Friday of our trip dawned foggy and wet...which would have been a serious bummer if we hadn't been going somewhere wet anyhow--Sea World!! We headed over, bought some way overpriced ponchos and set about exploring the park. We had the opportunity to have something really special that day--we had a VIP tour with our own personal tour guide and access to everything. It was amazing!! So here we go!
After a slight hiccup getting Nana to the park, we headed off to feed the sea lions. Which I thought Dakin was really going to dig, but he spotted the GIANT birds waiting around to snatch fish from the sea lions. Not good--as I have mentioned before, Dakin HATES birds. So there was much and many assorted fussing about that, and I was worried it was a portend for the rest of the day.
Dakin didn't want to leave the penguins, but we had something equally amazing coming up: feeding the dolphins.
This was magic. Absolute magic. We leaned him over the pool and they came right up to him. He got to touch them as we fed them. Magic. There was another little hiccup when the trainer called the dolphin up on the side so Dakin could touch him better, but since his head was so far over the side the dolphin's fin smacked him in the head. He didn't care for that at all, and wanted a quick break back in his chair, but got right back up. (He said later that the dolphin told him 'boo.' I have no idea where he got that but it was a pretty apt description of what happened!). He didn't get to touch them as much as I would have liked, but little arms are short and he didn't want the dolphin saying boo again.
After that bit of amazingness, we headed to the fancy shmancy restaurant for lunch. One whole wall of the room is underwater with the sharks from the shark exhibit swimming by. It was awesome! Dakin loved watching the sharks and was very interested in the sawtooth sharks ('funny nose shark' in Dakinspeak). The food was great and the ambience just perfect. And the girl at the host stand was just in love with Dakin and made him this hat...
And then the most magical moment of the entire day: the stingrays. We sat Dakin up on the edge of the pool and let him splash his feet in it while we spent way too much money feeding them. Look at his face. Just look.
I hate to repeat, but the only word I have is magical. He just loved the stingrays. We got soaked, but he loved it. See? Best day ever.
We had the opportunity to do the dolphin show, but Dakin was getting to the end of his strength, so we decided to head home, but not before we hit the gift shop and pretty much bought everything in sight. We got him a killer whale and a dolphin to go with the stingray he has at home, and upon asking him what he wanted to name them, he replied, "Stingray" both times. Which was pretty funny, but also told me how much he loved it.
Aren't you glad you stuck around for that? It was the perfect way to start closing up our trip. His smile was almost nonstop that day, and I am so glad we had the chance to give him the opportunity to interact with all the animals in a way he could. BEST DAY EVER.