Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Marineland, Florida

My husband Sandy at the original entrance to Marineland.
I recently got a request for greeting cards featuring mermaids. I made a few cards using copyright free backgrounds, but my husband suggested a trip to Marineland for some local backgrounds. Marineland is in Flagler County, Florida on the northern border.

After living down the road from Marineland for 15 years, we decided to go for a visit. Marineland opened in 1938 as Marine Studios. The original vision was to duplicate marine life in nature to meet the needs of Holywood's demand for underwater footage. By the 1960s Marine Studios became Marineland of Florida, a popular public attraction showcasing dolphins and giving stadium style performances. Films and TV shows continued to use the facilities.
An old photo of what the facility used to be like back in the early day and in 1977!
Marineland was a show type theme park, when we were there in 1977. Things have changed some since my 4 year old son and I sat in the front row viewing a performance (we got a soaking wet) by dolphins in a large tank. Now the facility is owned by Georgia Aquarium and is dedicated to dolphin and small whale rescue and research. Through several Marineland Dolphin Adventures they work to increase public awareness and contribute to scientific study through conservation. Due to a series of hurricanes in 2004, many of the original structures needed to be replaced. Only the gift shop is the original building, in which I walked around during my many outings with my son in 1977.
A recent visitor in the gift shop.
When we arrived for our recent visit, I introduced myself and my husband Sandy to Meghann Dendler. Knowing that the facility is on the look out for stories from visitors, I began to tell ours and while doing so, she called in Diego Aizcorbe, the Guest Services Manager. He was intrigued by our story.

Here is where this story gets pretty interesting. In 1977 my husband was on the camera crew shooting a 3D movie called "Sea Dream" at Marineland. He and I and our 4 year old son came down from New York and lived for about 4 months at the Four Winds Condominiums. Others on the crew for this 3D movie also lived there in condos right on the beach! One time we traveled as a caravan throughout the area filming the movie which was later shown at Marineland. I would often visit the facility with my son, buy fudge and just enjoy the surroundings. We were given every courtesy and the staff even put out nets for shrimp, which I learned to cook and enjoyed a special dish with our invited guests.
I remember these jaws way back before Danni was born!
After listening to our story, Meghann us personalized tour of Marineland. My husband took pictures and we were truly impressed with the changes that were made over the many years. Then we came to a room which had many artifacts from the days when this was both a film studio and a performance based facility. There on the wall was the only poster of the movie "Sea Dream" and as we looked further at the collection of camera equipment, we saw that these were the same ones my husband used 37 years ago.
Poster of the 3D movie shot so many years ago.
The notations that he and others on the crew made on each piece of equipment were still there! The movie itself is missing and will now be looked for in the air conditioned warehouse. The theater in which it was shown has been gone for many years. Diego has assured us that he would make every effort to find that film and he would get in touch with us. My husband in turn promised to look for the stills, which he took while shooting with the motion picture camera 37 years ago. The two men will one day get together and enhance that display.
Meghann Dendler next to the actual camera my husband used 37 year ago!


 For additional information go to: www.marineland.net

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