Erik & Smisty's Florida Oddventures

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Re: Erik & Smisty's Florida Oddventures

Postby ginzo » Fri Jan 21, 2011 11:34 am

Electerik wrote:I want to say that I saw Graeter's in a grocery store or something once, but didn't realize it was supposed to be anything special, and thus didn't try it. I will make a point of it next time I'm in an appropriate area of the country.


I wouldn't make a special trip for Graeter's. Then again, you probably shouldn't listen to me because I'm heavily biased towards gelato.
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Re: Erik & Smisty's Florida Oddventures

Postby BeemerBoy » Fri Jan 21, 2011 11:40 am

It's crazy to think that Boomers actually had some decent years starting out. But then again, I'm trying to recall, the place may not have started out as Boomers. I think the place that Boomers now occupies was originally an extension of Grand Prix Race-O-Rama (the smaller place across that access road with the huge track).

It seems like it was around 1999-2000 that it changed over to Boomers, and they announced the building of the Hurricane (?). And quite possibly the only reason that coaster remains in such good shape is because it's not actually managed by Boomers....at least it still wasn't the last time I checked several years back.

I also just realized that the skycoaster and "Blender" are now gone...or appear to be anyway. Any locals know when they were removed? I'm glad I got my skycoaster credit there in its first year.....back when I didn't feel like I needed to be strapped with my 9mm to visit the place.
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Re: Erik & Smisty's Florida Oddventures

Postby Across_the_Universe » Fri Jan 21, 2011 2:48 pm

Dania Beach Hurricane looks like an awesome woodie! Too bad that the FEC it's a part of is rather sucky and a place I'd be afraid to go alone, if at all. :(
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Re: Erik & Smisty's Florida Oddventures

Postby Electerik » Fri Jan 21, 2011 7:12 pm

To be honest, when I first learned of the existence of The Miami Seaquarium, my first thought was, "Ghetto SeaWorld." As it turns out, that's not entirely accurate. Certainly, it's smaller than any of the SeaWorld parks, but it's also more intimate. Areas of it are obviously dated, but it's also pleasantly non-corporate. If anything, it's more of a low-key, "alternate-dimension" SeaWorld. And, on that basis, we enjoyed it very much.
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Parking is $8.00. Or free, if you get there an hour before the park opens, like we did, and there's no one manning the parking booth.

It's worth noting that it also cost $1.50 to drive on the causeway that's the only road you can take there.
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If I have a complaint about the park, it's that it's bordered on two sides by gorgeous sea vistas, but never takes advantage of them! This is a view from the parking lot. There are no such views from inside the park.
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This is where Lolita parks.
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A one-day ticket is $37.95, while an annual pass is $47.95.
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Like at most theme parks, you are pestered immediately upon entry to have your photo taken. The difference here is that they fling animals at you first.
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They even have the dolphin strollers like SeaWorld used to.
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Yay for cheesy photo ops!
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These were all over the park. They didn't look like much fun, but it didn't really matter because none of them worked.
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The best thing here is right at the front and center of the park. (In fact, it kind of seems like it might once have been the entire attraction.)
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On the left is a snack bar, on the right is where you buy any photos you might have had taken during the day. Ahead is an approximately 30-foot high dolphin tank.
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Around the outside ring are various fish tanks and interactive displays. (See what I mean about it looking like this building was once the entire Seaquarium?)
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"Hello."
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Smisty learns about dolphins (including how to tell males from females).
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This connects over to a smaller tank, containing tropical fish and coral.
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Tropical fish. Coral.
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You can check out the dolphins from the top, too. This is also where the "Top Deck Dolphin Show" occurs. (Or as I like to refer to it, "Top Thrill Dolphin."
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This is not only the best dolphin show I've ever seen, it's quite possibly the best show of any kind I've ever seen. And maybe even the best use I've ever put my eyes to. First the dolphins come out and jump around (right in front of you).
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Then the trainers introduce each dolphin and tell you a little about them, and each one does a trick.
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Then this chick comes out and rides them while "Come Sail Away" by Styx plays.
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Then they jump over her, which is cool.
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"Hey, lady, that's my fudging face you're standing on!"
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There's some jumping through hoops.
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The "Crazy Train" by Ozzy Osbourne comes on and the dolphins go completely nuts and start soaking everyone.
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Bam!

Honestly, if we'd had a little more time here, I would have watched this show again.
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Okay, what's next?
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Answer: lunch. How does pizza sound? (Yes, I'm talking about the building in the background. I have nothing to say about what's happening in the foreground here.)
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We weren't quite brave enough to get whale spout on our pizza. Looks like they might have been out of it anyway.
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Sitting outside is not normally my favorite thing--but hey, at least I have pizza and ice cream.
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The pizza was surprisingly good. (The ice cream was a little funky, though.)
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"Follow me to the manatees!"
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I suspect that when you're out shopping for marine mammals, manatees are the cheapest. Which is why everybody has them. It's certainly not because they're exciting. One day, I want to see a manatee *show.* Like, this is all the tricks a manatee can do. Look, it floated slightly! Did you see it??
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Wheelchair accessible, in a sense.
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Yup, they're manatees.
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I refuse to believe that manatees have bones.
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The Manatee Bay Cafe seems to be the park's main eatery, if for no other reason than the fact that it opens at 8:45am. Which is especially awesome because the park itself opens at 9:30am. (I swear I'm not making this up. That's what the sign says.)
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The menu and kitchen.
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Indoor seating. Dang, we should have come here.
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Tropical Wings combines a stingray touch pool with a bird exhibit. Because, why not?
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This park loves rusty old anchors. They're freaking everywhere.
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There are two flamingos. Two. That's not even worth making a sign up for. Maybe one's a boy and one's a girl. "Hey, wake up and get to work!"
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"You *will* come down from that sign or I *will* beat you with this stick."
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Yes, there's a second dolphin show. This one is about Flipper or something.
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Dolphin Harbor is their extra-charge swim-with-the-dolphins Discovery Cove type thing. Not for us.
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This stadium is certainly much bigger than the one for Top Thrill Dolphin.
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Too bad the show is so much less interesting.
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A little kid from the audience comes up and meets "Flipper." Then Flipper splashes the hell out of her. So that's nice. Then they asked the girl what she wants to be when she grows up, and she said, "SHAMU trainer!" Take that, Seaquarium!
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Anchors.
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Yep, we're in Miami.
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Wait...why would they kill a shark at the Seaquarium?
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This is the "Shark Channel," a big circular moat full of sharks that goes around a playground.
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Sounds awesome, right? Except there's only like two sharks in it. LAME.
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The playground equipment. Which doesn't even dangle children over the water. I need to own this place. (Better yet, Dave needs to own this place.)
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Um....
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There we go. See that big ear of corn on the sign? Good. Now, see the little bitty sign taped to the drink machine? Know what it says? "Out of corn."
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Discovery Bay seems fairly new, or least more up-to-date, with lots of wood and natural-looking environs and not much concrete.
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It features alligators (which, like manatees, are cheap and easy to acquire)...
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...sea turtles...
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...and, um, dear.
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California sea lions, hanging outside the "Golden Dome."
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I must warn you, this show is not for kids. In fact, this show is not really for anybody. Consider yourself warned. Depravity awaits.
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"Hey assholes, would you mind sitting down? I'm trying to perform here!'
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First, we start with some nice wholesome butt sniffing.
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Then we move on to the humping.
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I don't even know what *this* is.
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And now the spanking.
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The trainer makes this sea lion her pony girl.
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I...I don't know. I think the conch shell is supposed to be magical or something.
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What I do know is that I've never seen so much bestiality in my entire life, and I have the internet.
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After the show, one of the submissive sea lions comes out and lets strangers touch her. But we were afraid to get that close, so I employed my self-photography skills instead.
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They don't seem that far to me. (*Rimshot!*)
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Hey, do they have areal dragon here, too?
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Misty could resist the mold-o-matic machines no longer.
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The only walk-around character we saw. And the only Canadian.
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"Gift Shop."
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"Dancer, swim at your own risk"? What the heck does that mean?
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"Lolita, the *gentle* killer whale. Not like those vicious ones at SeaWorld!"
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Lolita is the Seaquarium's sole killer whale, and main attraction.
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She does a few basic tricks, and then the dolphins take over for a while. Honestly, she seems just a bit...tired, and it doesn't seem like they work her very hard. That's just my impression though, I'm no expert on orcas.
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These are pacific white-sided dolphins, and they live and perform in the same tank as Lolita. (I guess they keep her company...?) Anyway, that gives the Seaquarium a whopping 2.5 dolphin shows (out of four shows total).
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They don't do as much as SeaWorld used to do, but they certainly do more than SeaWorld does right now.
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Who wants splashing?
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Big finish!
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Bye!
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Looking back over the park from the top of the killer whale stadium.
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And this is where they're putting in the Intamin mega lite.
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We only spent about 5 hours in the park, as we had other places we wanted to go, but the people were still coming in as we left, and the photographers were still going strong. Not that I can blame them...
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It seems to work. :0)
Last edited by Electerik on Mon Mar 28, 2011 3:54 pm.
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Re: Erik & Smisty's Florida Oddventures

Postby WFChris » Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:17 pm

Looks like they are doing ok for business too! Seems like the kind of park you see closing up shop these days so it's nice to see a successful marine zoo. Thanks for the fun reports!

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Re: Erik & Smisty's Florida Oddventures

Postby Butler » Fri Jan 21, 2011 11:05 pm

First post on the site and I am loving this report. Scrolled through the Smokey Mounatin thread yesterday @ work, a slow day. Had to stop half way through as I was almost crying with laughter I must hasten to add.


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Re: Erik & Smisty's Florida Oddventures

Postby dandaman » Sat Jan 22, 2011 1:05 am

Would you happen to have video of the sea lion show?

...For science, of course.
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Re: Erik & Smisty's Florida Oddventures

Postby jamesdillaman » Sat Jan 22, 2011 2:12 am

dandaman wrote:Would you happen to have video of the sea lion show?

...For science, of course.



This almost made me spit up a drink...
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Re: Erik & Smisty's Florida Oddventures

Postby gforce532 » Sat Jan 22, 2011 6:01 am

Is it just me or does the Orca tank appear way too small.

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Re: Erik & Smisty's Florida Oddventures

Postby robbalvey » Sat Jan 22, 2011 10:25 am

gforce532 wrote:Is it just me or does the Orca tank appear way too small.

First off, unless we have some marine biologists on the forum, I don't think any of us are qualified to say how much room an Orca needs to live in order to be "comfortable."

Secondly, it doesn't look that much different in size overall compared to the one at Sea World where they keep Shamu, keeping in mind they normally have more than one Orca in the Shamu tanks. In fact, I'd say the one at Seaqauarium looks BIGGER considering the Sea World one appears to be separated into three separate tanks, and the Seaquarium tank looks to be just one.
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Last edited by robbalvey on Sat Jan 22, 2011 10:26 am.

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