5 Questions with a SeaWorld Dolphin Trainer


(previous interviews in this series can be found here.)

Welcome to another installment of 5 Questions with a 5-Year-Old. Today, Zoey chats with Jeannie Carder, a dolphin trainer at SeaWorld Orlando.

Let’s not beat around the bush. SeaWorld (and places like it) arouse a lot of passion in people…to both extremes.

Personally, I’m conflicted about how I feel. I recognize the criticism against keeping animals in captivity, particularly the dolphins and killer whales, but SeaWorld also does a lot of great work. They champion a host of conservation issues and do an incredible amount of education well beyond the confines of their parks.

But I’m not here today to debate this issue, which is the subject of another post (one which I’m currently working on). This post is about Zoey’s chat with a dolphin trainer. Zoey doesn’t come to this conversation (the larger one about the pros and cons of places like SeaWorld) with a lot of baggage. To her, SeaWorld is one of the few places where she can catch a glimpse of dolphins, killer whales, and manatees up close (and still ride a roller coaster).

She does recognize the issue, though. One of her last questions (as you can see below) is about whether dolphins are happy in captivity. It’s a thorny issue to broach, particularly with kids, and it’s not one for which I have a solid answer.

I don’t want this post to come off as too negative, though. We like SeaWorld. The kids like SeaWorld. They like the rides, the animals, and the shows. And it was a wonderful opportunity to go backstage at the Dolphin Theater and talk to one of the trainers.

This is the view from backstage looking forward. The pool in the foreground is where they keep the pilot whales, which is what they’re discussing at the very beginning of the video.


As always, all questions are Zoey’s. I simply prompt her with “clue words” so she can remember. (Make sure you turn on subtitles if you can’t make out Zoey’s questions.)

Thanks so much to Jeannie Carder for taking the time to chat with Zoey and to Becca Bides at SeaWorld Orlando for helping to arrange the interview!

Jamie is a publishing/book nerd who makes a living by wrangling words together into some sense of coherence. He's the founder and owner of The Roarbots and also a contributor to Syfy Wire, StarWars.com, and GeekDad. On top of that, he hosts The Great Big Beautiful Podcast, which celebrates creativity in popular culture, science, and technology by talking to a wide variety of people who contribute to it.