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A Generation of Kids and Dolphins Together on Curacao

This coming spring will mark the 20th anniversary of Dolphin Academy’s opening here on the remarkable island of Curacao. Just think about that for a moment. No one below the age of a young adult can remember a time when dolphins were not a regular part of their life’s experience on the island. They have literally grown up with the dolphins.

 

Likewise, for the fourteen dolphins born right here over the years, they can’t imagine a life without visits from the children of Curacao. An entire generation of humans and dolphins have grown up together, and that’s something special!

 

Every year, over 4000 local children of Curacao are sponsored to visit Dolphin Academy for educational field trips. They then have a chance to catch up with their old dolphin friends and meet any new additions born to the community since their last visit.

 

So, who named the baby dolphins born at Dolphin Academy? Their human cousins of course – the kids of Curacao. When Dolphin Academy has a new baby dolphin, the school children get together with their classmates, and submit their favorite ideas for a name, and the dolphin trainers put the best of the best to a vote.

 

Sometimes, the quest for a new name can be very competitive, as was the case in 2007 when the local word for a beautiful flower, “Kayena,” edged out other equally attractive names for a new baby girl. (By the way, ten years later in 2017, Kayena became the first dolphin child of Curacao to grow up and give birth to her own daughter “Estrea” which is an anagram of her grandmother “Teresa.”)

 

On other occasions, the choice was nearly unanimous – like the case when a dolphin baby boy was born in 2009 on December 25th! The name given by children was “Pasku” which is the local word for “Christmas” in Papiamento.

 

No one could resist “Suku” born in 2015 – a little girl just as sweet as her namesake, Papiamento for “sugar”. More recently, a dolphin girl born under a bright full moon in 2018 earned the obvious name “Luna” the word for “moon” in both Spanish and Papiamento.

 

“For the children of Curacao, their relationship with the dolphins go beyond name only. Many have had personal encounters with their favorite dolphin, either during their school visits or even on their own time.”

 

Never was this more evident than when local government allowed the Curacao Sea Aquarium to first re-open to residents after the Covid-19 lockdown of 2020. The dolphins were elated to have enthusiastic visitors after several weeks of quiet times, and the kids were happy to see their old friends again.

 

Life with these marine mammals has helped motivate this generation of Curacao Kids to be extra thoughtful, considerate, and protective not only of their dolphin family but of the natural treasure that is their beautiful island. They’ve learned that if we protect our resources . . . we protect ourselves. Don’t be surprised if you see this generation inspire the conservation of Curacao’s beauty and nature for generations to come!

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  • The dolphins at Dolphin Academy will steal your heart with this fun, intimate, and interactive meeting. The Dolphin Encounter is an experience for all ages! This magical encounter at Dolphin Academy begins at either 8:30, 11:00, and 14:00. While standing in waist-deep water you will be able to gently pet a dolphin who will then give […]

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  • Free dive and snorkel together with the dolphins in their natural lagoon. This program is for experienced swimmers only. Enjoy the opportunity to learn more about Bottlenose dolphins while free diving in their natural lagoon. You can free dive with the dolphins at 8:30, 11:00, and 14:00 at the Dolphin Academy. The dolphins will dive […]

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  • Always wanted to swim with dolphins in Curaçao? This is a great opportunity to touch, interact, swim, and enjoy your time with these lovable marine mammals. Swimming with dolphins in Curaçao is truly a magical experience.  As you swim in the natural lagoon, the Dolphins will allow you to gently pet and interact with them. You […]

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