Thursday, February 19, 2015

Foam Mat Party

Rainbow loves to play with his foam mat, so DRC trainers wanted to see if other dolphins did too!

The front lagoon is abuzz with play and laughter, both from dolphins and humans. We love enrichment sessions and always keep the dolphins guessing by adding something new whenever possible. This can be as simple as doing an adlib session, where we ask the dolphins to do whatever theychoose.  We might let a dock float around the lagoon as the kids push it, or try something entirely different. The most recent thing some of the dolphins have been introduced to is a foam mat, which they are still trying to figure out. 

Rainbow and Sandy have always loved to play on one of these mats, but it’s been a bit hard for some of the dolphins to understand. It floats over the water, but isn’t stable like a dock. When they jump onto it, it dips under the water. All of the dolphins have tried different ways of interacting with the mat. The kids like when a trainer is in the water and they can push it around like a raft. Gypsi and Cayo have taken to diving over it. Others still watch from a distance while their friends play.
The one who is best at figuring out the mat is Santini. DRC’s resident teacher’s pet, it makes sense that her trainers can ask her to watch them slide onto it then give her the signal to imitate. She usually starts by lifting her body out of the water then crashing down on it. When she stabilizes and floats on the mat, she and everyone around gets really excited! After all, it’s an entirely new toy that none of the dolphins in the front lagoon have played with before.

Whenever Santini sees that giant foam mat, she gets super excited to try to perfect her surfing skills! She’s even passed her enthusiasm onto a few other dolphins who also try to put part of their bodies on the mat. Even though the dolphins have only played with it a few times, they love the challenge and are eagerly trying to master how to use the interesting floating device.