TODAY | January 05, 2013
>>> i love dolphins. my kind of animal. when i was invited to a behind-the-scenes invite to the national aquarium in baltimore which included time with dolphins, i jumped at the chance. it turns out it wasn't the only thing that made me jump that day. they jump, they twirl, a lot. it turns out they like making new friends, too. go! ve very nice! helping out with the dolphins was everything i'd imagined and more. but to get to the dolphins, i first had to master the okay puss. why is the octopus the only one with a lid?
>> because octopus is somewhat of an escape artist. we're finding fish missing out another exhibit, they've figured out -- at night, it was hauling itself out --
>> you're sure we have nothing to worry about?
>> ing to to worry about -- nothing to worry about, exactly.
>> meet the giant pacific octopus . ready for a tasty fish-sicle treat.
>> place it on one of his arms.
>> anyway? hello there.
>> as long as you touch the suction cups, he can taste anything he's touching. if you want to touch him, go ahead.
>> i'm not really good with these things. that arm's coming after me. or maybe just a nibble on my arm. you'll save me, right?
>> i will save you. ah!
>> i don't think you got it there.
>> i didn't. that's the whole part -- i have to try again. oh! wow! wow! having finally bonded with the octopus, it was time to try my skills in australia. or a slice of it at least. they put me to work feeding some of the 1,800 animals who call the river gorge exhibit home. mm, black worms for the black wing . perfect, you can take it -- s>> move it around a little bit. you don't have to touch the worms. perfect.
>> maybe fruit salads are more my speed.
>> look at this --
>> the national aquarium 's goal is simple -- educate and inspire conservation. it's no surprise there's a heavy emphasis here on helping wild animals thrive.
>> i feel like we're little miracle workers .
>> the marine animal rescue program has brought in more than 270 animals. mainly seals and turtles like this little guy.
>> it's really rare to see a sea turtle nest up this far north . we brought it here, and sadly out of 162 eggs, he is the one that survived.
>> he's the only one?
>> he's about a month old. a little over a month.
>> he can probably get upwards of 300 to 400 pounds.
>> and all of these turtles will go back to the wild. that's always the goal?
>> that is always the goal.
>> unless they can't survive.
>> right. being able to see the final product and release these animals is the best experience ever.
>> with 16,000 species to care for at the national aquarium , it's no surprise this is a 24/7 operation.
>> this is not a 9 to 5 job. this is a lifestyle. i can turn my computer off at night. i can't turn them off. usually we get up in the middle of the night . we're here. and it's a blessing to get to be here and watch the animals. not a burden, it's amazing.
>> amazing, too, even when you're just here for a day. they were wonderful. big thanks to all the folks at the national aquarium . it's interesting to see the behind-the-scenes stuff. there's so much work that goes into, it preparing all of these specific foods to keep it as close as possible to their normal habitats --
>> you loved the experience so much, we want to bring in an octopus --
>> let me tell you, i am such a ninny -- i jumped back, i hit my head. i didn't swear, i was proud of myself. it's -- a suction cup , it sucks on to your hand. it's creepy. so i'm totally not cut out for that. i did promise that i will never again eat octopus.
>> how long did it take for you to break that promise?
>> no, i haven't. and i won't. no.
>> good for you.
>> yeah. i mean, that one didn't eat me. why am i going to eat the octopus?
>> wow. thoughtful.
>> thank you. that's my new