unnamed-2This past April, my family was invited down to Discovery Cove at SeaWorld to experience the wonders and all the ways in which SeaWorld is protecting wildlife. I had never even heard of The Discovery Cove before our visit. We didn’t know what to expect at all and we were mesmerized from the moment we walked into this all-inclusive tropical day resort. Families can experience breathtaking animal encounters while bonding with your children in an educational and relaxing setting. This can include a Dolphin swim that is not only fun but educational and the snorkeling is beautiful as well as the lazy river, but there is so much more which left me wanting to return as soon as I could, and I did.

unnamed-7I recently hosted a group of families back down in SeaWorld to have a first hand up and close experience with what SeaWorld is doing today to protect our wildlife. Families came together from across the country to learn how SeaWorld and Rising Tide Conservation are working to protect tropical fish and coral reefs they inhabit. This included helping aquarists collect fish eggs, to site tours, a dolphin swim, moderating a panel conversation, and first had experiences with animal rescue centers. To be able to share this experience with my 7 years old daughter so she can see firsthand the work that SeaWorld is doing with Rising Tide was invaluable.

When you are living and raising children in New York City, ocean life can seem quite far away and possibly intangible to a child unless on vacation. Even for me, I have been forever changed by my experience down at SeaWorld. I have a new outlook on the food we eat and I am forever reminded that nearly all life on this planet depends on our oceans. There are lessons that can be learned from our experiences that one can take back home to help the work that SeaWorld is doing but also in your own home.

unnamed-6You can visit your local zoos and aquariums. Your visit can help ensure the conservation work that they are doing and inspire you and your family to care for animals and our planet. You can support conservation programs like Rising Tide, which are committed to protecting tropical fish and coral reefs. As a teachable moment, you may want to think about having your own type of aquarium at home, just more minute than the ones people go and visit, so you can show them the various marine life and how caring for them is important, as well as how best to clean and care for where they live. This may mean that you will need reactors for different filter media for water quality, as well as specific cleaning products.

If and when you want to start a home aquarium, research the fish you are buying and look into fish that are not collected from reefs. You can Google ‘aquatics near me‘ to see what equipment you can pick up to keep your fish safe and happy. On the off chance, you want to get a turtle tank, searching for the types of equipment necessary for it. For instance, to keep your turtles clean and happy, research on good filters for turtle tanks can do the job. The research part can be really fun with your kids. You can also introduce your children to the myActions platform, where you can share the actions you take to help protect the environment while challenging your friends and family too.

As aunnamed-5 family we are forever changed from the exposure and experiences down at SeaWorld. The first hand experiences with zoological experts and conservation experts that joined included: Paula Carlson from The Dallas World Aquarium and Mitch Carl from The Omaha Zoo and Denise Swider from SeaWorld. The passion and work that these experts have put into their work and into this world is what we need to share with others. You can forget on a day-to-day basis the role you have in this world and the importance of making a difference.

By: Melissa Gerstein