daily basis, all day long, by staff and volunteers to ensure that they are healthy, eating well and spending time with their mothers. We also watch each dolphin’s mothering style. Some moms are laid back, like Santini was with Reese. Other moms, like Tursi, are what we call helicopter parents in that they hover over their offspring. In order to do monitor without interrupting natural behaviors and bonding and to make sure we don’t miss anything, we often watch from a tower.
Staff members are also busy baby proofing the lagoons. While Aleta and Merina are currently in the maternity pod in the front lagoon, when it gets closer to having their babies, they will excitedly move to smaller lagoons. A newborn dolphin doesn’t know how to steer or stop, so it spends the first few weeks in its mother’s slip stream. This allows the mom to keep the baby with her as she swims and the baby doesn’t have to expend as much energy. As you can imagine, having to continuously swim in a huge lagoon with eight other curious youngsters would be very tiresome for a new mom, so we try to make it as comfortable as possible by putting them in a smaller area.
Aleta and Merina have spent the past nine months helping to babysit Reese and getting used to having a little one around again. As they get closer to their due dates, they may choose a nanny dolphin to help out with baby sitting or they may decide to take care of the youngster on their own for the first few months. Since each dolphin has their own mothering style, we take our cues from them on how they’d like to raise the little one.
Each passing day, there is so much excitement in the air at DRC. A dolphin’s gestation period is approximately one year, but like us they can have their baby early or late so we’re officially in the final stretch. Aleta and Merina are visibly advanced in their terms, to our eyes at least, and enjoy narrations focused on them and their maternity. They love to show off their growing bellies to the audience and eagerly await the days when they will introduce new family members to the DRC pod.
We cannot wait to tell all of our wonderful members and supporters when the baby dolphins arrive. Stay tuned because it can happen literally any day now!
Posted by The DRC Family at 8:30 AM
Friday, September 27, 2013
|Doesn't Gypsi look royal?|
It’s natural for dolphins to always find something to play within their environment. Whether they locate a toy from their human friends or foliage on the bottom of the lagoon, there’s always fun to be had. Their individual “dolphinalities” emerge when you allow them to figure out what they find enjoyable.
Gypsi is a little bit of a tomboy. She likes to play with balls and show off her athletic side. However, the other day she showed us her more feminine side. Gypsi found a target pole in her lagoon and decided to carry it around. She looked like a very regal and majestic princess as the pole acted like a scepter tucked under her pectoral flipper. Gypsi swam from one side of the front lagoon to the other showing off her prize to her adoring public.
Suddenly, Gypsi recognized somebody in the crowd and began to swim towards her. She made her way as close as she could to the viewing area by her lagoon. Slowly she maneuvered her target pole to her friend in the crowd, as if to say, “This is for you!” Unfortunately, the woman was not able to reach the gift but she told Gypsi “thank you” for the offer. Gypsi then swam away to play with her friend in the lagoon.
Every once in a while she’d come back, and put the pole under her flipper and swim away, only to return it when she saw her friend by the front again. It was so sweet to see Gypsi give her friend a present that
Posted by The DRC Family at 9:57 AM
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
|Luna and Delta love to show off to music!|
Did you know today is One Hit Wonder Day? There are lots of fun songs that the dolphins like to dance to during In Tune sessions that were once chart toppers.
What song would you like to see the dolphins and sea lions boogie down to next time you visit!?
Monday, September 23, 2013
Join us tonight, September 23rd, at Sunset Grille for Jamaican Me Crazy Night to kick off Conchtoberfest 2013! We hope to see you there.
Posted by The DRC Family at 10:07 AM
Do you miss the Florida Keys? Check out this awesome DVD in our online gift shop! One of the most comprehensive DVDs for planning or remembering your Florida Keys trip. Beginning in Key Largo and ending in Key West, this DVD highlights both Keys and all those in-between!
Florida Keys Adventures
Posted by The DRC Family at 10:04 AM
Saturday, September 21, 2013
Today is Coastal Clean Up Day! Every piece of paper, cigarette butt or bottle that makes its way to street sewers ends up in streams or rivers and eventually down to the ocean which has the potential to compromise the health of wild animals as well as humans. Take advantage of one of the most popular volunteer days of the year and head out to the beach and/or inland locations and help remove trash and unnatural debris.
DRC will be holding a coastal clean up on October 3rd at Tom's Harbor Bridge. If you're in the Keys, feel free to join us!
Posted by The DRC Family at 10:06 AM
Monday, September 16, 2013
This 16 ounce tumbler will keep your drink hot or cold. Made of high quality acrylic (bpa free). Handwash with warm soapy water. Not suitable for dishwasher, microwave, cooking or freezing. You can choose purple or turquoise. See this item and many more great gifts in our online gift shop!
Posted by The DRC Family at 10:09 AM
Friday, September 13, 2013
Posted by The DRC Family at 10:11 AM
Thursday, September 12, 2013
One of our favorite behaviors is a dive! Each dolphin does it their own way. Some leap high, while others keep it low. It's always fun to see how their next dive will go!
What's your favorite dolphin behavior!?
Posted by The DRC Family at 10:15 AM
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
He doesn't know it, but his grandma surfed mangrove pieces too!
Monday, September 9, 2013
The featured item of the week is a DRC rash guard! Available in teal blue and royal blue, these awesome rashies look great while you play with a dolphin, snorkel, or do anything else in the water.
Posted by The DRC Family at 10:18 AM
Friday, September 6, 2013
September 6th is Read a Book Day! Louie was in for a special treat when his friend brought a book to read to his new flippered friends.
If you could read to a dolphin, which book would it be?
Posted by The DRC Family at 10:19 AM
Thursday, September 5, 2013
|Flagler tries to bring himself up on the dock.|
|Luna works on beaching without using the scale.|
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
|Rainbow loves the attention he gets when he people watches!|