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What makes a great dolphin exhibit and what zoos/aquariums have them?

 
 
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  #1
What makes a great dolphin exhibit and what zoos/aquariums have them?
Old 28-02-2012

I was looking at pictures of the Shedd Aquarium in the gallery, in particular the white-sided dolphin and beluga exhibits.

It may me wonder what the best dolphin exhibits in the zoo and aquarium world are. So where are the best dolphin exhibits and what makes them great? Are size and depth of the tanks the primary considerations?

I was thinking about West Coast U.S. dolphin exhibits and realizing that there are none in AZA aquariums or zoos now that the beluga exhibit at Point Defiance has closed down. Sea World and Six Flags Discovery Kingdom have dolphins and orcas, but these are primarily theme parks.

I know that Georgia Aquarium is (has?) building (built?) a bottlenosed dolphin exhibit. Are any other zoos or aquariums contemplating dolphin exhibits, or are we in an era where it is unlikely that any more of these exhibits will be built given their expense and political controversy?
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  #2
Old 02-03-2012

I believe the extent of non-theme park dolphin and whale exhibits in the US is:
Shedd Aquarium
National Aquarium, Baltimore
Georgia Aquarium
Minnesota Zoo
Indianapolis Zoo
Brookfield Zoo
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  #3
Old 02-03-2012

I think any dolphin exhibit that isn't oddly themed is deemed an acceptable exhibit. Indoor facilities that provide plenty of room, a number of pools, plenty of light, and an open amphitheater are some of the best exhibits. I really think Shedd's Oceanarium is one of the best indoor dolphin exhibits in the country.

From the pictures I have seen in the Georgia Aquarium gallery, I am really disappointed in the new dolphin exhibit and would rank it as one of the poorest indoor dolphin exhibit. The exhibit is very dark (but maybe that's not always the case?), the mock rock is horrible, and the crescent, wave think in the performance pool reminds me of a cheap knock off a Sea World show.
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  #4
Old 03-03-2012

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Originally Posted by geomorph View Post
I believe the extent of non-theme park dolphin and whale exhibits in the US is:
Shedd Aquarium
National Aquarium, Baltimore
Georgia Aquarium
Minnesota Zoo
Indianapolis Zoo
Brookfield Zoo
In the past 5 years I have visited all 6 of these attractions (but my Georgia visit was before the dolphins arrived) and in terms of visitor appeal the Dolphin Dome at Indianapolis Zoo is outstanding. However, I would personally put a lot of weight into the depth and size of a tank to determine its quality, and I'm not sure that any of the above are truly brilliant. My instinct would say that Shedd Aquarium is the best of the bunch, as the all-indoor Oceanarium is excellent in terms of size and aesthetics.
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  #5
Old 06-03-2012

Just something small to add, I prefer exhibits with a more natural shape/curvature to their tanks. Sea World Gold Coast is an AMAZING exhibit. It replicates the dolphin's natural habitat superbly.
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  #6
Old 06-03-2012

In addition, Mystic has a good Beluga Whale exhibit. It is one of the largest outdoor Beluga exhibits in the nation.
Beluga Enclosure
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  #7
Old 12-03-2012

From what I have seen online (never been there), dolfinarium harderwijk in the Netherlands (if you're including Europe in this) is worth a look. Their non-show dolphin exhibit seems to be quite interesting.
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  #8
Old 12-03-2012

I actually prefer the idea of non show exhibits.
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  #9
Old 13-03-2012

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Originally Posted by sealion View Post
From what I have seen online (never been there), dolfinarium harderwijk in the Netherlands (if you're including Europe in this) is worth a look. Their non-show dolphin exhibit seems to be quite interesting.
Well I can think of no place better to have a drink and something to eat,whilst watching Dolphins and Walrus swimming under water!
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  #10
Old 13-03-2012

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Originally Posted by zoogiraffe View Post
Well I can think of no place better to have a drink and something to eat,whilst watching Dolphins and Walrus swimming under water!
mmmmmmm defiantly agree to that. Even watching sharks swimming makes me happy. ive never had the pleasure of watching dolphins or walrus.
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  #11
Old 28-05-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by geomorph View Post
I believe the extent of non-theme park dolphin and whale exhibits in the US is:
Shedd Aquarium
National Aquarium, Baltimore
Georgia Aquarium
Minnesota Zoo
Indianapolis Zoo
Brookfield Zoo
Since this list was compiled Minnesota Zoo announced that it would no longer maintain dolphins in its collection, and the National Aquarium ended its dolphin shows. Author of "America's Best Zoos" Allen Nyhuis was just in Baltimore a couple of days ago and he was extremely disappointed to simply be looking at the swimming dolphins rather than witnessing a show. Now visitors can see the dolphins at any time and training sessions are able to be watched but there is not a designated show time whatsoever.
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  #12
Old 28-05-2012

I've only seen captive dolphins twice and both times it was at Sea World on the Gold Coast. I realise that it's in a theme park but I really liked the exhibits. There are a number of lagoons that are all viewed from above but each one of them is really big and really clear so viewing is easy and dolphins aren't known for sitting still in a corner so they do put on a good show. Even the show pool is a massive lagoon with seating around it.
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  #13
Old 29-05-2012

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Originally Posted by snowleopard View Post
Since this list was compiled Minnesota Zoo announced that it would no longer maintain dolphins in its collection, and the National Aquarium ended its dolphin shows. Author of "America's Best Zoos" Allen Nyhuis was just in Baltimore a couple of days ago and he was extremely disappointed to simply be looking at the swimming dolphins rather than witnessing a show. Now visitors can see the dolphins at any time and training sessions are able to be watched but there is not a designated show time whatsoever.
The National Aquarium ending its dolphin shows were in response to two problems. First, on peak summer days only about 50% of the visitors were able to see the dolphin show. Second, dolphin show times forced people to leave the one way traffic pattern of the aquarium building to get to the show which caused headaches for both staff trying to direct people and visitors trying to find their way. Now, the next exhibit named Dolphin Discovery allows guests to come and go as they please from the amphitheater. At scheduled times, trainers will do a "behind the scenes" look at how and why dolphins are trained, certain dolphin behaviors, and the care these animals need. Overall, the atmosphere is much more relaxed, especially for the dolphins and it allows visitors to interact more with the dolphins and staff. It really is a nice experience and doesn't have any of that corny crap associated with dolphin shows. Now, its more practical, educational, and scientific.
This new exhibit is part of the National Aquarium's effort to engage more people with the amazing animals at the aquarium. With over 40 presentations and feedings a day, the new experience will hopefully engage the thousands of guests which visit the Aquarium.
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  #14
Old 31-05-2012

The Harderwijk dolphin lagoon is easily the best dolphin exhibit ive seen[tho it could be deeper].As for shows..well actually i dont really like them[a bit too circus for me] and i really dislike those exhibits where showtime is the only way of observing these creatures.
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  #15
Old 02-06-2012

I was at the National Aquarium last summer during the time they did not have their dolphin shows. I did enjoy anyone being able to go into the amphitheater and look at the dolphins with their trainers. You could still see them do behaviors and it brought me so much joy to see how excited my niece got when she saw a dolphin jump out of the water.
 


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