Photo-A-Day #1640

For our final day of IZEAFest everyone received a ticket to SeaWorld. I have to say that the people at SeaWorld were incredibly generous with everything. I have such a high respect for the planning and execution of the entire weekend. So I was jazzed for a day in the SeaWorld Park with Allison, Eva and Auntie Mo (@motarpey). Later in the day we planned to meet up with Dina Riccobono (@MLDina) and take her to the Dine with Shamu event. We had a full day ahead.

When we got into the park we met up with Trevor (@magical_trevor) and Mary and Andrew (@anoo). Courtney (@ridetoremedy) buzzed over too. she was everywhere all day long, that woman has N- ER- G! We also met up with Jennifer Leet (@jentifa) and her family. Eva and Abby hit it off over a period of time and it was cute to see them interact. Abby had a BenSpark.com T-shirt on as well. I had two kids size ones made, one for Eva and one for Abby.

We marveled at the new roller coaster, the Manta. It takes up much of the entrance of the park but integrates so well into the entire look of that entrance area. I was to ride it later in the day but was pretty nervous about it. More on that later

We went over and fed the Rays. Eva and I played at touching them. Eva loved it until they actually came up to the sides of the tank. Allison shot a few photos of us playing with the Rays.

then we took in the Dolphin Show. That was a wonderful and colorful show. I ran off and got waters and popcorn for everyone. It was kind of funny to walk back to the stadium with 3 popcorn buckets and 7 water bottles. I had to put the water bottles in my pockets of my shorts. I had to hold the popcorn with one hand and my belt in the other. No one would want to see my pants fall off.

At the Dolphin show were were joined by Jennifer’s family, Courtney, John Raser (@johnraser), Murray Newlands (@murraynewlands) (photo model for the all new BenSpark.com) as well as MommaDjane (@mommadjane), Alan and Tasha. We had quite the crowd of bloggers in the house.Like I said the show was phenomenal. Eva sat there entranced eating all of the popcorn, she likes to hog it. After that show we caught up with Dina Riccobono, Steven (@steven_sanders) and Ashley Sanders (@bosssanders) and we went through the Penguins and then over to the Shamu show. We somehow got separated from Dina, Steve and Ashley. They ended up on the total opposite side. I did find them with the camera.

After Shamu we had to say goodbye to Maureen and that was tough. she was such a generous friend to us the entire weekend, giving us all of her time and love. Eva loves her so much and we do as well. It was an emotional goodbye.

Allison, Eva and I were pretty wiped so we took a break and had lunch. At lunch I met Kriz (@kasadekriz). Kriz works for SeaWorld and also blogs. He asked if I was Ben…. I had my Benspark.com shirt on. I said yes and he asked me what my blog was all about. I explained that it was a photo-a-day blog and he told me that his blog was about his art which included photography as well as other forms of art. KriZ was a pretty cool guy and he even contacted me after our day int he park.

After lunch we caught Dwan, Alan, Buck Daddy (@buckdaddy) and David Meyers (@RagingTech) to take a ride on the Manta. Buck went off and bought Alan, Dwan and I front of the line passes, so generous. The Manta ride was incredible. I couldn’t say enough good about it. I really liked it so much. I didn’t even feel sick at any point, although the loop d loop was a strange feeling. The ride was so smooth. The part I was not thrilled about was hanging behind the building waiting to get off the ride. That needs to speed up and it really needed to speed up for the people later who hung for 20 minutes.

After the Manta we walked through the Halloween Trick or Treat area and picked up a few things and took some more pictures. We also caught back up with Courtney who purchased dinner with Shamu too and joined up with us to go through a few exhibits and then on to the Shamu dinner. We went through the Arctic expedition to see the beluga whales, polar bear and walrus. Eva thinks that beluga look like marshmallows. That is what she called them when she was Maureen.

We went over to the Shamu viewing area to gather for Dinner with Shamu. Our friend Dina Riccobono caught up with us and the 5 of us went inside and enjoyed dinner and an intimate look behind the scenes with Shamu. The food was okay, it was what they serve at the Tavern and so I had already had beef stew earlier in the day, luckily it was good so I had more. For most of the meal the Believe show was still going on and we were able to see the trainers working with the whales and it was interesting to learn more about what is done. Later two trainers told us more about Shamu and how they train the whales. We were mere feet from Shamu too. It was a nice evening and afterward we went back to the hotel and tried to get a good night sleep before heading home.

You can see my entire set of IZEAFest 009 Photos on Flickr.

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