The good folks over at Animal Makers are up to their old tricks. By “tricks,” we mean creating amazingly lifelike animatronic models that stand in for real animals in movies and advertisements. Oh, and now we can add that they stand in for real dolphins in “swim with” therapy programs.
We’re generally not fans of anything to do with swimming with dolphins (unless it involves a boat and scuba gear out in the middle of the ocean). That’s because hotels and aquariums that offer people the chance to “swim” with dolphins really mean that you get to sit with a dolphin in a swimming pool—a pool that is essentially the equivalent of a bathtub to an animal who would naturally swim dozens of miles a day. In addition to the criminal lack of exercise and mental stimulation, captive dolphins are suspected of being driven mad by the sound of their sonar, which constantly bounces off the tank walls.
But thanks to Animal Makers, kids with cerebral palsy, autism, Down syndrome, and other developmental disorders will get a chance to interact with “TADs” (therapeutic animatronic dolphins) that move and even make squeaky dolphin noises at a new facility that is being built in Florida.
Kids get to play with really cool life-like robots, dolphins get a break. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Written by Alisa Mullins