Cen­tre’s new look amazes

South Western Times - - Season's Greetings - Phil Coulthard

It’s fi­nally ready! The new and im­proved Dol­phin Dis­cov­ery Cen­tre will open its doors to the gen­eral pub­lic for the first time on Satur­day and I can as­sure all of you that the in­te­rior is just as im­pres­sive as the out­side ar­chi­tec­ture.

The work put in by the ar­chi­tects, en­gi­neers and builders has been noth­ing short of spec­tac­u­lar and the DDC staff and vol­un­teers are now work­ing around the clock to get the cen­tre ready for the Christ­mas hol­i­days.

And it ap­pears the dol­phins are also ex­cited about the new fa­cil­ity with record dol­phin vis­its to the cen­tre’s In­ter­ac­tion Zone recorded through­out Novem­ber and De­cem­ber.

For those who are new to Bun­bury, the In­ter­ac­tion Zone is a des­ig­nated area where peo­ple and dol­phins have in­ter­acted for al­most 30 years.

It is lo­cated di­rectly in front of the cen­tre and is un­der li­cence from the De­part­ment of Bio­di­ver­sity, Con­ser­va­tion and At­trac­tions (DBCA). As part of the con­di­tions of li­cence, the cen­tre has main­tained daily dol­phin visit records since 1990 and last month recorded 174 vis­its from 20 dif­fer­ent dol­phins over 28 days.

This eas­ily sur­passes the pre­vi­ous record of 156 vis­its recorded in Novem­ber 2012 and 131 vis­its in 1996.

In­cred­i­bly, a sim­i­lar record was set ear­lier in the year dur­ing pre­lim­i­nary ground­work con­struc­tion of the new cen­tre. With the con­stant move­ment of ma­chin­ery, noise and vi­bra­tion gen­er­ated from the con­struc­tion work, the re­sponse of dol­phin at­trac­tion rather than avoid­ance took us all by sur­prise with record break­ing vis­its in both Fe­bru­ary and March.

Ini­tially we thought this was sim­ply a co­in­ci­dence, how­ever the record-break­ing months of Novem­ber and De­cem­ber sug­gest the dol­phins are just as cu­ri­ous and no doubt as equally im­pressed as we are.

Ei­ther way, the boom in dol­phin vis­its is a huge bonus lead­ing into an­other busy sum­mer school hol­i­day pe­riod and more im­por­tantly, for the open­ing of Bun­bury’s Dol­phin Dis­cov­ery Cen­tre this week­end.

Gen­eral en­try into the cen­tre cafe/restau­rant, grounds and beach In­ter­ac­tion Zone is now free of charge and the view is noth­ing short of world class.

Of course there are costs to en­ter the in­ter­pre­tive area which boasts state-of-the-art aquar­i­ums, a new the­atre, feed­ing pre­sen­ta­tions and hands-on in­ter­ac­tive dis­plays.

The dol­phin sight­see­ing Eco-Cruises and swim tours are also op­er­at­ing daily with boat tours run­ning from 8am un­til 3pm weather per­mit­ting.

There will also be a fun-filled school hol­i­day pro­gram for the kids start­ing the first week of Jan­uary and the Bun­bury City Tram Tours will also kick off after Christ­mas.

For more in­for­ma­tion on the cen­tre’s re­de­vel­op­ment, fa­cil­i­ties and pro­gram of events, visit the web­site or Face­book pages or bet­ter still, head on down this week­end to meet the dol­phins and en­joy the best food, cof­fee and views in the South West.

Pic­ture: Hen­der­son Pho­to­graph­ics

Record num­bers of dol­phins have been vis­it­ing the In­ter­ac­tion Zone.

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