I got to go whale watching for the first time last weekend. It was with San Juan Safaris in Friday Harbor, Washington, and it was an absolutely amazing experience. We were lucky enough to see a small pod of 4 transient orcas which swam right next to the boat! We also saw harbour porposies, bald eagles, turkey vultures and harbour seals, too.
When one of the naturalists asked what brought us up to the San Juans, I went on about how I've always wanted to see orcas in the wild, and that the only ones I've seen before were in a tank at Sea World. So, she told us why she absolutely hates Sea World (and with just cause — they are evil) and all the terrible things I already know about animals in captivity. But it did make me think about my own love/hate relationship with zoos and aquariums. I do hate that they kidnap (and in the process sometimes kill) the animals to be displayed — there's nothing good about that. Yet on the other hand, I know that seeing them, as a child, at Shedd Aquarium — and Sea World — is what gave me the admiration and respect I have for them today. Of course I would have loved to have experienced them in the wild, but that just isn't realistic/practical for most families. And not just whales, but elephants, sharks and tigers and all types of beautiful things.
The education from experience is going to give you a better understanding, and hopefully motivate you to do something to help them.