Dolphin Tale

This family film is so much fun. Your kids will love it—and so will you!

We saw Big Miracle a few months ago, and while I liked it, it wasn’t exactly what I thought it would be. It was a better movie for adults to appreciate than for kids. As it was released around the same time as Dolphin Tale—which was marketed as a kids’ movie—I suppose I just made the connection myself.

Our homeschool groups vehemently supported the film, which made me wary of it initially since one group is pretty religious. I don’t care for Bible-thumping movies, despite the fact that I live in Missouri. That said, I am pleased to report that Dolphin Tale is anything but. It’s the story of a dolphin who gets caught in fishing nets—as dolphins do so often—and nearly dies. A middle-aged man and a young boy find her on the beach and report her to a nearby marine biology center, where she is taken in and cared for by a compassionate team of doctors.

The boy is fascinated with the dolphin and visits her, and they develop a rapport. Despite so many setbacks—not wanting to eat, having to have her tail removed due to infection, learning to swim with a stub, and more—the dolphin proves to be as determined and sentient as any being. In fact, the point that dolphins are considered people by many scientists is made.

I also love the take on schooling versus homeschooling in the movie, especially when the boy’s mom points out that he is learning much more every day when taking care of this dolphin than he would sitting in a class. Indeed, that is how most homeschoolers view our lives—we live all day, every day, and we don’t have to go to a special room to learn!—and I hope that this movie helped to convey that to people who are wary of homeschoolers. The little girl who homeschools in the movie is just delightful and reminds me of several girls I know in our co-op.

But the movie is more than a champion of homeschooling—which is really only mentioned once in the movie; it’s a story of friendship, courage, and camaraderie between humans and animals. There is a tale about how dolphins came to be, and how a legend says that they used to be humans, in the movie that I’d never heard of and I really enjoyed that, too. Plus, there’s plenty of good music, as well as laughs, to be had in the film, which children will really appreciate.

Big Miracle

This moving story is a great family film.

We have been renting a lot of family films lately since it has been so hot outside, and while a couple of them were duds, others have been real winners. I’ve already written about how much we enjoyed We Bought a Zoo, a film I wouldn’t mind watching again; today I’d like to recommend another animal-related film that we watched just last night, Big Miracle.

Big Miracle is the story of three whales—a family dubbed Fred, Wilma, and Bam Bam by the locals—trapped beneath the ice in Alaska. The trio were stuck because temperatures froze earlier than usual, before they were able to escape, and as the ice closed around them, they faced certain death in a matter of days.

Based on a true story, the rescue of these whales started as a Greenpeace concern but quickly turned to a huge crusade featuring local Eskimo people, reporters, politicians, and even the military—both from the United States as well as Russia. It was a really gripping account at how so many became involved—for so many different reasons—yet how, by the end, a common cause united them and they were all able to find compassion for the creatures by the end of the film. (Spoiler alert to follow.)

If you have a sensitive child, you might want to wait to watch this film as one of the whales—the baby, Bam Bam—doesn’t make it due to injuries sustained trying to get air as well as pneumonia. My daughter was absolutely crushed; she is six and that is all she can still talk about, how Bam Bam died. Older children will probably still enjoy the story of how the rest of the whales survive.

That said, I think adults will appreciate how political lines didn’t matter when it ultimately came to saving these creatures from death. Yes, many were reluctant—and involved for good PR—but the outcome was so inspiring. We really can do a lot together no matter where we are coming from, and sometimes even the most misguided intentions can help attain optimal results.

I really enjoyed the ending, where they showed actual real footage of the events and news alongside the film’s footage. We also got to learn about what happened to each person in the movie, which was fun. The movie was exciting, emotional, and had a depth one might not expect; not one group of people was portrayed as all-good or all-bad, which is how humans truly are. What a fantastic piece of both art and history.

A classic tale

While mentioning the best dolphin movies in a previous post, I decided to skip one of the most classic and of course the best dolphin movies that has ever been released. I figured this movie is such a great one that it deserved an entire post about this film in itself. I’m pretty much convinced that all dolphin fans have seen this film at least once and if you haven’t, you should be heading to the video store right about now in order to change that.

The film I’m talking about is no other than ‘Flipper’. This movie was released in 1996 and it quickly became a hit among many different generations. The film is based on one particular dolphin whose name is of course, Flipper. A young boy named ‘Sandy’ is sent to the coral reefs to live with his uncle for a while. Sandy is completely outraged by this move and hates absolutely everything about the new area where he lives. He does not attempt to even build a relationship with his uncle and just wants to return home. Well- all of this changes when Sandy meets his new friend named Flipper.

While deepening his relationship with his water pal Flipper, Sandy and his uncle begin to bond as well and Sandy also learns to love his new home. It is truly a touching story and one that I’ve had the pleasure of watching many times over. I think this is one dolphin film that will always be considered the best because it’s hard to compete with this classic tale. 

What's your favorite dolphin movie?

Seeing dolphins swim during a show is a great experience, but let’s face it- it’s not something you’re going to do several times a week. So what do you do in between that time to get your dolphin fix? Mine is quite simple, watch a dolphin movie! There are quite a few different dolphin movies out there- some better than others. My favorite dolphin movie would certainly have to be ‘A dolphin tale’ which is to my knowledge one of the newest out there.

Before seeing ‘A dolphin tale’ I really enjoyed the movie ‘The Dolphin’. This movie was released in 1996 and was published in over 40 languages because of the universal love. If you’re a big dolphin fan like myself, I’m sure you’ve already seen the movie and now what a great tale it is, but for those of you who haven’t, you definitely should. It’s a great dolphin movie that can be watched over several times without ever becoming boring.

Anyway, back to ‘A Dolphin Tale’. The thing I loved most about this movie was the amazing graphics. It was fun to watch because you were able to get up close and personal with the dolphin while enjoying a captivating story. I think it’s a film that can be enjoyed among all ages and I encourage everyone to see it for themselves. I don’t own a copy of the movie yet, but once I do I plan on watching it a few more times and lending it to close family and friends so they can enjoy a great tale about a dolphin as well. 

Dolphin mating habits

We all know that many animals have some of the strangest mating habits and dolphins are not an exception. The male dolphins actually become very competitive and aggressive during mating system. While they are normally friendly towards each other, mating season changes them in this way. This is because the males are competing, hoping to win the female dolphin.. much like other animals and what seems to be even humans at times.

Female dolphins tend to only associate with few if any other female dolphins. So oftentimes if a dolphin is attracted to a female dolphin, him and his buddy will team up together in order to steal the female dolphin away from the group. Once the female moves on to the new group, they won’t go back to their previous group again.

While scientist once believed that dolphins had only 1 mate for life, more evidence has revealed that dolphins actually have several mates throughout their lifetime. This is because dolphins often change up their group, unless they are in a small area of water. For instance, dolphins who are kept captive with just a few other dolphins will typically stay with the same mate the entire time.

Once a dolphin does give birth to its young, it’s interesting to see that the young stay with their mothers for 5-7 years! They nurse off the mother for 18 months, similar to humans. However, the male dolphin is not typically involved with the young, even if they remain in the same group.

Dolphins unique personality

Most people know that dolphins are a highly intelligent sea creature. Their intelligence makes them a common star at water shows and a friend to many trainers. Of all the mammals in the sea, the dolphin has the most unique and caring personality. Their friendly and curious personality is the main reason as to why they are constantly being put in dangerous situations such as getting caught up in fishermen nets.

Wildlife watchers love to keep their eye on the beautiful dolphin. Even wild dolphins that have had little contact with humans will often meet and greet humans, offering them a playful glance. They are a silly sea creature that enjoys having fun, acting wild and jumping in the air. Because of their social behavior, you’ll often see dolphins traveling in large groups and swimming in sync with the others.

One of their favorite activities is swimming alongside large ships. According to researchers, dolphins swim along-side these ships as a way to conserve energy and to stay out of harm’s way from their natural predators. While watching dolphins in the water, it is easy to notice how loving the animals are to one another. They often play fun water games and playfully tap one another.

The dolphin is the dog of the sea and people just adore them. Did you ever notice when you’re at the beach and people notice a group of dolphins, everyone points and gawks at the site. Not only are they unique in personality, their dark gray top, white bottom and slight curve make them a beautiful site to see.

Dolphins continue to wash up on shore


I am part of the International Fund for Animal Welfare and receive updates on a regular basis about different events that are occurring within the animal world. I knew partially that dolphins were washing up on Cape Cod shore regularly, but I didn’t realize that it was a growing problem still.

Rescue teams are spending their days in the freezing cold, trying to rescue the dolphins as they wash up on the beach. It is difficult because the dolphins are coming onto the shore so often. Officials can’t figure out why the dolphins are washing ashore, but there have been more dolphins washed up in 2012 so far, than there has ever been in any other entire year.

The Marina Mammal rescue team has yet to figure out why these occurrences are so often, but is trying to rescue as many dolphins as possible, working on a daily basis. Unfortunately, even with their best efforts, all of the dolphins can’t be saved and the team has lost many of them so far.

One dolphin in particular recently caught team member’s by the heart. The dolphin was just a baby and was very frightened and scared when the team came upon him. However, the team and their rescue equipment were able to put the dolphin back into the ocean. The dolphin showed much application, jumping and squeaking with happiness and he swam through the ocean. Although times have been hard for the rescue them during this busy time, they stated that the moments like that with the young dolphin are what makes it all worth it in the end.  

Things you may not know about dolphins

We all know that dolphins are just super cute sea creatures. But, what else do you really know about them? There are many different interesting facts that play a part in as to why dolphins are the best in the entire sea. For instance, did you know that the first generation dolphins, about 50 million years ago, lived on land and looked similar to the wolf? Yes it’s true. The animal hunted in shallow water and as it became more adapt to life in the water, the paws became flippers and so on.

That plays a part in why dolphins come to the surface every couple of minutes to get a breath of air. Dolphins can actually stay under water for 15 minutes, yet it is seldom that they do. A dolphin usually returns for a fresh breath about every 2-3 minutes, generally staying close to the surface of the water.

Another interesting fact about dolphins is how they locate food. Dolphins send out a click that is made were their mouths. The click bounces off the objects and back to them, allowing them to determine what the object is. This method is very similar to that of an echo.

As you may have noticed, dolphins swim in skools. The skool is always led by the oldest female dolphin. When they are trying to protect their young or traveling a great distance, dolphin families may join with other families in order to create a large dolphin pack and keep themselves safe from predators. 

Lovely dolphins

Dolphins are one of the most beautiful animals in the area. They are elegant, friendly and not to mention extremely smart. I’ve seen several dolphin shows and it never ceased to amaze me how clever these little guys are. The director just sits there with his whistle, blows it and off the dolphin does, gracing us with his flips and dives.

One of the neatest things I’ve heard of is swimming with the dolphins. That has to be such as awesome experience. I once swam with stingrays and while it was a neat experience- I was still fearful of them the entire time and they really are not pretty to look at. They are actually creepy- thinking back, I don’t know what would ever really possess me to take a swim with them. Anyway, I know one person who did swim with dolphins and they told me that they are very friendly creatures up close- as they are at a distance.

I do feel bad for the dolphins that are kept for shows, because I am big on animal freedom and I feel that every animal should be free to live in its proper home. All dolphins should be living in the sea- where they belong, with their fellow dolphin friends. But, as you all know, it’s going to be a long time until that happens and dolphins are given good living conditions compared to other types of captive animals. They seem to be quite comfortable with their lives, so it is not a huge issue for me. ns