SeaWorld Orlando introduced a new killer-whale show to theme park guests this week. “Orca Encounter” retains crowd favorites such as the dramatic leaps into the air and soak zones, but there is a more straightforward learn-about-whales format than was seen in “One Ocean,” the show that completed its run Dec. 31.
This is not to say that SeaWorld has re-invented the Shamu Show, more like repackaged it. The maneuvers by the park’s whale family are still, well, splashy, and the trainers’ spiels tie what they can do in front of crowds with what they might also do in the wild. The educational element extends to the care and feeding the animals get at SeaWorld.
For instance, two killer whales pull themselves onto the flat space near the crowd and flip over on their backs, presenting a flipper and the veins used to draw blood.
This position also “allows us to get a great look at their entire bodies and give them a nice big rubdown,” a trainer told the audience Thursday. “The killer whales have very sensitive skin, so this is just another way we can build our relationship with the animals,” she said.