SeaWorld Rose Bowl Parade Float, Christmas Celebration, and Manatee Rescues

Recently, SeaWorld announced a “Sea of Surprises” float would appear in New York City’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (click here for the announcement and concept drawing).  Well, that wasn’t the only parade SeaWorld set its sights on – yesterday, they revealed concept drawings for a “Sea of Surprises” float coming to Pasadena, California’s 125th Rose Bowl Parade held on New Year’s Day.  In 2014, SeaWorld will celebrate its 50th Anniversary with a “Sea of Surprises” at all three theme parks that will include new experiences and shows, more up-close animal encounters throughout the parks and the SeaWorld “Surprise Squad” treating park guests with prizes and special experiences every day.  Continue reading for more details of the float as well as information about SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration and photos of recent manatee rescues and rehabilitations.

SeaWorld Float Rose Parade

Sea Life Inspires Festive Tribute in 125th Tournament of Roses

“Sea of Surprises” will be the theme of the SeaWorld’s float in the 125th Rose Parade presented by Honda on Jan. 1, 2014 in Pasadena, CA. The marine park’s most popular animals—including killer whales, penguins, dolphins and sea turtles—will be depicted on the float, designed to highlight the fun, inspiration and surprises that guests will find at the park during SeaWorld’s 50th Celebration kicking off next year.

Built by Fiesta Parade Floats and designed by Stanley A. Meyer Design LLC, the SeaWorld float features a little boy, wide-eyed with wonder, who dives beneath a swirling, cresting wave.  The 55-foot floral foaming wave contains more than 20,000 cascading iris and roses and “crash” over a colorful reef, designed with more than 15,000 fluorescent orange roses.  The bright, whimsical coral reef teems with marine animals including starfish, sea horses, turtles, manta rays, crabs and fanciful fish.  Through his ocean exploration, the boy’s fantasy comes to life, in perfect fitting with the Rose Parade’s theme this year, “Dreams Come True.”

“We could not be more excited to have the opportunity to be a part of SeaWorld’s 50th celebration, and what better way to celebrate than on the world’s largest New Year’s Day stage,” said Tim Estes, president of Fiesta Parade Floats.  “An absolutely perfect complement to the theme, “Dreams Come True,” the “Sea of Surprises” float melds the power of connecting to the natural world with the inspiration, fun, and imagination that millions experience when visiting SeaWorld parks.”

Christmas Celebration – Where the Season Meets the Sea

SeaWorld Christmas Celebration

Waves of holiday spirit splash over the park during SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration.  Here in a wintery, watery wonderland, guests of all ages will enjoy loads of frosty fun as they watch stunning live shows inspired by the natural world, journey to the North Pole on THE POLAR EXPRESS Experience, then share a smile with a playful penguin at the South Pole while visiting the park’s newest attraction, Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin.  Christmas carols can be heard as guests encounter a sparkling Sea Of Trees and skaters dancing on ice.  With everything from Santa to Shamu, presents to penguins, and elves to Elmo, SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration is where the season meets the sea. Events take place on select dates November 23 through December 31, 2013 and are included with park admission or annual pass.

New to This Year’s Celebration:

  • The holidays have arrived, and everybody’s Sesame Street friends have come to SeaWorld Orlando for a festive and fun musical celebration called Elmo’s Christmas Wish.  Join Rosita, Grover, Zoe and Cookie Monster as they work together to help Elmo find his Christmas wish.

SeaWorld Orlando's Christmas performance of Oh Wondrous Night
SeaWorld’s holiday-themed shows and festivities:

  • Shamu Christmas Miracles – seasonal music rings out as whales soar through the air in a performance that will take the audience on a stirring voyage into the heart of the holidays.
  • O Wondrous Night tells the greatest story never told, with more than 30 carols, based upon The Christmas Story and told through the eyes of a variety of live animals.
  • Winter Wonderland on Ice is an ice skating extravaganza where Christmas comes to life on a stage of ice, jewels and light.
  • Clyde and Seamore’s Countdown to Christmas features Santa’s helpers, Clyde and Seamore, along with a few mischievous otters, a comical elf, and a wintery walrus or two, who bring their own brand of comedy to Christmas this year.
  • SeaWorld celebrates the season during Holiday Reflections: Fireworks and Fountains Finale, featuring soaring fountains, dazzling lights, and festive fireworks, choreographed to joyous holiday musical favorites.
  • At the Wild Arctic attraction, guests embark on a wondrous journey to the North Pole aboard THE POLAR EXPRESS Experience.

SeaWorld Orlando's Sea of Trees Christmas show

In addition to the incredible seasonal shows and attractions, the amazing Sea Of Trees includes more than 100 massive trees, each sparkling, lighted and choreographed to classic holiday tunes, making a dramatic display around SeaWorld’s center lake.  Guests can enjoy this amazing light show at various times throughout the night beginning at 6 p.m.

Also included in SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration is The Christmas Market, featuring holiday gifts and food, such as hot chocolate, s ‘mores and freshly-made donuts.  And families can dine with Santa and Mrs. Claus during Santa’s Fireside Feast, an all-you-care-to-eat menu of holiday favorites and desserts that takes place weekends of SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration and provides an exclusive time to meet Santa. Reservations are required, and include a complimentary family photo.

Manatees Rescued, Transferred, and Rehabilitated

The SeaWorld Animal Rescue has been celled into action a number of times in early October rescuing a manatee calf from Cape Canaveral (Oct. 15), an adult male manatee from Jacksonville (Oct. 10), and partnering with five other institutions to move five manatees in three days.

An orphaned manatee calf was rescued from the beaches of Cape Canaveral Air Base by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and transported to SeaWorld Orlando.  The estimated two-month-old 90 pound male was spotted on the beach by turtle nesting surveyors near a turtle mound.  SeaWorld placed the calf with three other orphans, who are also receiving rehabilitative care at the park. Manatee calves normally nurse for one to two years.  They depend on their mothers not only for nutrition, but also for learning about feeding and resting areas.  SeaWorld Orlando uses a special formula created by the park’s animal care team specifically for manatee calves to ensure they are receiving proper nutrition

SeaWorld Baby Manatee

SeaWorld Orlando is also caring for an adult male manatee rescued by the FWC on Oct. 10 just south of Jacksonville, FL.  The animal was spotted floating unusually high in the water and is believed to be suffering from boat strike injuries, among other ailments.  The SeaWorld Animal Rescue Team completed a full health assessment, fitted the nearly 10 foot long manatee with a wet suit — to assist in correcting buoyancy issues and help with surface breathing — and began providing regular tube feedings.

SeaWorld Manatee Wetsuit

A PIT tag allowed the SeaWorld Animal Rescue Team to identify this animal and learned that he had been rescued once before after becoming stranded near the Matanzas River in St. Johns County, FL.  This manatee and six others were assisted back to the water after getting stuck in a muddy oyster bed in April 2002.  PIT tags are small satellite transmitters the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service uses to identify and track individual animals in the wild.

Three Rehabilitated Mantaees Head South from Ohio to Florida

One rehabilitated manatee from the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden and two from the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium have returned to Florida.  The moves, which occurred October 11 thru October 13, are part of both zoos’ participation in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation Program.

Abigail prepares for transport to Miami SeaAquarium

With the help of DHL, the world’s leading logistics provider, the “Sea Cow Shuffle” began on Friday, October 11, when “Woodstock” (Cincinnati) and “Pixie” and “Wheezy” (Columbus) were driven to the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport to board a DHL flight to Florida accompanied by an animal care specialist and veterinarian from the zoos.  The animals will remain under the care of manatee experts at Miami Seaquarium, SeaWorld Orlando and Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, until winter when they will potentially be released near the areas where they were originally rescued.

Abigail prepares for transport to Miami SeaAquarium

At each airport, the manatee crates were placed in an open-top cargo crate that was locked into the cargo hold.  The manatees were kept as far away from engine noise as possible while waiting to be loaded and their crates were loaded last, so that they could be unloaded first after arriving at their destination.

“DHL is especially pleased to be part of this important manatee transfer and rehabilitation project,” said Joe Collopy, regional sales manager at the DHL Express Americas hub in Cincinnati.  “DHL Express has many years of experience, successfully moving live animals around the world all in part to contribute to the zoos’ important work in protecting endangered species.”

Abigail prepares for transport to Miami SeaAquarium

Woodstock and her mother were victims of cold stress when they were rescued near the southwest coast of Florida on January 7, 2011.  Woodstock was orphaned and taken to Miami Seaquarium when her mother did not survive.  She weighed 420 pounds when she was rescued and was roughly 938 pounds when she arrived in Cincinnati in January 2013.   Pixie was the smallest manatee to ever come to the Columbus Zoo for rehabilitation.   She was rescued on July 24, 2010 after being spotted alone in shallow water near Daytona.  She was estimated to be just a few weeks old and only 42 pounds when she was taken to SeaWorld Orlando, where she was hand reared by SeaWorld Orlando’s animal care team and cared for at the park’s rescue and rehabilitation center for more than a year before being transferred to the Columbus Zoo.  Pixie is now 673 pounds.  Wheezy was suffering from the effects of cold stress when she was rescued on January 15, 2011.  She was one of three manatees rescued from the Desoto Canal in Satellite Beach that winter.  When she arrived at the Columbus Zoo along with Pixie in November 2011, she weighed approximately 505 pounds; she now weighs 853 pounds.

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About Dave Parfitt

Married, father of two girls, and living in the heart of the Finger Lakes. I'm a runner with a PhD in neuroscience and a passion for travel.