Nellie, the bottle-nosed dolphin, was born on February 27th in the salt-water tanks at Marine Studios on the St. Johns and Flagler county border; along SR-A1A and the Atlantic Coast — today she turned 59 years-old.
To commemorate her birthday, Marineland staff celebrated by presenting Nellie with a colorful “ice cream” cake. The dolphin-safe cake, made entirely of unflavored gelatin, is just one example of the creative ways that the trainers play with the animals.
Marineland Dolphin Adventure trainers Andy Horn and Rachel Aizcorbe helped Nellie share her special birthday treat with the other eleven dolphins that call Marineland Dolphin Adventure home.
Billy Hurley, chief zoological officer for the Georgia Aquarium and Marineland Dolphin Adventure, said Nellie has begun to show her age the past few months and often prefers snoozing in the sun.
“It’s very similar to watching a grandparent grow older,” Hurley said. “You don’t think much of it until they reach a point and you see them, and think — wow.”
The decision not to have a public birthday party was with Nellie’s best interest in mind. Visitors to the park may, or may not, see Nellie as she begins her 60th year at Marineland. Although she lives in the pool with the other dolphins, whether she wants to be “social” is entirely up to her.