Staffers build snowman with dolphin at aquarium

Posted at 3:03 PM, Jan 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-23 15:18:34-05

Residents across the area are snowed in Saturday, even Foster the dolphin and his team of caregivers at the National Aquarium in Baltimore.

Members of the dolphin team snapped a group photo with a snowman built during the blizzard and submitted the image to ABC2 News.

“We’re open 365 days a year because we have a living collection,” said Kate Rowe, media relations manager at the National Aquarium in Baltimore. “We’re not like a regular museum with art on the walls.”

According to Rowe, staffers care for the aquarium’s collection of nearly 20,000 animals year-round, even during blizzards and on every holiday. Teams report to work to feed, clean, check in on the animals and engage them in enrichment activities. Rowe says the dolphin team built a snowman with Foster, one of two male dolphins at the aquarium, as way to keep his mind sharp.

Find complete snow coverage here

“Building a snowman is enrichment for the animals, just like playing with a dog,” she said. “They’re really smart animals. It’s like learning for them and it’s fun.”

With the blizzard continuing to hit hard, there’s plenty of playtime snow, which Rowe says is perfect for dolphins.

“One of the other things they like to do is eat ice,” she said. “They love ice, so [the dolphin team] is probably making snowballs right now and tossing them to him. It’s one of their favorite things.”

The team submitted the photo to ABC2 as a way to show off their work and commitment to the animals, and to have a little fun.

“They put in a lot of hours,” Rowe said. “One of the benefits of the job is you get to work, but you also get to play in the snow.”