Posts Tagged 'dolphin show'

Happy birthday, Bayley!

Today our youngest dolphin, Bayley, turns 2 years old! Bayley is the daughter of Chesapeake and Chinook. 

In between training sessions and shows, you can often see her chasing and playing with 3-year-old Foster, investigating new toys, or just resting and swimming under her mom, Chesapeake.

We have also seen Bayley blow bubbles underwater and play with them! They are in the form of rings or even long lines, which we call “bubble snakes,” which she chases and bites at.

Bayley is extremely energetic and eager to learn new things. She just recently learned the “high jump” behavior, in which the dolphin jumps up and touches a buoy suspended in the air. With her small size, Bayley only jumps about 10 feet out of the water right now, but as she grows bigger and stronger, she’ll be able to hit the buoy almost 20 feet in the air, like her big sister Maya!

Look for Bayley and her high jump in our show, Our Ocean Planet.

In lieu of presents, you can TXT the word ACT to 20222 to give Bayley a gift! Your $5 donation will support the care and feeding of Bayley and her 16,000 aquatic friends at the Aquarium.

Get a closer look at Spirit

Spirit is another one of the younger dolphins born at the National Aquarium. She is very playful and loves learning new behaviors for the shows.  In fact, she is usually the first dolphin to try out a new toy.

She is the daughter of Nani, the oldest dolphin living here at the Aquarium, and was born on April 13, 2001. She will turn 8 years old in just a few days!  Spirit was named in honor of September 11th. She is living up to that honor, as she is always showing off her spirit during shows! Take a look:

Learn more about all of our dolphins by visiting the brand new dolphin show website at!

Explore Maya’s World

A few weeks ago we took you into the world of Nani, our oldest dolphin. This week we’d like to take you into the world of one of our younger dolphins, Maya!

Maya is known as the “princess” of the pool. She is a girly-girl and loves shiny objects. She is just 8 years old, but one of the stars of the new dolphin show, Our Ocean Planet. She has incredible athletic ability, which she loves to show off during shows. You may catch a glimpse of her abilities on TV in one of the Aquarium’s new commericials:

Maya was born at the National Aquarium in 2001 and is the daughter of Shiloh, who also lives at the Aquarium. Weighing 380 pounds, she eats about 21 pounds of fish a day! When she is not performing, Maya is typically playing with Spirit, another 8 year old dolphin, and looking for attention from the trainers.

You can catch Maya in action during Our Ocean Planet, shows now running daily at the Aquarium. Join us for the grand opening April 4 & 5 and enjoy special dolphin activities and giveaways!

Explore Nani’s world

nani-headshotThe National Aquarium is home to a dynamic group of 10 healthy Atlantic bottlenose dolphins ranging from six months to 37 years. If you follow our blog, you know that the trainers and dolphins are currently preparing for the opening of our new dolphin show, that will explore the power, beauty, and grace of a dolphin’s world. Let’s a take a closer look into the world of Nani.

Nani is 37 years old, making her the oldest dolphin at the National Aquarium, and the most dominant. She came to the National Aquarium in 1990, when the Lyn P. Meyerhoff Amphitheater opened to the public.  Nani has given birth to six calves in her lifetime. Two of her calves live at the Aquarium, Spirit and Beau, and she is very protective of the both of them. 

Nani, meaning “beautiful” in Hawaiian, weighs approximately 500 pounds and is also the largest dolphin of the group. She currently eats about 25 pounds of fish a day! And with the trainers she is like a big huggable teddy bear in the water.

You can see Nani perform in our new dolphin show, Our Ocean Planet.  We invite you to join us on March 28 or 29 for a special preview of the new show. Visitors to the Aquarium on those days will have an opportunity to register on-site to win a Dolphin Encounter, for the chance to get up-close and personal our dolphins! We hope to see you there!

Our Ocean Planet: New Video!

Staff at the National Aquarium are busy preparing for the opening our new dolphin show, Our Ocean Planet. Earth is one watery world and home to some remarkable creatures. The new dolphin show explores the depths of these waters by taking us into a dolphin’s world. A world filled with beauty, grace, and power.

We don’t want to give the entire show away, but here are some interesting facts we will explore, to help explain how dolphins have adapted to succeed in their underwater world:

Like humans, dolphin have the ability to breath. Dolphins must surface to breath. We fill out lungs 15 to 20% with air, but dolphins use 90-100% of their lung capacity, allowing them to stay under water for nearly 20 minutes. Now that is a lot of air!

Scientists don’t know why, but dolphins swim faster than they should considering their amount of muscle. The dolphin’s shape is the fastest form possible, allowing them to reach speeds of 25 miles an hour!

These are just some of the reasons why we marvel at their awesome display of strength and beauty. Visit us at for updates on the new show!

How do dolphins do that?

From Justin Garner, dolphin trainer at the National Aquarium

One of the most common questions that we get here at the Aquarium is, “How do you get the dolphins to do that?”   dolphinshow22As trainers, we spend most of our day building positive relationships with the dolphins to provide them with an enriching, healthy, and stimulating environment. 

Training the dolphins for medical behaviors not only makes veterinary visits positive, but also allows the animals to voluntarily cooperate in their own health care.  Training the dolphins to perform natural behaviors in the dolphin show provides our guests with the opportunity to be entertained and educated about this species’ plight in the wild.  And, believe it or not, all of this is done completely with positive reinforcement, which means that we never punish or force our animals to do anything that they do not want to do.

We have several different types of training sessions.  1) Relationship sessions build and solidify the unique relationship that has been established between the animals and trainers.   2) Play and enrichment sessions provide the opportunity for the dolphins explore novel objects and exhibit natural behaviors.   3) Learning and practice sessions teach new behaviors to the animals as well as practice behaviors that they have already learned.

We are getting ready to open our new dolphin show, “Our Ocean Planet”!  We (and the dolphins) are busy with the training process for the show.  So that guests can witness their unique adaptations for life on our ocean planet, the dolphins are learning many new behaviors, including one that will allow the audience to see them swim up to their top speed of almost 25 miles per hour!  The dolphins are learning new behaviors every day.  We will always be adding new behaviors to “Our Ocean Planet” – this means that every show will be different from the one before.  So, stay tuned and and click here to recieve updates on our new dolphin show!

Continue reading ‘How do dolphins do that?’

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