Whew! Things sure have been busy in the Education and Conservation Department these past few months. While it’s true that the summer time can be quite eventful around here with camp programs and public tours, to me, the spring always feels like the time of year with the highest buzz of activity.
Even though the park is only open to the public on Thursdays through Sundays, our team is just as busy providing educational experiences for students all during the week. We have group camps staying in our dorms, and we have several schools visiting us for guided programs every morning. But my favorite school program is the Instructional Field Experience. During these days, the park is closed to the public, but we open our doors for school groups. They spend a half-day with us, and they get to visit animal habitats, eat a picnic lunch with their class, and then they enjoy two animal presentations. It really is a super-fun day.
The truth is, providing such a fun, enriching, and unique opportunity to make SeaWorld a classroom for a day takes a whole lot of work, and it would be impossible to make it happen without the help of so many different team members from all around the park. So as we wind down our field trip season and get ready to move into full time summer operations, I would like to take a few moments to give a shout-out and a thank you to just a few of the many folks that make these educational experiences possible.
First of all, a huge thanks goes to our Park Operations team. A lot of their work happens behind the scenes, and without their helping hands, we simply couldn’t have field trip days. Many hours before the students arrive, they are cleaning and prepping the park, making sure that even though it’s not an operating day, the park is beautiful and clean for our young guests. They are usually the first faces our schools meet as they arrive at the park, and they undertake the giant task of receiving, delivering, and organizing over 2000 sack lunches from the buses to the picnic area. They also greet each student as they stream in through the front gate, doing bag checks for safety, and making sure the adults have maps and schedules for the day. This team also ensures quality and safety during our lunch time and animal shows.
Our Merchandise and Culinary departments are also on hand on every field trip day. They not only help us out by providing opportunities for students and their parents to purchase souvenirs, drinks, and snacks, but also help out our guests who may have forgotten their lunch, or with guests who may need to borrow a wheelchair, or need other assistance.
Of course no field experience at SeaWorld would be complete without the animals, and we are always grateful to our Animal Care, Entertainment, and Animal Training staff for all of the work they do to help us share our awesome animals with the students. Whether it’s working in a feeder booth, chatting with students at the pools, or presenting our educational shows, it’s that connection they help provide that inspires these students to make differences in their homes, schools, and communities to make a difference for animals.
And finally, I would like to thank my own staff. You continue to make me incredibly proud with the amazing customer service our concierge team members give the schools as they check in, the time my instructor staff spends with students in conversation about animals, and the assistance you give in presenting the education shows. All of the work you do makes such an impact on thousands of students every season.
Thank you so much to everyone who has helped make this spring’s Instructional Field Experiences such a success. We truly are one team.