Tag Archives: sea world san antonio

Podcast on Jack Hanna and a chance for your kid to become a World Wildlife Journalist

Meeting Jack Hanna

In the last post I wrote about “Jungle” Jack Hanna interacting with kids from our “Wild Wishes” program at Sea World San Antonio.

In this week’s mini-podcast I give you some behind the scenes details on the event and its impact on the kids-and me.

If you’re a fan of his you won’t want to miss. Click the player below to listen.

While on the subject of kids…

Do you have an animal-loving child between the ages of eight and 18?

What would you say if I told you they can be part of a powerful wildlife conservation group that helps endangered wildlife around the world?

And what if  told you it was free?

World Wildlife Journalists™ is an outreach for school-aged children that allows them to take part in helping threatened wildlife and learning media skills to do it. It’s all positive with no drama and no politics. Your child will never be part of ugly, heated debates over wildlife political issues like you see on cable television.

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They will however be part of a forward thinking outreach on behalf of the most incredible animals on the planet.

By simply signing up your child can become part of an important movement of youth involvement in conservation, take part in monthly online events and earn special prizes.

Here are the benefits:

*Special Membership Card

*World Wildlife Journalists™ Decal

*Monthly drawings & competitions featuring wildlife-related prizes

*Special Facebook page for parents and supervised children to participate in seminars, instructive clinics and conservation challenges.

*Monthly conservation challenges inspiring your child to use different media skills (writing, photography, video and art) to help raise awareness to wildlife issues.

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Click here and fill out the form at the bottom of the page so your child can become one of the World Wildlife Journalists™ and make a positive impact on endangered wildlife.

Chester Moore, Jr.

Sea World, Jack Hanna Make “Wild Wishes” Come True

Dream Come True

Sea World San Antonio—The kids were a bit starstruck. Actually I think the adult chaperones were as well.

As “Jungle” Jack Hanna, iconic television wildlife host and conservationist walked into the Nautilus Amphitheater, he greeted his fans warmly.

“I’m so glad to see you here. Thank you for coming to Sea World today,” Hanna said.

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The kids were part of the Wild Wishes program operated by our Kingdom Zoo Wildlife Center®. Wild Wishes grants exotic animal encounters to children who have a terminal illness or have lost a parent or a sibling.

The kids that came along were either recipients of a wish or young people who have been trained to help grant wishes for other children.

Inspiring Wild Wish Kid

Facilitated by Sea World San Antonio this special, private experience was a dream come true for 10-year-old wish kid Jaxon who told Hanna he wants to host his own wildlife television program one day.

“So you want to do wildlife TV?” Hanna asked.

“That would be cool sir,” Jaxon replied as his hero patted him on the back.

Having watched Hanna many times on syndicated television, Jaxon has visions of traveling the world and encountering the animals of his dreams.

Fourteen-year-old Lauren who has helped by chaperoning and showing animals to more than two dozens kids at wish events over the last four years was excited to hear Hanna tell them how to be better ambassadors for wildlife.

“Allowing kids to safely see wildlife in an amazing park like this or a modern zoo or at a facility like yours is important. You have to touch the heart to move the mind and I know you all will be great at that,” he said.

The kids were allowed to hold a baby red kangaroo in a pouch and get an up close look at a Geoffrey’s cat, a gorgeous and tiny spotted feline from South America.

After watching Hanna’s fun and highly educational program that included a beautiful cheetah, the kids were fired up about wildlife conservation and helping other kids that come into the wish program know they can help wildlife as well.

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One of the wish kids, Madison Belden, is fighting cystic fibrosis but she is partnering with us to use her art to raise awareness to endangered species and raise funds to help various projects.

“Mr. Chester, I bet we can get more of these wish kids to do things like Madison is doing. It would be great to have kids who are facing challenges know they can be a part of helping wildlife that is also facing great challenges,” she said.

Those are wise words from an eighth grader and came after inspiration from one of the world’s top voices for wildlife in a park that has saved untold numbers of endangered sea turtles on the Texas coast.

Most recently they took in a baby endangered Cook’s Inlet beluga whale that was abandoned in the wild.

Wild Wishes came true because people cared for kids who care for wildlife.

It was a beautiful thing to see and it inspired us all to be better stewards of what the Lord put on this planet.

To support or learn more about the Wild Wishes program click here.

Chester Moore, Jr.

Encountering Sea Lions

SEA WORLD SAN ANTONIO—Have you ever seen a sea lion smile, heard them “talk” or saw them flipping through the air? 

Well I did and it was inspiring.

These peppy pinnipeds were amazing during a brief visit with them at Sea World San Antonio. The sea lion trainers were equally amazing but somehow fell short of the actual sea lions.

After all, the sea lions are the stars, right?.

A sea lion’s contagious smile will make everyone else respond with a grin or maybe a laugh depending on what trick they are doing at the moment.

“Digit” and “Leon” are two sea lions with the Discovery Point interactive program at SeaWorld San Antonio.

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When you interact with sea lions you are up close and personal with them. The warm and gracious sea lion trainer Catherine Brown guided us through the encounter and let us know Digit has a bit more manners than the silly Leon.

Each person that goes through the interactive program will be shown simple hand gestures the trainers use with the animals. Each gesture will result in a different behavior such as smiling, waving and various water tricks.

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During the interaction the trainers reward each behavior with love, attention and of course fresh fish.

It was amazing to watch each animal respond to the attention of the trainers. The love and attention given to each animal was just as important to them as the fish. Although they never turned down the fish.

Ms Brown also discussed the anatomy of the sea lion, showing us their fur, fins, teeth, and vibrissae, which resemble whiskers. Each body part of the sea lion was created for a unique and special purpose in sea lions.

Their “whiskers” allow sea lions to feel vibrations in water which is used for hunting fish for their meals in the wild. In Seaworld these “whiskers” help them balance balls for guests.

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It was incredible to learn all of the different parts and their purpose for survival in the wild. Ms Brown also shared stories of rescuing wild, baby sea lions and releasing them when they were able to survive on their own.

Seaworld trainers are more than just entertainment and caretakers of the resident animals. Each of them are involved in species survival and rescue programs around the world.

As the encounter ended, we waved goodbye to the fun-loving creatures and I left a bit of my heart with them and I took away memories for a lifetime of love for the species, especially Digit and Leon.

If you would like to visit these remarkable animals and many more visit SeaWorld San Antonio and to register for an encounter with sea lions or other animals go to  www.seaworldparks.com.

At “The Wildlife Journalist” we believe encounters with animals like this and ecotourism are crucial for creating an interest in wildlife conservation. With at least two generations completely hooked on electronic devices it might take jumping into cool water and getting roared at by a sea lion to let them know there is more to life than what appears on a screen.

And maybe, just maybe such an encounter will create in them a love and determination to help our world’s wonderful marine mammals.

Lisa Moore