|Lindsay shaking "hands"|
Now, you may be familiar with dolphin swim programs like they have at Discovery Cove (a sister park to Sea World), but this interaction is something separate from that. The Beluga Interaction program takes place in the Sea World park itself. At a specific time you meet with your group (I think it's 4 people max), put on wet suits, and meet with the beluga trainers.
After learning a bit about the whales, we were led into the Wild Arctic exhibit where the belugas live. It's two people per trainer and per whale, so you are pretty much in contact with the whales the whole time. One of the people in our group said she had done Discovery Cove the day before and while it was good, she liked this experience better because she wasn't waiting in line for her turn to interact with the animals the whole time, but rather had the constant assistance of a trainer and interaction with the beluga.
Lindsay and I sat on either side of the trainer and got to pet, hug, kiss, and get splashed by a very curious young beluga whale. In getting to be up close with them, I learned how similar they are to young children. They are curious, playful, and have short attention spans. Sometimes the trainers would give them a signal and they would respond with an incorrect behavior....but they tried and it was adorable.
This was an absolutely wonderful experience and I know that for me it was a once in a lifetime thing (it's expensive!). If you are planning a trip to Sea World and are interested in their behind the scenes programs, be sure to visit their website to learn more. The behind the scenes interactions often book up quickly as they are meant to be done in small groups. To learn more you can click HERE. Keep in mind this information is for the Orlando park. Lindsay and I enjoyed it so much that we are going to try and check out Discovery Cove in the spring sometime, for a somewhat similar experience. Till next time!