I want to dispel the idea (which came up after my previous Sea World post) that I don't like this place. I do, in the way that it's a fun thing to do with the family, and having a fun vacation is part of the Summer. But any family activity, at home or here, will have its irritants.
That said, I still think the "Blue Horizons" dolphin show sucked.
Sometime today Frank stole the camera from our backpack. This always results in strange pictures, and makes me VERY glad we no longer pay to develop film. Because when I get back to the room there are always lots of strange random shots like this:
I think this was in the "Wild Arctic" exhibit
And this awesome one, of a cousin on a plane simulator:
We went on the Shipwreck Rapids river ride this afternoon, and got soaked. Leaving the ride we saw this gadget:
It's a dryer. A multiperson family-size dryer. For $5 it blasts as many people as you can cram into it to an arid state. We didn't use it, but Sea World must be making a fortune from people who can't stand walking around in soaked undies. Mrs. Grumpy wants one for the house, to use on the dogs.
One phenomenon I've never understood at amusement parks are people who wear ponchos to go on water rides. These rides obviously get you pretty soaked. They have warnings everywhere telling you that. And you see the drenched people getting off the ride.
But there is always a group that is absolutely horrified to learn they may get wet, and so cover up from head-to-toe. WTF is up with that? Why go on the ride at all? It's not like you're all dressed up.
I'd like to use this space to gripe about the lack of manatees. They are cool, and guess what? They're GONE! Sea World moved them to the Florida park (where they already have wild manatees) and replaced them with... Turtles. Sea turtles, which I admit are cool, but not nearly as cool as manatees. Hell, they've had turtles in an exhibit here for years, but decided to move them to a bigger one, and send the manatees to Florida. So now they have no manatees.
They also moved Commerson's dolphins to a non-viewing area and replaced them with stingrays, but this is apparently only temporary. They needed a new home for the stingrays while they're building a roller coaster. Where the moray eels that lived near the stingrays are is not mentioned.
To help the wild bunch burn off some energy we turned them loose in the "Bay of Play". This huge playground is partially sponsored by Sesame Street, and so occasionally giant costumed TV characters go by. I offered to take Craig's picture with Bert and Ernie so he could show it to his 5th grade class, and he pretended not to recognize me. It was awesome.
While the kids were tearing the Bay of Play apart, Mrs. Grumpy and I camped out at a shady table across from it at Pineapple Pete's. And there, to my surprise, we discovered an all new, and entirely unadvertised, Sea World attraction: the Spandex Parade.
You see, they have these adventure things, where for a fee you get to spend a few hours as a dolphin/whale/walrus/whatever handler. So they put you in a spandex wetsuit, and you go off to your adventure.
Then, at 5:40 in the afternoon, you get marched back to the locker room. And in doing so you (and all your dolphin-feeding friends) walk past Pineapple Pete's.
Now I do NOT claim to be a poster child for physical fitness. Quite the opposite. In spite of my perpetual battles with the Wii Fit Trainer, I seem to be losing ground. BUT I AM NOT TRYING TO CRAM MY OUT-OF-RANGE FAT ASS BMI INTO A SKIN-TIGHT SPANDEX WETSUIT AND PARADE IT AROUND SEA WORLD!
Let’s face it: how many of you want to be seen in public wearing a skin-tight, form-fitting wetsuit? I thought so. Me neither. Very few of us are in the phenomenal shape of Sea World's trainers.
So people who likely would never even consider wearing Spandex in public anywhere else on Earth walk by in it here. And, I must admit, after seeing them I changed my mind about wanting to get a funnelcake.
At this point Frank and Marie wanted to re-ride Journey to Atlantis, so we walked over, only to find it was closed again. While I was looking for info about when it would re-open, some lady wrongly assumed I worked there (Ma’am, for future reference, SeaWorld employees don't wear "Motorhead" t-shirts to work), and asked me what the ride's problem was. I told her they were looking for someone's head, and walked away.
We stayed for the evening Shamu show, Shamu Rocks!, which is whale tricks done to blasting music. At one point they played KISS's "Rock and Roll all Night". This got me thinking: In 1975, when the song came out, KISS was marketed as the anti-family, pro-rebellious, piss-off-your-parents-by-listening-to-us band. Long hair. Bizarre makeup. Strange costumes. FFS, during "God of Thunder" Gene Simmons would vomit blood onto the stage! And what are they in 2011? Perfect for family entertainment at Sea World.
Craig, your hair looks fine.