Thursday, April 14, 2011

Marine World!! (aka Six Flags Discovery Kingdom)

Okay, I can't remember if I actually told all of you where I was going on my trip last weekend.  So, just in case I didn't, I went to MARINE WORLD!!!  Although it's technical name is Six Flags Discovery Kingdom.  Everyone I know still calls it Marine World though, as that was it's original name. 

Saturday morning, I piled into a car with my best friend since childhood (in celebration of her 30th birthday), another dear friend from high school, and my best friend's aunt.  We drove for somewhere between 3 and 4 hours until we reached our destination in Vallejo, CA.  It was such a wonderful day!!  No kids, no responsibilities, just food, friends and fun, to borrow the popular phrase. :)

We watched animal shows, rode the rides, ate waayyy overpriced food, and topped it all off with a trip to Olive Garden once the park closed.  But honestly, with all of the fun we had, I think one of the best parts was having hours of adult conversation (with no interruptions) in the car both ways. :D  That is a truly rare treat!

I took several pics to share with you.  It was great to go there again.  The last time I'd made it to Marine World was with my singing group in college, which was about *ahem* 9 or 10 years ago.  Wow, that makes me feel old!  Have I really been out of college that long? :{

This is one of the first things you see as you walk into the park:  the huge green and purple loops of Medusa, one of their most popular roller coasters.  Popular it may be, but I did NOT ride it.  It's been a little too long since I've done roller coasters, and I don't like going upsidedown.

Another shot of the mighty Medusa. :)

Here's the one roller coaster I DID ride:  Roar.  It's an old-fashioned style wooden roller coaster that was always my favorite years ago when I came.  I wasn't disappointed.  It is really jerky because it's wooden, but it's super fast, super high, and (best of all) doesn't go upsidedown!! :D

Here's a picture of some of the sculptures at the entrance. There were animal sculptures like these all over the park. I thought they added a lot of character. Oh, and just behind the giraffe statue, you'll see a yellow and green tower sort of thing. That is the newest ride at the park, "Sky Screamin'", which is supposed to be finished in a month or so. It's like those big swings at the fair where you sit in a seat and go around in a circle, except you're supposed to go 50 miles per hour and be somewhere around 150 feet in the air. Yikes!!!

The beautiful dolphin fountain just inside the Marine World entrance.  It was hard to enjoy it, because there was a group performing nearby that was so loud you couldn't hear yourself think.  They did a good job on their performance, but the speakers were turned up way too high (imho).

Another view of the area just inside the park's entrance.

One of the highlights of Marine World is seeing the wildlife.  This was the show featuring Shouka the Killer Whale and Merlin the dolphin.

Shouka demonstrating her jumping and diving skills.  Killer Whales are such beautiful, powerful animals.

This was a part of the show where Shouka was floating on one side to show off her coloring.

On to the tigers!  This guy did NOT look happy to be cooped up in here.  He kept pacing back and forth, back and forth in his area.  I was very thankful for the fence...I don't know how friendly he would have been if it wasn't there!

There was a tiger show that we attended and really enjoyed.  All of my pictures were really far away, though, so I didn't include them in the blog.  What cracked me up is that the tigers weren't really all that interested in performing.  This is the beginning of Marine World's busy season, so the animals are still being trained to do their learned behaviors for the show.  The tigers reminded me of big housecats.  I mean, when was the last time you tried to teach your cat to follow a command?  :)

The dolphin show was AMAZING.  In fact, I think it was my favorite show out of all of them.  Dolphins just have so much personality, and they're so talented, too!  The Killer Whale may be powerful and majestic, but the dolphin is so quick and agile.  I got a few pics of them doing various flips and dives.  It's kind of hard to see the dolphins in the pics, but hopefully it will give you at least an idea of how enjoyable the show was.

Here all three dolphins were doing a back flip into the water.

The trainers got into the water with the dolphins and did all sorts of amazing tricks.  Besides the time when the trainer was "surfing" on one of the dolphins (by standing on the dolphin's nose and just in front of his dorsal fin as the dolphin propelled him through the water), one of my favorite tricks had to be this one.  The trainer was in the water, and 2 of the dolphins pushed him out of the water so high that he was able to do a high dive.  See that black figure on the horizon of the painting?  That's the trainer, about to dive back into the water!!

There were lots of other fun animals at the park, including this elephant.  She was rehearsing for an upcoming show when we saw her.  She was a sweetie, but boy did she smell!!  I wouldn't want to muck out her stall!

I loved the giraffes, too.  This giraffe was bound and determined to get at all of that lucious green grass on the other side of the fence. :)

This giraffe was busy eating away at some tree leaves.  He just stood there, eyeing us lazily as he finished his meal.  It was really fascinating seeing these creatures so close-up.  They truly are an amazing creation.

I had a wonderful time with my friends.  It was great to feel like teenagers again and have a day of fun.  At the end of the day, though, it was nice to come home to my husband and my three girls.  And seeing the look of sheer joy on my youngest daugher's face the next morning when I was there to wake her up was priceless.  I wouldn't trade that for a lifetime of special trips. :)

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