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SeaWorld's animal ambassadors were a big hit at the 2014 Boston Globe Travel Show

SeaWorld's animal ambassadors were a big hit at the 2014 Boston Globe Travel Show

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Nancy and I drove down to Massachusetts yesterday to tour the 2014 Boston Globe Travel Show. And it was pretty easy to see most people from around here have already had their fill of ice & snow. Given that there were absolutely no takers at the Alaska Land & Cruise Adventures booth ...


Photo by Jim Hill

Meanwhile, right next door in the Florida aisle, it was body-to-body.


Photo by Jim Hill

Given the steady stream of people that kept going in & out of the Universal Orlando Resort booth, there are clearly a lot of folks out there who are excited about USF's soon-to-be-opening new "land," The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley.


Photo by Jim Hill

Though -- to be blunt -- given there were signs up all over this part of the Boston Globe 2014 Travel Show reminding event attendees how nice the weather is down in the Sunshine State this time of year ...


Photo by Jim Hill

... there wasn't a Florida-related booth at the Seaport World Trade Center Boston yesterday that didn't have a mob of people standing around it, frantically snatching up brochures. As I recall, the Legoland Florida table drew quite the crowd. Though that may have just because of all thosee cool Lego animals that they had on display. Which included a ... SQUIRREL!


Photo by Jim Hill

And speaking of animals ... Nancy & I spent a lot of time at the SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment booth yesterday.


Photo by Jim Hill

Largely because of all the animal ambassadors that they'd flown out from San Diego to entertain & inform us hardy New Englanders. We got to see extremely cool-looking  creatures like a Bearded Dragon ...


Photo by Nancy Stadler

... a blue-tongued Skink ...


Photo by Nancy Stadler

... as well as an African Bullfrog.


Photo by Nancy Stadler

Just so you know: African Bullfrogs are the largest frogs in Southern Africa, with some of them reaching dinner-plate size in the wild. This is largely because African bullfrogs -- during the 10 months that they're not underground hibernating -- are carnivores. They will literally eat anything that walks in front of its over-sized mouths. These items include birds, other amphibians, and small rodents such as ... SQUIRREL!


Photo by Nancy Stadler

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment also brought a number of birds out to Boston. These included a diminutive Screech-Owl ...


Photo by Nancy Stadler

... a Tawny Frogmouth ...


Photo by Nancy Stadler

... a Harris's Hawk ...


Photo by Nancy Stadler

... as well as a Peregrine Falcon.


Julie Scardina -- Animal Ambassador for the SeaWorld, Busch Gardens
& Discovery Cove zoological parks -- and a peregrine falcon.
Photo by Jim Hill

Which -- FYI -- was historically known as the Duck Hawk in North America. And -- when in the wild -- feed almost exclusively on medium-sized birds such as pigeons. However, when pickings are slim, the Peregrine Falcon will also hunt small mammals such as mice, voles, rats, shrews and ... SQUIRREL!


Photo by Nancy Stadler

I'm sorry. I promise that I won't do that joke anymore.

Mind you, the other reason that Julie Scardina  (i.e., the Animal Ambassador for SeaWorld, Busch Gardens and Discovery Cove, zoological parks) brought this Peregrine Falcon out onstage was because she wanted to remind folks that Busch Gardens Tampa will soon be opening a brand-new thrill ride, Falcon's Fury.


Copyright SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment.  All rights reserved

This one-of-a-kind drop tower really has to be seen to be believed. It looms over the Timbuktu (soon to be re-imagined as Pantopia) section of this theme park. Though -- to be honest - this 335 feet-tall structure can be seen from virtually every part of Busch Gardens Tampa and from many points in & around Tampa itself.

So what does Falcon's Fury do? Given that the falcon is the fastest animal on Earth and that no other bird has ever matched the speed of this species of raptor as it begins its hunting dive ... Well, the folks who are in charge of developing new rides, shows and attractions for SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment thought it might be fun to give BGT visitors a sense of what it must be like to actually be a falcon.


Copyright SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment.
All rights reserved

So picture this: You're hauled up the very top of the Falcon's Fury drop tower. You're about to experience what it's like to zoom back down to earth at 60 MPH. But just before this thrill ride's drop sequence begins, your seat pivots 90 degrees so that you're now in a face-down position. You're literally looking straight down and will soon be experiencing 3.5 Gs.

If you asked me, you'd have to be a little SQUIRREL! ...


Photo by Nancy Stadler

... ly to get on a ride like that. To my way of thinking, what's going on at SeaWorld San Diego sounds far more enjoyable. That's where they're re-imagining the entrance of this 50 year-old theme park. Trying to take Guests on a metaphorical journey from the surface of the sea all the way down to the ocean floor.


Copyright SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment. All rights reserved

Mind you, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment has a "Sea of Surprises" cooked up for its 50th anniversary. Included a brand-new killer whale show which will debut in San Diego in March, bow at San Antonio in April and then have its Orlando premiere in June. But you didn't hear that from me.


Copyright SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment. All rights reserved

So if you're planning on catching any of these new killer whale shows, you should probably start SQUIRREL!


Photo by Nancy Stadler

... ing away some dough (Seriously. That's the last time that I'll make that joke ... in today's article).

Okay. That's enough about the 2014 edition of the Boston Globe Travel Show. As much as I enjoyed meeting a really-for-real sled dog ...


Photo by Jim Hill

... watching  a salsa dancing demo in the Puerto Rico booth ...


Photo by Jim Hill

... as well as chatting with that Red Sox player who walked around on stilts while he  played a ukulele.


Photo by Jim Hill

It's now time to return to frosty-freezy New Hampshire. So if you'll excuse me, I need to swig by the Aruba booth ...


Photo by Jim Hill          

... and pick up an ice scraper. Which I can then use to remove all of  the snow & slush that's accumulated on our windshield since Nancy & I first parked our car and entered the Seaport World Trade Center Boston.

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  • Interesting story, SQUIRREL! - I mean, Jim! :)  I was at the Long Beach Travel and Adventure Show over the weekend, and the theme park representation was decidedly more low-key; Legoland California was there promoting their new hotel opening in May, and the San Diego Zoo (sorry, the World Famous San Diego Zoo <TM>) and San Diego Zoo Safari Park had an exhibit featuring a virtual zebra that interacted with the kids in the crowd. Other than that, there wasn't much participation from the various theme parks and resorts.

    It surprises the heck out of me that the big theme park operators - especially Disney - don't have more of a presence at these shows. Aside from one booth that had brochures for DCL and Aulani, there was hardly anything from them, and there was nothing from Universal at the show - and that's about par for the course for travel shows in this area. Maybe Disney feels it isn't worth the expense to participate, but with the variety of travel products they offer - the theme parks, DCL, ABD, even Aulani and DVC - it strikes me as penny-wise and extremely pound-foolish.

  • So the new  whale show coming to SeaWorld. i heard about the new night show coming thats replacing Shamu Rocks is this the same show you are talknig about or is this a different show thats coming in June?

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