As kids, our parents, teachers, and others often ask us what we want to be when we grow up. Each time I’m asked, the answer has always remained the same—I want to work with marine life!
Over the past two years, I’ve been able to get closer and closer to my end goal via various internship and shadowing opportunities. The most recent was at OdySea Aquarium in Scottsdale, and it was an experience of a lifetime!
I was a little nervous on my first day, but everyone welcomed me with open arms. The day started with the penguin and shark education carts, where Cadia and I were able to show different artifacts to OdySea guests. These materials consisted of penguin and shark skulls, penguin feathers and different penguin eggs for size comparison. During my first day, I also helped design some activities for the summer programs at OdySea.
The rest of my time at OdySea was spent behind the scenes to meet the ambassador animals and watch the otter and pinniped (seal and sea lion) sessions. OdySea focuses on positive reinforcement when training their animals. This was great for learning how different marine mammals react to trainings. I also witnessed the relationships the Animal Care staff builds with each of the animals. While watching these sessions, I realized that I want to work with marine mammals. I saw how proper training and interactions can create strong connections and relationships.
I also helped with food prep, feeding the fish and teaching OdySea guests about the species in the Tidal Touch Pool. I even got to go into the interaction room with the penguins! The room allows the penguins to get to know other people besides the trainers. The Penguin Interaction Program will open to the public soon.
One of my favorite activities was going on the Living Sea Carousel. It was so much fun to see all of the animals and to watch the SeaTREK helmet in action. Be sure not to miss the Living Sea Carousel when you visit. You can see giant stingrays, the rescued sea turtles Valor and Boudreaux, the sea lions and seal, and numerous sharks.
Although my experience was a lot of behind the scenes activities, I recommend that everyone experience OdySea Aquarium—it’s not like any other aquarium! For more information, visit Odyseaaquarium.com.