Dive into Dolphin Fun
A tail slaps and water sprays over a row of on-lookers who hide behind
arms and bags (which, by the way, don't make good umbrellas). The culprit,
26-year-old Nani the bottlenose dolphin, skims across the water and
disappears in a splash. Where else could this happen but The National Aquarium in Baltimore in its new dolphin show, Coastal Connections: Dolphins at our Shores?
This new and improved performance of trainers and dolphins not only shows dolphin tricks but also explains how dolphins get along in the wild with -- and without -- humans. About 60 million Americans are neighbors to thousands of bottlenose dolphins along the Atlantic coastline. With a strong environmental message, lots of dolphin facts and the finned performers themselves spiraling through air and water, the program shows how everyone can be neighborly. One year went into the making of Dolphins at Our Shores, from planning and producing music, video and script to training dolphins.
How long does it take to teach a dolphin?
"Dolphins are like people," says trainer Jennifer Mead. "Some are faster learners than others." So practice -- everyday -- is a must. Tricks like peeking at the audience over the pool's edge can take as little as five minutes, while front flips take eight months or longer, she says.
Training doesn't just include somersaults, but also behaviors like holding up flipper or opening mouths that allow veterinarians to do dolphin check-ups.
Dolphins travel into Chesapeake Bay, probably while chasing their food. A dolphin was spotted as far as the Key Bridge in Baltimore, says Mead.
Six bottlenose dolphins live at the aquarium: Nani, Shiloh, Hailey, Chesapeake, Cobie and Shadow. You'll learn to recognize each by their dorsal fins. When you see the dolphins, remember to bring your rain slicker if you're daring enough to sit in the "Splash Zone"!
Grand Opening: March 13-14 in the Marine Mammal Pavilion
on Pratt St. Tickets: Adults $14; Seniors $10.50; Kids ages 3-11 $7.50;
under 3 free. Dolphin shows are scheduled daily and are included in regular
admission. Call for
How well do you know dolphins?
Over the next 12 weeks, we're celebrating the finned mammals starring in the National Aquarium's new show, Dolphins at Our Shores.
Read our weekly facts about dolphins, get to know them better and draw a dolphin at work or play. Send your drawing in to NBT and be eligible to win tickets to see the aquarium and its dolphin show!
Did You Know that dolphins have the same number of neck bones as you, except theirs are fused to stabilize their body for more streamlined swimming?
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Songs & Stories Fri. March 12 (10am)-Get into a fun hour of songs & stories with Charley Montroll. Barnes & Noble, Annapolis Harbour Center: 410/573-1115.
Jiggy Irish Jam rsvp for March 13 (6:30-10:30pm)-Kids ages 8-12 boogie down at Shamrock Jam, a special pre-teen St. Patrick's dance. Wear green, groove to DJ music, scarf refreshments & win prizes. Sponsored by Calvert County Parks & Rec. Mt. Hope Community Center, Sunderland. $6; rsvp: 410/257-6770.
Pool Party Sat. March 13 (10-10:30am)-Kids ages 2-3 learn about some animals that live in & around ponds. Play with puppets, hear a story, watch live animals & make a craft to bring home. Battle Creek Cypress Swamp, Port Republic. rsvp: 410/535-5327.
Salamander Search Sat. March 13 (1-4pm)-Kids ages 4+ learn how, when & where to find salamanders. Bring a parent. Watkins Nature Center, Upper Marlboro. $2; rsvp: 301/249-6202.
Wild Party Tues. March 16 (10am)-Bring along your favorite stuffed animal for the Zoo Party and read a few new stories, too. Barnes & Noble, Annapolis Harbour Center: 410/573-1115.
Research Raptors Tues. March 16 (1-2pm)-Kids ages 8+ find out the special features of birds of prey let them soar, dive, hover, pounce & catch dinner in flight. Patuxent Research Refuge North Tract, Rt. 198 btwn. BW Pkwy. & Rt. 32. Free; rsvp: 410/674-3304.
Toddlers Seize the Senate Wed. March 17 (9:30am)-Toddlers ages 2-5 tour the State House in Annapolis & pretend to be lawmakers, voting with electronic buttons on the senate floor. $4; parents & babies free; rsvp: 410/266-0677.
Preschoolers Storytime March 16 & 18 (10:30am)-Preschoolers find something to do with their mornings in Borders' Preschoolers Storytime. Carol tells Irish Tales March 16 & Lori Matsudaira, craft queen & author of Fun & Games: Year-Round Crafts & Activities for Children, leads a St. Patrick's Day craft workshop. Borders, Bowie: 301/352-5560.
Bond with Nature Fri. March 19 (10:30am & 1pm)-Kids ages 3-5 experience nature through a seasonal craft, nature story and garden walk. Tawes Garden, Tawes Bldg., Annapolis. Free; rsvp: 410/260-8189.
Hear a Story, Help Somebody Fri. March 19 (7-8pm)-Settle in at the First Book Story Hour to hear Ms. Evalyn read Jez Alborough's My Teddy and help the less fortunate at the same time. Money raised at the story hour benefits First Book, the national non-profit that puts books in the hands of needy kids. Barnes & Noble, Annapolis Harbour Center: 410/573-1115.
Bodacious Birds Sat. March 20 (11-noon)-Kids ages 4-6 see just what makes birds unique and find out how to help them. Patuxent Research Refuge North Tract, Rt. 198 btwn. BW Pkwy. & Rt. 32. Free; rsvp: 410/674-3304.
Stump Puppetry Sat. March 20 (1-1:30pm)-Kids ages 3-8 learn about nature by watching a performance of the Tree Stump Puppet Theatre. Bring a parent. Watkins Nature Center, Upper Marlboro. $2; rsvp: 301/249-6202.
Experience the Poland of Old March 21, April 18 & May 2 (1-4pm)-Check out a huge display of Polish art and artifacts in Walters Art Gallery's new exhibit, Land of the Winged Horsemen: Art in Poland, 1572-1764. Kids get to explore heraldry and tapestry design in special activities on the Renaissance Court. More fun is listed in Good Bay Times. WAG, 600 North Charles St., Baltimore. $4 ages 6-17; $10 adults; kids under age 6 free; group discounts: 410/547-9000.