Here in Northwest Arkansas, we are having another snow day. I had my hubby take my Subaru to work, but that leaves me stranded! Oh well, it’s a good time to catch up on things that need doing around the house. Or better still, a good day to look through the pictures we took on our Florida Keys trip back in the fall and think sunny thoughts. So here to send a little sunny cheer your way are some pictures I took of the dolphins at the Dolphin Research Center in Marathon, Florida.
A dolphin practicing his flips at the DRC
This facility uses the dolphins to study psychology and behavioral traits, as well as serving as a rest and rehab center for dolphins that need it. Ever wonder where the dolphins at Sea World go for vacation? The DRC, of course! We were lucky to be there during an exercise and training run, so we got to see some great jumps and flips.
Good hang time on this jump
I asked why the dolphins don't jump over the fence, since they can jump so high. It's because they want to stay!
Playing ball with dolphins is really fun!
One of the dolphins checking us out. The workers say "people watching" is one of the dolphin's favorite activity.
A coordinated short jump. One of the dolphins in this picture was really pregnant, so she was not allowed to do big showy moves.
The dolphins are trained to roll over on command, and sometimes get a belly rub as a reward.
I absoultely adore sea animals, and if I could have squeezed the money out of our vacation budget I would have done the "trainer for a day" option. But the "meet a dolphin" option is an affordable way to be able to interact with the dolphins. You get to shake flippers, and rub their backs. The dolphins also paint when they feel like it, and you can help them paint you a t-shirt! Image courtesy of the DRC.
We also visited the Turtle hospital just down the road, and I will post some images from there in a future post. We took this vacation after shooting a destination wedding in Miami. You can see some of my favorite images in my Fave 50 Facebook gallery.
I'm a recent PhD graduate at the University of South Florida in Tampa where my research focus was on developing accessible approaches to geology field work for students with disabilities, and Volcano Geophysics. I'm also a professional photographer (www.steeyjoestudio.com) and a board member of the Int. Association for Geoscience Diversity (theIAGD.org).