We just returned home from a week in California and with more family vacation photos than I know what to do with. Some of those are immediately getting printed and framed including many of the photos we took during the SeaWorld San Diego Conservation Connections Tour. Growing up visiting SeaWorld and our oldest daughter starting her love for marine animals in the park very young, we have followed many of the animal ambassadors in the park for years. The traveling animal ambassadors visit classrooms and groups all over the country to teach them about conservation and how we can all make a positive difference. While not traveling, these animals reside in the park and aside from their leisurely strolls through SeaWorld with their behaviorists to educate guests, they are now part of the newConservation Connections Tour. We went on the tour last week and my youngest daughter has asked to do it again everyday since. Our experience included interactions with Peanut the beaver, Goldie the cockatoo and Kandoro the porcupine. We were also treated to a visit from Buffy and Zander, 18 year old asian small clawed otters my daughter met in the park years ago.
TheConservation Connections Tour provides the opportunity to interact with three animal ambassadors potentially including some of the animals we met during our family experience. To book your tour, visit the Dolphin and Beluga Interaction Center in the park. The animals selected for your experience will be at random but you can make a request if you have a strong desire to interact with a specific animal (please keep in mind not all requests can be accommodated due to scheduling). Children under 10 years old must be accompanied by a paying adult on the tour.
After hearing the safety rules, we began our tour by visiting Peanut the Beaver. Her home includes a pool and wood cut fresh daily. We learned Peanut’s family had not survived a bear attack when she was a baby. Beavers thrive in families and unless adopted as an infant by other beavers, Peanut never would have survived on her own. She has lived at SeaWorld ever since and enjoys swimming, eating mulberry and teaching guests about conservation.
Peanut weighs about 40 pounds and is the most gentle animal. Her teeth are orange because it’s where she stores iron and has no enamel, that is why beavers need to constantly chew on wood to wear down and sharpen their teeth. She was curious about my daughters and they happily welcomed her affection.
She is very comfortable with people because SeaWorld is her home. She cannot be released to the wild because other beavers would not accept her into their family and this is crucial for survival.
During the experience the guide and animal behaviorist, Brie, shared many facts and information about how to help animals in the wild. We were all very intrigued by Peanut’s strong tail. In the wild beavers use their tail to slap the water and alert their family of danger.
As we left Peanut’s home, we watched as she pulled a fresh piece of tree to her pool.
Next we met Goldie, a sulfur crested cockatoo. He has quite the personality!
Goldie has his own recycling bin and uses it all by himself.
Kandoro is an african crested porcupine and very interesting to my oldest daughter because at home she has a pet hedgehog. She had many questions about the quills and their similarities. Brie explained Kandoro has never had a reason to use his quills for protection at SeaWorld. Porcupines can rattle their quills to sound like a rattlesnake and when in serious danger, they run and thrust their sharp back quills for protection.
Buffy and Zander are 18 year old asian small clawed otters that have been educating park guests for many years. They were the first otters my daughter had the opportunity to interact with just after she had turned five years old. These otters have a life expectancy of about 10-12 years in the wild. The pair are well known in the park and my daughters really enjoyed their visit.
The SeaWorld San DiegoConservation Connections Tour is a wonderful learning opportunity. The animal encounters provide impactful moments that will stay with your children and provide insights for future conservation efforts.
Which animal ambassadors would you like to meet at SeaWorld San Diego?
See more about our experiences at SeaWorld San Diego and read why I still choose to support SeaWorld. A few of my favorite visits include my daughter learning that girls can be anything they want to be from Miss California and killer whales at SeaWorld.