When planning your activities in San Diego, Seaworld is a safe bet for a successful family outing. The next time you find yourself in San Diego with kids, be sure to visit this smoothly-operated aquatic amusement park, as my family did in the early days of summer. Certainly Seaworld is a destination for many thousands of tourists, which is immediately evidenced as you walk through the parking lot and observe the diverse license plates from all over the United States.
Once inside, it is easy to obtain accessible and helpful maps just inside the turnstile which display the various exhibits and show schedules. Easily identifiable crew members wander the park, ready to answer questions and give directions. Virtually everyone we encountered, from the ride operators to the food service workers were perpetually cheerful and friendly which helps increase the enjoyment of the day.
Kids marvel at seeing live polar bears!
When you visit Seaworld, wear appropriate clothing for a few soakings, since many of the park’s attractions involve getting wet! We walked through the Animal Zone and saw some amazing lizards and a huge rabbit as well as other seldom seen creatures such as llamas.
Next we went to one of the park’s main attractions—Journey to Atlantis. Our wait was not too long, and soon we were splashing along in a small boat, with occasional water cannons giving us a good dousing of water. The boat enters a darkened room and an elevator whisks it up several stories before the boat takes the main plunge.Depending on your seating in the boat, you can end up anywhere from drenched to barely damp. On a typical hot San Diego day, some cool water is usually welcome.
Next we visited the Arctic zone, complete with some very active Beluga whales and Polar Bears. Another highlight is the massive Walrus that swims and ambles around on shore. Next to the Arctic zone is the Penguin Encounter complete with all sizes and types of penguins. A large landscape is made to look like a glacier, and visitors can view the penguins standing around in groups or running about solo. Some even jump in the water for a cool dip. An usher keeps the crowds going in the right direction and an elevated seating area gives those who want to spend extra time at the exhibit a chance to do so.
One of the park’s newer attractions, the mighty Manta is a fast-moving roller-coaster, now with a fairly long line, as compared to the park’s more typically shorter waits. Still, this line is nothing like the length of a typical Disneyland line. Although the wait for the Manta is a little longer, once in the coaster, it takes off like a bullet. Smooth and quiet, the Manta hurtles along the track, taking sharp turns at extreme angles until everyone on board screams. While not a long ride, the thrills are intense and worth the wait in line.
My family ate lunch at the Shipwreck café, an elaborate model of a wrecked ship that houses not just the café, but also the Shipwreck Rapids inner tube ride. Some tables at the café can even see the inner tubes flash past every few minutes on their way to a thorough splashing from the waterfall. In addition to kid favorites like chicken strips, hamburgers, and hot dogs, this café also had generous plates of fruits and extra large desserts.
After lunch we spent some time at the tide pools where starfish can be seen and handled. Many other aquariums and exhibits fill out the park for visitors to explore many forms of aquatic life—fish, fowl, and mammal, including Shamu the killer whale, the entertaining sea otters, many energetic dolphins, and a favorite of many, the sharks.
Most of the exhibits, shows, and food at Seaworld exceed common expectations, and a multi-day pass may be required to experience all of the park’s high-quality offerings. Trams loft one up above the bay, and a central tower rises high above the park to give riders an unforgettable view. Incredible shows, including those featuring Shaumu, fill large arenas several times throughout the day. High jumping dolphins, well trained sea lions, killer whales, and even some very talented dogs and cats will keep a family entertained for several hours. The park is open until 11:00 pm, and as we were leaving at sunset, families were still just arriving, some coming to witness the intense fireworks display showing each night.
A visit to Seaworld is destined to please every member of your family, especially those who love sea life, and there are plenty of educational, entertaining, and even thrilling attractions to experience. Discounts on tickets are sometimes available, so be certain to look online seasonally for coupons or special offers. Cool off from the hot San Diego sun and enjoy a wet and exciting day at Seaworld!
The Sesame Street Bay of Play offers cute rides for kids
Lovely, unusual creatures can be found within the Animal Connections exhibit