Monday, September 15, 2008

Beluga Kisses in San Antonio

When belluga whales leave the performance pool at San Antonio's Sea World for their calm open-air tanks, they sometimes kiss visitors. A photograph of my recent kiss on the cheek sits beside my desk.

But this Sea World is about more than mesmerizing performances by and interactions with massive sea creatures - the kiss was only one surprise. Despite the fact that Sea World in Orlando and San Diego lie closer to coastline, the San Antonio facility is actually larger than the other two combined. With 250 developed acres and 200 'cushion' acres nearby, this park also features the only roller coasters located in any Sea World facility.

Another surprise? Water may be Sea World San Antonio's lifeblood, but conservation efforts saved upwards of 20 million gallons during 2007. Animal 'conservation' is also a focus here - the facility houses one of only a few Manatee Rescue operations in the United States, where rescued and rehabilitated creatures thrive as they entertain guests.

Clearly, there's more to this beloved tourist attraction than meets the eye.

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