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LAS VEGAS – The Mirage offers the experience of a lifetime to those who love dolphins. The Trainer for a Day program provides guests with unforgettable memories of working side-by-side with animal experts and a family of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins at the Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at The Mirage.
Participants learn about dolphin health and behavior, as well as the Dolphin Habitat’s research projects that aid in the survival of the Atlantic bottlenose dolphins in the wild. Trainer for a Day provides a chance to connect with these magnificent creatures and experience a hands-on, educational program for those who want to deepen their understanding of these marine mammals. Every person’s experience is different as the dolphins’ needs vary daily.
“The Trainer for a Day experience is an enjoyable memory that will last forever,” said Charles Kotulski, a Trainer for a Day participant and professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. “The strength of the program is the fact that I was actively involved and not just a spectator. This adventure will appeal to anyone who loves animals and wants to learn more about dolphins.”
The adventure begins at 9:45 a.m. when the program facilitator greets the participants. While guests enjoy a light continental breakfast, the facilitator teaches terminology used by the trainers and reviews hand signals used to train the dolphins. After a behind-the-scenes tour of the Dolphin Habitat, participants change into wetsuits before being introduced to the dolphin trainers for hands-on instruction.
Dave Blasko, Director of Animal Care at The Mirage, said, “These training sessions are very important for the dolphins’ well-being. The dolphins learn to participate in their own health care by cooperating with trainers, who do daily health checks of each animal. Participants also have the opportunity to observe many aspects of dolphin care, including veterinary care procedures such as ultrasounds and recording the animals’ heart rates and temperatures, which the public rarely sees.”
When The Mirage designed this program, the most important consideration was the safety and health of the dolphins. The various people the dolphins are exposed to through Trainer for a Day give the dolphins variation in their environment.
Midday, the participants break to enjoy an exceptional private lunch served at a secluded, poolside table overlooking the Dolphin Habitat and surrounded by palm trees.
Richard Kiewice, a Trainer for a Day participant from Bedford, Texas, said, “The lunch was just as much of a highlight as working with the dolphins. The extensive menu and private setting felt luxurious and definitely added to the exclusive nature of the experience."
Activities in the afternoon session may include additional dolphin training sessions or learning more about dolphin behavior.
The $550 all-day program includes a morning orientation, a private lunch, 8x10 photo, Trainer for a Day Certificate of Completion, admission to Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat, a Trainer for a Day embroidered polo shirt and hat as well as a photo CD of their experience. Participants also may bring an observer for an additional fee of $150. Observers enjoy admission into Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat and are welcome to join the morning orientation, light continental breakfast and the private lunch. They also may shadow the participant from just a few feet away. The observer also will have the opportunity to have their photo taken with a dolphin and receive an 8x10 photograph of the experience.
The program is open to everyone 13 years of age or older. Participants age 13-15 are required to have an adult participant or observer accompany them during their experience. To make the experience more intimate, the program is limited to four participants per day. Trainer for a Day is available six days a week, dark on Thursday. Anyone interested in Trainer for a Day at The Mirage may call (702) 792-7889 to make reservations. Reservations may be made up to 11 months in advance, and guests are encouraged to book in advance as the program fills up quickly.
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Rebecca Ingram Frisch
MGM Resorts International Public Relations