Today a few members of the RoughRiders and I took advantage of an incredible opportunity while staying in San Antonio. One of the three SeaWorld theme parks in the USA is located just a few Joey Gallo home runs away from our team hotel in San Antonio. Thanks to a connection provided by team trainer Carlos Olivas, we got a private, behind-the-scenes tour of the park and spent some up-close time with a few of the incredible animals. In addition to Carlos and me, the others who came along were Cody Buckel, Ben Rowen, Ryan Rodebaugh, Kevin Pucetas, Ryan Feierabend, Jake Brigham, Brett Nicholas, Jimmy Reyes, Tyler Tufts, strength & condition coach Eric McMahon and bus driver Paul Watkins. Dave Yordi, SeaWorld’s Supervisor of Animal Care, was kind enough to take our group of 13 around the park and here are some of the sights of an awesome morning.
(click on the pictures to see bigger photos)
Our tour started at the killer whale pools. They have five Icelandic killer whales at SeaWorld.
Some of the players watching the whales and listening to the trainers.
Cody Buckel snaps a photo of a trainer giving the biggest killer whale a rubdown.
SeaWorld buys the fish it feeds its whales from the same supplier that Red Lobster uses.
It was in the upper-40s and windy, so everyone was bundled up walking around the park.
A SeaWorld employee feeds a little otter.
The players loved those little guys
Brett Nicholas poses with Dylan the sea lion in an area the public doesn’t get to visit.
Trainer Carlos Olivas makes Dylan yell. One of the sea lions here was used as the “voice” of the T-Rex in the Jurassic Park movies.
Cody Buckel dancing with Dylan. Not sure where Cody learned that move.
An up-close look at the enormous male walrus.
They keep the two walruses in this pool.
A bit later, we hung out with the dolphins. Here, Kevin Pucetas gets his picture taken with “Brady.”
There was quite a line for the players to get their photos taken with the dolphins.
Jake Brigham pets one of the dolphins .
Brady “fin-walks” at the prompt of his trainer.
Our last destination was the stingray tank.
We all got the chance to feed the stingrays some shrimp.
Here’s the other half of the group feeding the stingrays.
Left side, from left to right: (standing) Paul Watkins, Jake Brigham, Carlos Olivas, Eric McMahon; (squatting) Jimmy Reyes & Ryan Feierabend. On the right, from left to right: (standing) Ryan Rodebaugh, Ben Rowen, Tyler Tufts and a partially obstructed Kevin Pucetas; (squatting) Cody Buckel, Alex Vispoli and Brett Nicholas.