As they observe the vibrant exhibits of aquatic life inside the Miami Seaquarium, many guests don't realize that they are walking through a movie set and a hospital. In the onsite lagoon, bottlenose dolphins swim through waters once traversed by Flipper, who filmed several television episodes and films at the venue. The Seaquarium is also recognized as a manatee critical care facility. Its staff has accomplished several historic treatments, including monitoring the conception and arrival of the first manatee born under human care and conducting the first manatee neurological surgery.
These facets of the Seaquarium—along with its many conservation efforts, educational programs, and shows—underscore a united commitment to wildlife consciousness. The animal attractions enable visitors to witness the allure and fragility of oceanic fauna up close, whether they are petting the back of a stingray or washing a dress shirt on the rough back of an 8-foot nile crocodile. Special encounters decrease the distance even further, sending patrons on underwater Sea Treks through the reef display or helping them to lead marine-mammal training routines.
It's hard to pinpoint the biggest personality inside the Seaquarium tanks, but Lolita the killer whale—who performs daily alongside pacific white-sided dolphins—claims the title of heaviest, period. On the other end of the scale, macaws and cockatiels perch around the Tropical Wings section of the park, and endangered sea turtles lounge at Discovery Bay. Elsewhere, a watery playground and three-story ropes course keep legs from growing too wobbly after a trip to Shark Channel or a smooch from a sea lion.
Since 1971, the experts at Neighborhood Fish Farm have supplied aquariums with freshwater fish that they've bred and raised right on the premises. Instead of exhibiting their impressive selection in an unnaturally dim room lined with tiny tanks, the staff keep their fish in enormous concrete ponds in the open air. More than 100 breeds of tropical fish?of sizes appropriate for all aquariums and ponds?thrive inside these tanks, including gouramis, cichlids, and even bottom-feeding catfish, which keep tanks clean by consuming waste, while Koi and goldfish are available for water gardens and ponds. And when customers have questions, the knowledgeable staff stand at the ready to cover topics ranging from fish compatibility to the best plants for the tank.