Sunday, July 28, 2013

KKI Photo Shoot

Friday was Allie's calendar photo shoot for the Kennedy Krieger Institute's annual donor calendar.  We trekked out to the Baltimore Aquarium before it opened for the day and she got a private our of the aquarium.  We spent most of the time in two spots: visiting with Calypso, a giant (500+ lb) Green Sea Turtle named Calypso, and sitting in during one of the training classes for the dolphins.

Calypso is not only a star at the aquarium, but has particular symbolism for the KKI folks because she lost one of her flippers when she was young.  She was rescued from the Long Island Sound when she was found to have hypothermia and a horribly infected left front flipper.  Her flipper had to be amputated and her caregivers didn't believe she could make it in the wild without it, which is how she ended up at the aquarium.  (You can read more about Calypso's story here.)

Allie spent about an hour posing with Calypso and learned lots of fun facts during the process.  She learned that Calypso loves Brussels sprouts and carrots and that the fish like to follow her around to wash her.  At one point, Calypso went way down to the bottom of her tank and fell asleep.  Whenever Allie goes to bed, she gets her stuffed Baby, a cup of water, and a book.  When Calypso fell asleep, Allie noted that she was "night-night" with her water but no book!  She started asking the aquarium staff to get her a book!  "More book!  More book!"  Allie was just looking out for her new buddy.

One of the aquarium's photos of Calypso

I didn't get any photos of Allie with Calypso but they said they would send me copies of all of theirs.

The next stop was to visit the dolphins.  We had kind of hyped Allie up on the idea of getting to pet the dolphins, which turned out not to be true.  Oops!  So, when we got to the big tank to meet them she wanted to get in the water right away. "Allie in!  In water!  Allie in water!"  But, what Allie did get to do was participate in the dolphins' training class.  A trainer came and taught Allie how to give hand signals to the dolphins, including how to ask the dolphins to blow bubbles (two fingers out like you were telling someone you wanted two of something) and how to make the dolphins nod yes (flicking your pointer finger up and down).  Allie was a natural and really liked making the dolphins blow bubbles.  Allie loved it and I got to take lots of photos during the class.

The aquarium's media person said that they would really like to share Allie's story too, if we didn't mind.  Which, of course we don't.  It was a really fun morning and a great experience for her.  Allie then got to go to school and tell all her friends about hanging out with Calypso and the dolphins, which I think made it even more fun for her.

Allie's story and calendar spread should be done by late-August or early-September.  I can't wait to see it and share it then!

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