The opportunity to be seal trainers for a day at Long Island Aquarium in Riverhead was an experience we will never forget!
Our day began with a tour behind the scenes. We were able to go behind the exhibits and see how they work. We worked with one of the trainers and learned a lot about how much dedication it takes to care for sea lions.
We worked in the kitchen that prepares the food for the animals. They taught us how to prepare food for the sea lions we would be working with. Handling the slimy fish was a smelly job and took some getting used to.
When the food was ready, we actually went into the exhibit that holds about five sea lions. The trainer called over a young female sea lion, and she came right up to us. The trainer taught us how to touch her, feed her and prepare her for a medical exam. The trainer used many hand signals and little fish as a reward for following the signals.
After we left the exhibit, we watched the sea lion show. We met Jabba the seal and were able to create a painting with Jabba. We put some paint drops on a canvas and brought the canvas to Jabba; suddenly Jabba snorted on the paper and created an interesting picture, which we took home. When we were finished, Jabba gave us a big, sloppy, cold, fish-smelling kiss. We recommend this experience to anyone who loves aquarium animals and wants a career working with them. For information, visit longislandaquarium.com