Deckside Dolphin Encounter

Texas State Aquarium has several special encounters and backstage passes you could also do while there.   We had to do the Deckside Dolphin Encounter as a special day for Cece.  It ended up being a lot of fun and very educational about what all goes into keeping a dolphin program running.

Plus there is the added bonus of a professional photographer there with you and you can buy photos of your experience with the dolphins or get a CD copy of all of them like we did for the blog.

So if you are a dolphin fan and not against getting wet on a hot and muggy day I highly recommend it.

We got to go back stage to see more of their toys that are used and how they were developed and made, who knew pool noodles could be used for so many things? and meet some of the others involved who make the dolphin program happen.

We also got to see how how the dolphins food is prepared and weighed and calorie intake tracked and of course got to feed them!  It was interesting, different kinds of fish and other things like gelatin and ice are used to feed the dolphins.


I forgot the purpose of the gelatin, would be a pretty good treat.

They also liked to chew ice, who doesn’t?  They like the texture and it helps hydrate them.

We learned that a lot of the tricks you see were actually designed to help the trainers with their jobs.   Getting the dolphins comfortable with being touched is an important one, it allows the trainers to check their skin for new scratches, bites, and if they are getting sick.   Plus being up close to them we got to learn how to identify each one. D.J. had these strange skin patches and blotches on him that were supposed to be a birth mark.   Shadow had the fin with the hole in it and the other was Kai.

Checking blowholes.  Of course only the guy in the group is brave enough to be sneezed on and slimmed.  Not something I would have ever imagined happening to me.

The waving and upside down swimming helps them check the dolphin’s underside and flippers.

Another reason for tail waving is to allow the trainers to check for damage and new scratches there and so on.

Then we started learning some of the trainers hand signals for tricks, jumps and noises.  For one of these to tell the dolphin to make a cool noise we were told to make a fist and roll it back like the universal motorcycle signal.   Hey, I should be good at this one!!    So I put out my right fist and the trainer put out her left and everyone else followed suit…   Hey! Whoever thought of this signal was Not a motorcycle rider!

Of course we learned the tail walk motion and ones different jumps and had a great time.  If you like dolphins I highly recommend signing up for this.  I’m not a huge dolphin fanatic like Cece and I had fun too.



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