6.09.2011

Welcome to Miami {Swimming with Dolphins}



Happy Thursday chicks!
Even after my "WILW" post yesterday
 I still came home from work
and thought that it was in fact only Tuesday
 ...so I'm elated that tomorrow is already Friday!

I'm super excited to finally share my swimming with dolphins experience in Miami with you all today.

Billy has known ever since he met me that one of my biggest dreams was to go swimming with dolphins. It was at the tippy top of my Bucket List you could say. I absolutely love animals and dolphins has always intrigued me so, of course, I was over the moon excited when Billy told me we could do it for my birthday celebration while we were in Florida. We decided to go to Miami Seaquarium {I say "we" in this, because frankly Billy isn't great with online planning ahead and usually leaves the locations up to me..totally cool with that} because it was a little less driving than going all the way to Orlando. Miami, Orlando, and the Florida Keys are the only places you can swim with dolphins in Florida {I believe}.

The drive from Naples to Miami was just about 2 hours - 2 hours and 20 mins to be exact. We left at 7 am sharp and was hoping to get to our destination by 9:15am. Billy advised me to pick the morning session 9:30-3:00, rather than the later session 11:00-5:00. BOY..was he RIGHT! {soak it up, babe} God was definitely on our side that morning when we were driving because we didn't leave any time to spare for traffic, getting lost, food stops (traveling with me is always a process), etc. We got SO lucky because we didn't hit any traffic, even though it was a Friday morning in rush hour, and we didn't get lost once. If you have driven in downtown Miami then you know this is an accomplishment...

At Miami Seaquarium they have a seperate entrance for just the dolphin experience. The other part of it is pretty much just like Sea World - with killer whale, sea lion, and dolphins shows. In addition to the dolphin tickets we bought {Billy just got an observer ticket so he could take pictures of me}, we got free admission to the park for the day. We made our way over to the Dolphin Harbor and we were both so excited.

Here are the pictures from our day. You will notice some of them are personal that Billy took of me and some of them are professional pictures I bought afterwards!
 I'll let them do the speaking.. :)

This is our view right when we walked in. Multiple pool areas for all the dolphins. It happened to be weigh-in day for the dolphins, so all of the dolphins at this facility were out swimming in the pools when we arrived. To say I was thrilled would be an understatement.


This is Luna coming to say Hello.
Luna ended up being the dolphin I had the most interaction with. She was so sweet.


This is Noelle (I think).
The biggest dolphin they have at a whopping 550 lbs!


Before I changed into my wetsuit, I got to watch the trainers interact with the dolphins. The entire time I kept thinking, "I want THAT job!!"

Some of the dolphins were showing off and were playing with balls right in front of us.


I changed into my wetsuit and was ready for my turn!
 The next 45 minutes I got to spend in the water interacting with the dolphins. The session you pay for is actually only 30 minutes, but because Billy suggested the morning session and that we did it on a weekday - it wasn't crowded at all and it was only me and 1 other girl in our group! On a typical day they have groups of 14-22 people! We got so lucky and got much more personal attention.

Being introduced to our dolphins for the day by the trainer

my first touch :)


we got to feed them fish...

...and watch them do many different tricks & make noises!



playing catch!





and they did jumps right in front of us...ahhhh SOOO cool.



Then it was my turn to get in the deep water {all the way!} with them.
I was able to hug them with my arms wrapped all the way around them, kiss them, and then I got to go on 2 very special rides...


going in for the hug with Luna..I was so nervous/excited!

HUGS with Noelle, too!


{It was so sunny out and we couldn't wear sunglasses or anything so my eyes are super squinty hehe}





The first ride I got to take was on the dolphin's dorsal fin....where you float in the water and hold your arm out straight and the dolphin will swim right by you and then you grab on to their fin and swing your other arm around to hold on to the fin and they take you for a fun, fast ride across the pool!!

It was incredible.

waiting to grab on..




The second ride was one they don't do very often and we actually got to do it a couple times {since it was only 2 of us!} so they could practice it.

They had me lay on a boogie board on my stomach with my legs straight out behind.
Luna came up behind me and pushed me
across the pool by her snout on my foot!!!

I can't tell you how cool this was...not only to have a dolphin's snout on my foot, but pushing me across the pool.





The overall time we were back with the dolphins was a little over 2 hours. I absolutely loved every minute of the experience and so did Billy even though he didn't swim with them..he got to see everything else. I really want to do it again!! If it was cheaper, I would do it in a second :)

 It was one of the best days. I would most definitely recommend Miami Seaquarium for all you that are interested.

After I swam with the dolphins, we went and saw a bunch of shows the rest of the day. Here are some pictures from them.




Special thanks to my sweet husband for making one of my dreams a reality.
...and for capturing so many wonderful pictures of the day!
I. love. you.


Hope you enjoyed all the pictures! Have a great day :-)


xo. Katie

25 comments :

  1. OMG! that looks like SO MUCH fun!!! :)
    xo::Lauren @ tickled.

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  2. Very cool! I've done Discovery Cove three times, and it's absolutely gorgeous there, but you only spend like 20 minutes or so in the water with the dolphins. The rest of the day is your choice- snorkeling with fish and stingrays, swimming in the lazy river, laying on the beach or pigging out on all the free food and drinks. Plus you get free tickets to either sea world, busch gardens or aquatica. I'd definitely try this though if you get to spend so much more time with the dolphins!

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  3. OMG...lucky!! I am so glad you got to do that. Looks like you had one the best day ever chick :) And Luna is just so cute.
    Jen

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  4. this looks like it was absolutely AMAZING!!!!! im in love with the dolphins! soooo cute! so happy for you that you got to cross it off your bucket list. your pics are awesome, thank you for sharing with us!

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  5. that is so awesome! What a great hubby to plan that for you!!

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  6. Awwww that looks like it was so fun!! I've always wanted to swim with dolphins!

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  7. That looks awesome! I'd love to do that one day.

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  8. ahhh! I am so jealous of what looks like an amazing time! It is for sure on my bucket list as well!!
    xo

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  9. SO COOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love it!!!!!

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  10. How exciting! I love dolphins, and the pictures are so beautiful. I am so glad you were able to cross something off of your bucket list!

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  11. AHH! Such great pics! I am DYING to swim with the dolphins!!! I am really hoping we can swing it on our honeymoon!

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  12. On my bucket list too! I hope to do it someday soon. Good to know you had a good experience there. I love the pictures!!!

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  13. so neat! I really want to do this =) Great pictures -- looks like you had a wonderful time

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  14. Oh I am so jealous! I have always wanted to do this! great pictures!

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  15. What a great experience. So happy for you! Kudos to your sweet hubby.

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  16. OMG I am extremely jealous!!! that is the coolest thing ever!!! LOVE IT!!! :)
    Love your new blog design too!!

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  17. Holy blog make over!!!!!!!!!!! LOL you didn't need my help at all!!!! LOVE IT! AND THANK YOU for putting my updated new button on your page! that's very sweet! :) I'm super jealous you got to swim with them! i've touched one before but that's it!

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  18. That is seriously amazing and once-in-a-lifetime experience!! Lovin your new blog look!

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  19. FREAKING AWESOME! I have ALWAYS wanted to swim with dolphins, it is my dream! these pictures are amazing! and you are gorg btw!

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  20. This looks awesome. There is something about being with animals that always makes me happy. These pictures make me insanely jealous! Hope you had fun!
    Have a wonderful weekend, thanks for the sweet blog visit!

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  21. I am so excited to see these pictures! It looks like an absolute blast!! Your husband did a great job of capturing the pictures! :)

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  22. OOOOooooo girly, I am loving the new blog-lift :)
    It is supppper cute and soo you!! Even though I hate water {this would also include tanks full of sea mammals} this kiiinda makes me want to swim with the dolphins too!! I need to know the girl who did this for you!!!

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  23. That looks amazinggggg!! I'm so happy for you! What an incredible day! I'd love to swim with dolphins! All of the pictures are great .. such good memories :)

    LOVE the new blog design too! XOXO

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  24. Those are beautiful pictures!!

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  25. Hey Katie, that swim with the dolphins Miami program seemed really special to you. Your photos were outstanding and really showed what a time you had. Nice Blog!!

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