SeaWorld Orlando Wild Days and OSHA Conflict

Written by Eric Davis. Posted in Features, Orlando Parkhopper, Orlando Parks, Podcasts, SeaWorld Orlando, The Unofficial SeaWorld Podcast

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Published on January 20, 2014 at 2:00 am with 37 Comments

SeaWorld Orlando is launching a new annual event called “Wild Weekends” and we’ve got the details for you today. Plus, we’ll share photos of the brand new “Shamu Up Close Experience” as well as park updates and information. But the real scoop of today’s update comes to us from our readers who noticed a little funny business going on which we hope someone will be able to get to the bottom of. At the very least, it’s something which should be causing some serious investigation by OSHA. . .  but not in the way you may be thinking. Read on.

Wild Days

This year, SeaWorld introduced a new special event titled Wild Weekends. Every weekend in January features a different look at the Animals at SeaWorld.  The event was kicked off with Jack Hanna, along with a look behind the scenes look at SeaWorld’s animal rescue programs, trainer talks, a pilot whale pre-show and more.

SeaWorld Rescue Behind the Scenes

SeaRescue, airing Saturdays on ABC, is currently in its 3rd season and has now been seen by over 100,000,000 people worldwide.  To kick of Wild Weekends, SeaWorld gave us a behind the scenes look at the rescue facilities that temporarily house the animals that SeaWorld rescues, rehabilitates and then return to the wild.

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Pilot Whale Pre-show

Those who attended MiceChat’s SeaWorld 40th celebration on December 15th, got a special preview of what was to come for Wild Weekends.  Guests are treated to a short pre-show before Blue Horizons. 4 pilot whales that were orphaned and stranded, and then determined to be non-releasable by the Federal Government, showed off how they are doing. These orphans are now functioning as a little mini pilot whale pod.

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Trainer Talks

Guests watching Clyde and Seamore are treated to a short 15 min trainer talk at the beginning of the show where they speak about the rescue efforts SeaWorld has made with Seals and Sea Lions in on the Pacific Coast.

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Jack Hanna Talks

The big event for Wild Weekends was Jack Hanna.  Jack spoke about the conversation efforts made by SeaWorld around the world, and lesser known rescue projects SeaWorld has been part of.

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New Shamu Up Close

Last month we shared that the Show Pool at Shamu Stadium would be closed for a few months while they refurbish it, and make improvements.  During the refurbishment SeaWorld has also closed the Dine with Shamu experience and replaced it with Shamu Up Close, where guests can leisurely see the Orcas, hear from trainers and see the whales practicing some of their show behaviors.

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Shamu Up Close has been complimented with a refurbishment of the Shamu Underwater Viewing area.

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One Ocean, the Shamu show at SeaWorld, will be down until the construction on the show pool is complete in early to mid April.

Journey to Atlantis Refurbishment

Journey to Atlantis is down for its annual refurbishment as they clean up, paint, and fix show elements.

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OSHA – Who is Lara Padgett?

Since running our Blackfish interviews with Mark Simmons and Bridgett Pirtle last week, we have received a lot of feedback from our readers.  In Bridgett’s interview, there was a picture that included the “Cast of BlackFish” we received a few concerning emails about a person in the pictures.

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One reader asked “Why is Lara Padgett, the OSHA Investigator in Florida, in the picture with the Cast and Crew of Blackfish?”

Lara Padgett FB Snippet

After doing some digging, we learned that Lara Padgett was the lead OSHA Investigator who examined the incident at SeaWorld Orlando on February 24th, 2010.  Since then she has been involved in the investigation and the appeals and testified in April 2013 on behalf of OSHA.  While MiceChat doesn’t know why the lead OSHA investigator would be at the Sundance, New York and Sarasota premiere of Blackfish, along with film Director Gabriela Cowperthwaite, Tim Zimmerman, David Kirby, Samantha Berg, Jeff Ventre, John Jett, and more.

Obviously, this information begs further investigation by news agencies as this looks to us to be a serious conflict of interest at the very least. We’ve reached out to OSHA and Orlando media with the information we were sent by our readers as this story is a bit beyond our scope here at MiceChat. We’re sure that better connected agencies will be able to get to the bottom of this surprising turn of events. We’ll let you know what we learn in our next update.

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Some of the Blackfish team photos show Ms. Padgett with her face blurred out.

New Unofficial SeaWorld Podcast Episode

We have a new episode of the Unofficial Seaworld Podcast to share, where we do a quick year in review and we celebrate the first anniversary of the SeaWorld Podcast. We then interview Clay Carbajal, SeaWorld San Antonio Animal Ambassador, about his trip to Africa for the SeaWorld Busch Gardens Conservation Fund and how the Painted Dogs of Africa project is going.

iTunes | Direct Download | Stitcher Radio

Well folks, that’s our update from SeaWorld Orlando for today. We’ll be back again soon.

About Eric Davis

By day, Eric is in Marketing and Social Media. But on the weekends, he's a theme park addict. Eric is a frequent contributor to MiceChat's Orlando Parkhopper columns and tends to focus his efforts on what's new and what's news at Universal Studios and SeaWorld.

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  • Amy VandenBoogert

    Great work, Eric! Will be interesting to see what happens next!

  • tooncity

    It’s only a matter of time before the California State Legislature bans the display of Killer Whales on public land. Sea World San Diego is on PUBLIC Park land and is leased. Sea World is in trouble, in California.

    Love the Propaganda Backstage tour. The Sea Recue costs are PENNIES compare to the money they rake in on false imprisonment of the Whales.

    They have a Rescue & Release count for 2014, in the back stage area. Do they have a DEATH COUNT too, for the Killer Whales that have died pre-maturely in the Sea World Fish Bowls?

    • pianojohn

      I don’t know what’s worse: your complete belief in all of the lies that Blackfish told, or your grasp of the English language? Shut up and go away.

      • tooncity

        Love your display of keyboard courage. Seems you can’t even make a point salient point, thus the need to insult people. Where’s your intellect?

  • Toolshed

    I just watched the local news run a story of the OSHA investigator and the Conflict of Interest with the Blackfish activism piece.
    https://www.facebook.com/Local6/posts/10201683222177675

  • Morgan Richardson

    Nicely done, Eric! Excellent sleuthing,

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  • CreepyMonkey

    This is beyond interesting. This kind of shady interaction needs to be brought to the light of day. If there was nothing illegal about this (and it sure looks like it should be illegal) then it was unethical at least and a conflict of interest at best. Great stuff. So glad we have listeners who pay attention and are all very smart cookies!

  • fnord

    pianojohn,
    be a gentleman, and clue us on android as to
    who you have a beef with.

  • I blame Miley Cyrus for the whole thing.

  • ralfrick

    It’s gone national! Just saw an AP story about OSHA investigating this inspector.

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