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SeaWorld – North End: Blue Horizons

Rating: * * * * +
Type: Live water show with dolphins, pseudorcas, and acrobats
Time: 25 minutes
Kelly says: Cirque du Soleil meets Flipper

This show, which rounds out the Key West experience, is Shamu in miniature, with a large dose of Cirque du Soleil-style pizazz thrown in for good measure. Instead of giant killer whales we have the far slimmer bottle-nosed dolphins and pseudorcas, or “false killer whales.” The setting is a swirling, multi-level, multi-platform blue extravaganza of flying manta rays and sea foam over the large dolphin pool.

The show is conceived as the fantasy of Marina, a girl who dreams of “a place where our dreams come true.” She dives out her window (don’t try this at home) and finds herself in a watery world of wonder where she meets Delphis, a dolphin spirit who transforms into a hunky guy in an anatomically correct wet suit, and Aurora, a bird spirit in gaudy red plumage who soars overhead in an aerial ballet.

Dolphins, pseudorcas, acrobats, high divers, parrots, and lorikeets, and even an immense buzzard get in on the act in what is one of SeaWorld’s most elaborate spectacles. I counted 18 performers, nine dolphins, and two pseudorcas, as well as a passel of parrots.

The debt to Cirque du Soleil is obvious and they carry it off well. An elaborate aerial harness apparatus enables the performers to soar over the pool in graceful circles and gives the razzle-dazzle divers a quick route back to their high platforms for another spectacular leap.

The marine mammals are no slouches either. At one point, all nine dolphins are in the pool in a three-ring circus of amazing behaviors. At one point, two dolphins propel their trainer in a corkscrew pattern through the water. At another, Delphis and Marina take turns riding a pair of dolphins chariot style around the pool, a foot on the back of each animal.

The show ends with all the performers soaring and diving while the air is alive with multi-colored birds. It’s a sure-fire crowd pleaser that marks yet another triumph for the SeaWorld creative team.

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