Birthday party with Tigers and Dolphins

One of my nieces just turned eight, so to celebrate her birthday we went to Kolmårdens Djurpark for two days. It was a lot of fun, especially the tiger and dolphin shows. I really liked that the guides and performers took time to stand and talk with us. Other highlights were the bird show and the pirate seal show. If you have a chance, find a day in your calendar with great weather and go there. A tip, during holidays Friday to Sunday has less people than normal week days. Go figure!

Here are some of my favourite photos from the middle one’s birthday trip.

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Jonathan, Sandra and my three nieces.
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Waiting for the Birds of Prey show to start. They had a great combination of theatre people and animal trainers.
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One of the animal trainers with Berguven (The Eagle Owl)
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We did a stop at one of the many play areas at Kolmården.
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Jonathan having a great time.
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Bamse is a cartoon that a lot of us grew up with as kids. He is the world’s strongest bear. A part of the park is dedicated to Bamse and his friends with lots of rides for the kids.
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Jonathan has just got two small green twigs pushed into his hat, giving him two horns.
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The girls had skipped Friday candy and saved up some money that they could spend at the park. The oldest one bought some cool new sunglasses.
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Daddy Jonathan approves.
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The EMS hats you can see are sponsored by Jonathan’s company: Energi och Miljöstrategi. If you need a wind power plant built, or measurements of wind, check out his company’s webpage.
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Me and the middle one, the day before her birthday.
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Lions resting in the shade as we passed in the cableway overhead.
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Dolphin time. They have three pools, this is one where you can observe the dolphins swim under water.
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The show starts with a dramatic jump.
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Dolphins splashing water.
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One of the trainers saying hi to the audience.
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The dolphins were passing this red ball back and forth between themselves.
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Dolphin diving.
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As part of the show the dolphins splashed water on the front row of the audience.
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After the show some of the trainers lingered behind. Here Laura Riem answering questions and playing with one of the dolphins.
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Crazy family back out in the sun!
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The little one comes prepared, candy and toothbrush!
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Day two. Waking up at Vildmarkshotellet. Time to open birthday presents.
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My present to the family was a close encounter with the tigers. There were private guided tours you could book, where you got to get up close with the animals.
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Inside the bus in the photo above with Caroline, one of the animal trainers.
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The tiger tongue has lots of little spikes, helping them lick up the meat bit by bit.
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One of the female tigers outside the cage. We were told to watch out in case one of the male tigers would come and turn his back towards us, because he might unleash a stream of smelly tiger urine.
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There were some glass windows, and some metal fences where the trainers could pass food to the tigers.
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Mirroring poses.
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Our guide Caroline in the foreground, and Demian Clardon the other animal trainer in the background.
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Tiger nap time.
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After the tigers we walked around in the park, here passing the elephant enclosure.
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After lunch we returned to the dolphins for a second round with VIP seats at the front for the birthday girl.
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Close encounter with a curious dolphin.
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One of the trainers hitching a dolphin ride. On the big projector in the background they had an island and full moon projected.
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The middle one is mesmerised.
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Dolphin jump. They had some great lights for the show.
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Surfing on dolphins.
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Two dolphins head butting two balls hanging from the roof.
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Dolphins are quite acrobatic, here a double somersault.
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End of the show. The trainers told us that they mix up the programme every time, to keep the animals alert and interested.
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A happy birthday girl!
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Time to say goodbye to the dolphins and head out into the sun again.
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After some rides and ice cream it was time for another water show, this time with seals.
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They had a pirate themed seal show.
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The little one approves. Good fun!
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The pirate captain Sjösjuk (Captain Seasick) had at one point talked about three seals while holding up four fingers. The girls bumped into her after the show and had a great time discussing maths.
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Two bears sharing a horse tail.
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Spot the niece among the trolls.
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We ended the day at the petting zoo.
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A few final group photos before I had to say goodbye and head off to catch my bus and train to Stockholm.
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A big happy birthday to my niece and thanks for two great days at Kolmården!

— Johannes

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