Has your child ever come face-to-face with a 400lb Atlantic bottle-nose dolphin princess? How about hi-five a 475lb sea lion? If they’ve participated in one of Dolphin Encounters’ summer camps, chances are they have. Each year Dolphin Encounters’ Seaventure Camp attracts hundreds of children throughout the Bahamas. All programs are designed to help children discover the many secrets of our marine mammals and our delicate ecosystem. For four weeks, campers are immersed in behind-the-scenes action, learning how to feed and care for a dolphin, witnessing specialized training techniques and studying the all-natural environment in which these mammals live. Campers also get an insider’s look at our world-class facility, and a chance to participate in exciting programs in a safe, clean environment.
“You can’t find a better classroom or teachers. What better way to educate our kids on our marine life than by placing them right in the middle of our dolphins’ home,” said Annette Dempsey, Assistant Director of Marine Mammals.
“They’re spending time with some of the leading marine life professionals in the country, and parents feel good knowing that their kids are in expert hands and are safe during the summer months.”
Over the years, Dolphin Encounters has played host to over hundreds of campers and the numbers keep growing.
“Our camp programs have really become a phenomenon unto itself. You have kids who count the days until we start our summer camps; they just can’t wait, and once you’ve seen all that we have to offer, you understand why they get so excited, “said Ms. Dempsey.
Five-year-old camper Bianca Smith says she chose to do the Dolphin Encounter summer program because she heard it was “very good.”
“I know other kids who did the camp and they had a lot of fun. I’ve learned so much already. I learned about echolocation and why sea lions have whiskers, and why we should conserve – it’s all very interesting stuff,” she said.
Albury Higgs, an eight-year-old student from St. Andrew’s School agrees. The tiny camper said it was Dolphin Encounters’ program and sea lions that made her decision easier. She shared what she has learned so far.
“Like Bianca, I also learned about echolocation and why it’s important to be nice to animals and not litter because it hurts our animals and we need to protect them,” she said.
Dolphin Encounters offers several camp programs that focus on marine life and the environment. In Flippers, Flukes and Blowholes camp, kids learn about Dolphin Encounters’ special marine mammals and focus on exciting activities that teach them about their friendly ocean friends. In Under Da’ Sea, kids discover some of the unique traits that make each ocean animal so special. Creature Feature, lets children discover a new animal every day and they learn to play and act out how the animals live.Marine Mammal Mania is filled with new animals and cool activities, including meeting a dolphin. InAqua Explorers, campers take an amazing close look at the creatures that make their home in the world’s coral reefs. Children get face-to-face with ocean friends while snorkeling in the lagoon.
What do lobsters, jellyfish and starfish all have in common? They have no bones. In the No Bones About It program, kids explore the world of these spineless creatures on the rocky shores and on an exciting snorkeling exploration.
In Habitat Adventure, children unearth a new habitat and witness the animals that live there. As a special treat, kids go on a wild creature safari in search of the cool inhabitants of Blue Lagoon Island. A camp favorite is the Walk on the Wild Side program which allows participants to take part in a wild week of adventure while meeting some special friends – the atlantic bottle-nose dolphin and the lovable california sea lion. They also investigate the extraordinary adaptations of whales, dolphins, seals and manatees. Cetacean Sensation lets campers take a closer look at cetaceans by witnessing first hand how they dive and communicate. They also find out what makes them different from other ocean animals.
“There’s really no comparison when it comes to our summer camp program. We’re creating ambassadors for the environment, and this is where it starts,” said Ranaldo Smith, Educational Assistant at Dolphin Encounters. “We want them to learn responsibilities and have a greater respect for our environment and to teach them unique conservation practices. They’re learning from the best in the best environment, and the feedback and success of the programs really speak for themselves. The kids love the chance to try out new things and we encourage that. We find that it breaks up the boredom, fosters additional learning and gives the children insight into different aspects of marine life.”
Dolphin Encounters’ summer camp engages youth through service, education, and training. Programs combine experiential learning and environmental stewardship.
Seaventure Camps are all inclusive. Camp fees include activities, round-trip sea transportation by ferry to and from the Paradise Island Ferry Terminal, meals, snacks, supplies, equipment, and a camp T-shirt. Weekly camps run Mondays to Fridays from 8:30am to 4:30pm.
DE – Project B.E.A.C.H, a non-profit element of the Dolphin Encounters facility located on Blue Lagoon Island, was developed to provide unique opportunities to Bahamian students and teachers for marine education and appreciation. Their education programs provide unique opportunities for marine education. Visit www.dolphinencounters.com for more information and camp registration. Registration can also be done over the phone and application forms are available at the ticket booth at the Paradise Island Ferry Terminal.