What I learned at SeaWorld

Posted: December 17, 2010 in Uncategorized

Have you been to SeaWorld?  Oh my.  Of all the places we visited in Florida, SeaWorld was by far my favorite.

We arrived on a beautiful morning that was sunny, but cold by Floridian standards and we nearly had the park to ourselves for the first few hours.   Christmas trees decorated in SeaWorld’s signature aquamarine colors were everywhere and holiday music rang out from every corner, making it a delightful juxtaposition between a day at the coolest beach ever and Christmas at grandma’s house.   It was magical and we, the Stern-Parnell crew, were in love with the place.   Sometimes, love cannot just be felt or expressed with words.  Sometimes, you gotta dance it out, man.

Corey started it.  I don’t remember which song was playing, but it was groovy.

Then Corey found a friend.

The younger generation will surely carry on the bad dancing tradition.

Because it must be done.  Gas is $3 per gallon?  Dance.  Property values fell 9% in Bend last month?  Dance, friends.  8 days ’til Christmas and no shopping done?  You know what to do.

So.  Seaworld.  We saw these guys:

This guy lives in the stingray petting zoo.  No kidding, we got to pet them and feed them and none of us were stabbed or stung or anything!  They are the most perfect color combination of rich, chocolately brown on top and creamy ivory underneath – they’re like a Ralph Lauren cashmere scarf.  And I thought they felt like velvet until the stingray expert told us that they glide through the water so well because they’re covered in mucous. Ew.  This explains the many hand santizing stations surrounding the stingray tank.

By the way I did something I never ever thought I would do.  I bought the stingrays some lunch.  I don’t generally fall for those tourist tricks, but I really wanted to see them eat so I paid $5 for four shrimp and gave them to Corey to do the feeding.  These guys are smart, I tell you, and they could totally smell or sense or see or discern that food was nearby and so here’s what happened:

And also this happened:

Do you believe how rude?  The problem was that I had four shrimp for about 400 stingray so not all of them ended up thinking I was cool.  Seriously, though, these guys were just fascinating.

We finally tore ourselves away and wandered down a tree-lined pathway and ran right into these beauties here:

Oh, how I LOVE dolphins!  They’re graceful and charming and friendly and funny.  Everything you want a good date to be. 

Josiah, contemplating a future as a deep sea diver.

Or maybe he could do what this girl does.  Or maybe not.  The dolphin show was amazing…kind of a combination of Flipper meets Cirque du soleil.

Know what else is amazing?  This roller coaster.

It’s called the Kraken and it’s ridiculous.  But Corey and Casey were determined to conquer the Kraken on this very day. I’ll let you decide whether this picture looks like they’re the conquerors or not.  (Actually, I think Tess is the real conqueror for capturing this photo in mid-air…you would not believe how fast they were going.)

And here’s the aftermath:

Meanwhile, the rest of my kids maintained their firm roller-coasters-are-demonic belief system, but still found a way to experience the thrills and chills:

Haha!  I’ve decided that if my house caught on fire, this picture would be one of the five things worth running back inside for.

Our day also included chili cheese dogs, a ride on the Polar Express and a Shamu show that had us literally screaming like children.

So, here’s the thing I want to say:  I know Orlando is full of theme parks with all manner of rides and princesses and mouses and such.  And I know SeaWorld may sound dull and “educationy” by comparison.  However, I would not trade our day at Seaworld for anything – including our day at Universal.  It was just wonderful.

Yesterday I mentioned how incredible it was to see the thoughts in one woman’s mind come to life in Harry Potterville.  At SeaWorld, I felt exactly the same thing about God.  I looked at that stingray and thought:  that guy was in Your mind and You spoke him into being.  I saw the way an animal the size of an elephant can leap from the water and realized that the design of creation is beautiful and utterly majestic.  I watched my children dancing for joy in the one of the most uncertain season in our lives and I know that only a truly intelligent and infinitely compassionate Designer can bring beauty from ashes.

That’s what I learned at SeaWorld.

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Comments
  1. Angie says:

    We did SeaWorld California in August. I’d take SeaWorld over the Disney parks any day! So much fun! Although I admit, we didn’t do any dancing. When I get really brave, I might give that a try. 🙂

  2. Ken says:

    Wow. It seems I have lost a bit of my ability or desire to dance for joy. Instead, I hit my head against concrete pillars. Maybe my family needs a trip to Seaworld

  3. Nita Belles says:

    Dance?? DANCE??? Don’t you know that Dancing is against the religious law?? That’s EXACTLY why I dance! ha-ha!

    Love this! Great word…gotta go dance to the airport to pick up Andy.

  4. Jamie says:

    We won tickets to Sea World a couple years back when we were headed down to CA for a wedding. I was surprised at how much I loved it…possibly more than Disney. A giant stuffed Shamu came home with us and is practically part of the family these days.
    I am so glad that your family had a wonderful vacation. I have referred several people to your blog recently that have been going through hard seasons. Thanks for inspiring others to trust God and press forward in faith in the most difficult of times.

  5. Ti says:

    that guy was in Your mind and You spoke him into being. I saw the way an animal the size of an elephant can leap from the water and realized that the design of creation is beautiful and utterly majestic. I watched my children dancing for joy in the one of the most uncertain season in our lives and I know that only a truly intelligent and infinitely compassionate Designer can bring beauty from ashes.

    Romans 1:20 – Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely his eternal power and diety, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made.

    Even here in Cenratl Oregon as I see the majesty of the mountains, the beauty of the rivers and the blue of the sky or the white of the snow, I see Gods had and nature of who He is. He IS an AWESOME God!!

  6. Karen says:

    Ah Bo, one of my all-time most amazing experiences was snorkeling off the coast of Maui when and Eagle Ray (same family as the Sting Ray, but a better fashion sense) swam right up to us! So cool. Thanks for the reminder to dance when we feel like crying!

  7. Whitney says:

    There is something so funny to me about our dance moves. Such as the one where Josiah comes in, I’m not even sure how I was dancing that led to that movement, but it’s so funny to me! In fact, it made me laugh out loud, which led to my tea that was on my lap almost spilling, which led to Maple growling at the non-existent intruder, but then her growl turned into a cough because she has respiratory problems. Funny series of events. 🙂

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