Everyone knows playing with dolphins is the best career anyone could ever ask for. The lesser known fact is that "playing with dolphins" comprises about 10% of your day... and the other 90% comprises of cleaning. And sanitizing. And re-cleaning. And re-sanitizing. And then some more cleaning.
In all seriousness, the kitchen where we prepare the animals diets is cleaned and sanitized, top to bottom, twice daily. Every bucket we use during the day, every lid, every water pitcher, and every piece of husbandry equipment is scrubbed with warm, soapy water and then disinfected with a medical grade disinfectant. That's not to mention the refrigerators, ice machines, water purifiers, dolphin toys, life vests, mats, and more that also get cleaned each day.
What our fish kitchen looks like after our training session
and before we start cleaning. 😳
We can handle all of the cleaning no problem, it's the 'scale checks' that are the tough part. You see, fish scales are the glitter of the dolphin world. They hide EVERYWHERE, they're tiny, they stick to everything, and chances are even if we haven't been around a fish for a couple of days, we're still going to find a fish scale on us. (Seriously, just like glitter.)
A dolphin trainer's face when they find a fish scale on them
at dinner, even though they showered after work.
Unfortunately for us, fish scales left behind in the kitchen can breed bacteria, so making sure we remove every single scale from our fish kitchen and supplies is imperative to providing the best healthcare to our animals.
So long story short, we are expert cleaners, disinfect-ors, and fish scale removers.
Then enters a tiny, little, microscopic virus that causes a worldwide pandemic, and what are we to do?
Clean even more! And add some new policies to prevent virus transmission...
Increased Cleaning & Sanitation:
As we reopen and return somewhat to normal, we're going to make sure we're doing EVERYTHING possible to protect our dolphins, our guests, and our team.
Our Guest Service Team will be disinfecting every door handle, restroom, sink, pen, counters, seating area between each group of guests to prevent the spread of the virus. Our Animal Care Team will be taking the same measures downstairs, cleaning and disinfecting all of our newly-spaced-out seating areas, restrooms, door handles, and other surfaces between each group.
Finally, all visitors and staff will be encouraged to wash their hands and/or sanitize immediately before entering the facility, getting in the water with the dolphins, and after touching any surfaces.
When it comes to increased cleaning, you're in good hands! If we can get rid of fish scales, we can get rid of any germs with these protocols.
Upon reopening, we will only have limited numbers of groups at the facility at any one time. Upon arrival, these groups will have their temperatures checked with a no-touch thermometer and anyone with a fever will not be allowed admittance into the facility. Additionally, each group will have a designated check-in time and will enter the water with the dolphins in the individual group they came in.
Markings in the gift shop will promote social distancing and our briefing hut/seating areas have been arranged to keep each group at-least 6 feet apart at all times.
If you would prefer to be completely socially distanced from any other group and have a private program, you can book our flagship program "Connect to Protect." This program is offered once daily in the morning.
All guests and staff will be required to wear a mask while on dry land. When entering the water for a dolphin interaction, each family/friend group will be separated from all other groups and will be able to take their masks off as a safety measure. Immediately upon exiting the water, guests will be asked to apply a facial covering again.
In addition to our increased sanitation and social distancing protocols, we have an open-air facility on our side as we continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. The majority of your visit to our facility will be spent outdoors in the South Florida sun!