Beluga whales

 

 

One of the most incredible experiences we had recently was our encounter with beluga whales at Canada’s Marineland. My little three year old nephew Alexander has been so in love with these Arctic mammals since he was a baby. I knew they were adorable but I didn’t realize how much cuter they were in person. And very intelligent. They were extremely sociable interacting with people – dancing, reacting to movements, popping their head up. And that perma-smile just makes me want to… smile forever.

 

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There are around 40 beluga whales in Marineland. Belugas were among the first whale species to be kept in captivity as early as the 1860’s. It has since been regulated.

 

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Stunning space. It was like a dream. I think this is my favourite place now. The Arctic Cove in MarineLand.

 

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Two belugas prop their heads up. Some defining features – the compartment at the centre of the forehead called “melon” contains oily, fatty tissue.  The melon is bulbous and visible. It is actually malleable and changes its shape during the emission of sounds. Belugas also seem to have a neck. They have seven vertebrae that are not fused together, allowing them to turn their head laterally.

 

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Each kid got to feed a beluga whale. Here’s Stella feeding her beluga named Lily!!! We were able to pat its head.

 

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Three-year old conversations. Stella and Alexander. It was like heaven for them.

 

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Beluga kisses. Sophia, my animal lover baby.

 

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Belugas seem very sociable. They travel in pods in the wild. Here’s a playful one with Lily.

 

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Stella with no idea that the beluga behind her was doing somersaults and was scratching its back.

 

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Can’t get over how adorable they are. Look at this one trying to get Soph’s attention.

 

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Unforgettable experience for the girls and for me and my parents.

 

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Soph took a gazillion photos.

 

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This photo is so cute it almost looks photoshopped. They have been able to breed in captivity. Here’s a little beluga calf. They are born grey but turn white as they age.

 

Sophia was also chosen to interact with the beluga during the show. She was picked among hundreds of people raising their hands. Lucky girl.

 

The science of beluga whales. Video from Marineland website.

 

 

Marineland is located in Niagra Falls, Ontario, Canada. It is closed during the winter. It opens on Victoria Day weekend. We went just a week after opening and purposely chose a Monday (May 27th) to avoid the weekend crowd. The kids enjoyed all the rides. They were able to ride over and over. For rates and tickets, click here.

 

 

Kohler Waters Spa

 

 

On my last full day in Kohler Village, Wisconsin I was given a wonderful treat at the American Club’s Kohler Waters Spa, a recipient of the 2012 Forbes Five-Star award. There are only 31 spas worldwide with this Five-Star distinction.

 

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My treatment, the Hollycock Ritual, was a 3-hour pampering session that included full-body exfoliation, body wrap with foot and scalp massage, a 50-minute massage and pedicure.

 

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It started with gentle cleansing exfoliation with a KOHLER Custom Vichy hydro-massage. This was so relaxing. I need to experience this again.

 

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After my hydro-massage, I had a 20 minute relaxing bath in this KOHLER tub with jacuzzi bubbles. Notice the water source coming from the ceiling. Nice touch.

 

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Kohler Waters Spa uses the gently scented Hollycock products. The story behind hollycock dates back to decades before Kohler Waters Spa even opened. The scent of hollyhocks filled the Village of Kohler. In the 1920s, a garden society founded by Marie, Evangeline and Lillie Kohler chose the statuesque, colorful hollyhock as the official village flower. Each spring the society presented a packet of seeds to families throughout the village, beautifying neighborhoods with this stunning perennial. (Source, KOHLER Waters Spa menu).

 

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The warm relaxation pool separates the treatment rooms from the locker rooms.

 

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This is the lounge where I waited between my body treatments and nail treatment. It was my first time to be in a co-ed spa lounge.

 

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My therapist was kind enough to snap this photo before my wet treatments.

 

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I had the nicest and most gentle pedicure here. They used Deborah Lippmann nail products.

 

For more information, visit Kohler Waters Spa website. The Hollycock Ritual lasts 3 hours and costs $395.