The Wonderful World of SeaWorld
By Jennifer Comiteau, vice president, content creation, New York
It occurred to me one panicky late night at work in early February that I had neglected to make any plans for my kids’ President’s Day vacation. As luck would have it, my panic coincided with an office party that was taking place in New York to celebrate the arrival of our new Chief Creative Officer and some great new account victories. As part of the celebration, Draftfcb brass once again held a drawing to send a few lucky winners to SeaWorld parks. It’s just one way Draftfcb rewards its troops and supports our client. Of course I had entered the contest, but I didn’t harbor any hope of winning. When my name was miraculously pulled out of a hat, it was as if the Shamu gods had answered my prayers. Cole, 8, and Lily, 10, (and of course husband Jeff and I) were going to San Antonio, Texas!
Upon arrival at the gates, their photographer dad Jeff began capturing every minute of what would be our fabulous adventure. Fun Cards in hand, I had wanted to immediately start saying hello to the stingrays, sea lions and dolphins. But, the kids had other plans. As we had an hour before our first show and interaction with the dolphins, the kids demanded a few rides on a roller coaster called the Steel Eel. They had fun. Jeff and I had heart palpitations. A couple of rides later, we were off to Dolphin Cove, where trainer Chris Flieger was wating to treat us to a special feeding.
The dolphins were ready. They performed on cue to get extra treats.
We got wet. But, it was well worth it. We did such a good job feeding the dolphins assorted delicacies – including squid – that we attracted more and more company.
We learned all about the way the trainers use the Least Reinforcing Scenario. If an animal doesn’t respond appropriately to a cue, the trainer simply stands still for three seconds before deploying the learned hand signal for desired effect. Positive reinforcement is the way of life at SeaWorld. That includes fish and tons of love by the animal ambassadors and the lucky guests, like Lily and Cole.
After Dolphin Cove, we made our way to the Wild Days: Amazing Animals! Show at the Nautilus Amphitheater. The trainers ran a tight show and were warm and gracious to us after which we were treated to personal meet-and-greets with the terrestrial animals from around the globe. (The little monkey pooped on Cole!)
One of the coolest (if not smelliest part of our adventure) was during our Penguin Encounter.
Those penguins with their arms extended are actually cooling off. Amazing since their home is sooooo cold. A cute couple found a spot for themselves for some quality grooming time.
The animals and actors were full of personality and we couldn’t have enjoyed our visit to SeaWorld in San Antonio any more than we did. Thanks, Draftfcb!
Our adventure was sealed with a kiss!