Our family has recently fallen back in love with SeaWorld San Diego, and I just have to share the tips that have been making our days there so fun! If you don’t know much about SeaWorld, here’s the low down. It’s a marine park that offers tons of different ways to view and interact with marine animals. While their true calling card is their incredible shows, they’ve also added in some thrilling rides in recent years. It’s truly an attraction for all ages and a must-do when in Southern California. Below you will find all our SeaWorld tips, from how to prepare to what to do once you are actually in the park!
Sea World Tips to Help You Prepare
Always Buy Your Tickets in Advance
We recommend buying tickets in advance for any theme park when possible. Mostly because it starts your day off on the right foot when you don’t have to worry about anything besides getting inside the park. However, there is one other big perk. Buying in advance also often saves you money. Our favorite place to snag discount tickets is undercover tourist, they typically have the best prices. However, You can check out all of the ways you can save money on SeaWorld tickets here!
We know sometimes it just isn’t possible to take off school and work, but if you go to SeaWorld off-season or midweek you are pretty much guaranteed a good time. The crowds will be much thinner meaning you will get prime seating for shows. You also won’t have to wait very long for the rides.
Look into Adding Quick Queue
Seaworld usually has pretty manageable crowds. However, in the summer and over the holidays (when kiddos are out of school) it is worth looking into their Quick Queue option. Think Fastpass. When you pay for this addition onto your ticket, you will get to save time and skip the lines.
Pack Your Food
Hungry, thirsty kids in a theme park is the absolute worst. While SeaWorld does have some yummy food, I still say save your money and pack your lunch, snacks, and drinks. There are so many great spots around the park to stop and munch on your favorites that you’ve packed up. This is a great way to rest and completely get away from the crowds. It’s also really important to remember to bring a water bottle along! It can get pretty hot in San Diego and this is the easiest way to stay hydrated.
Some Snacks We Love:
Fage Greek Yogurt (my favorite is the Key Lime Split Cup!)
Tips for What to Do in Sea World
Our Favorite Sea World Rides
This is a serious big kid ride. The ride starts of launching you forward up a giant track only to go flying backward as the ride builds up momentum. Then you fly back up hundreds of feed and do a slow spin at the top of the track before you swing into a loop and head back to the beginning. It is quite a ride.
The Manta is a seriously fun family roller coaster! Plus, you are still surrounded by animals and birds soaking in the two best parts of SeaWorld at once. While you are waiting in line you will pass through an aquarium of manta rays! Once you’re on the ride you’ll feel like you’re rocking in the current just like a manta ray and then you’ll shoot off Around drops and quick turns! This ride is the perfect amount of exciting. For nonriders, there’s a touch pool with rays right outside.
Journey to Atlantis:
If you’re looking to head to the mystical land of Atlantis, this is probably the most thrilling way to do it. Journey to Atlantis is a water coaster that SeaWorld has somewhat recently remodeled to make very family-friendly. It’s really different from most coasters that you get on because of the water element, which makes it worth a ride. Keep in mind, there is a good chance you will get soaked!
Tidal Twister is another thrilling ride. It’s a dueling roller coaster, reminding me of the old Dueling Dragons Ride at Universal Orlando. You twist and turn as if you are riding the tide along a tight figure-8 track. This one is definitely a lot of fun and perfect if you have kids over 48″
Pro Tip – Utilize Child Swap
If you have a mixture of kids 48″ and under 48″ make sure to use Child Swap. While one parent waits off the ride with a child the other parent waits in line with the kids riding. Once they ride, the other parent can ride with their kids without waiting in line. That way your kid can ride twice.
Two trains, holding 16 passengers each, load at opposite ends of the figure-8 and cross in the center with guests facing both forward and backward on the trains. A lower-height requirement (48″) makes this a perfect ride for younger guests and families.
Sesame Street Bay of Play
If you are headed to SeaWorld with little ones, taking advantage of the Sesame Street Bay of Play is my number one tip. This area was built specifically with providing rides for young children in mind. They will enjoy that they can participate in everything, especially if they have older siblings who can ride the bigger coasters.
There are so many interactive exhibits at Sea World, you and the kids will have a blast. When you enter the park there is one where you can pet small sharks or have your fingers nibbled on by some feeder fish (it feels like a little tickle)
Here are our faves:
- Shark Encounter
- Dolphin Point
- Turtle Reef
- Explorer Reef
- Sea Lion Point
It’s All About the Shows
I am normally not the biggest fan of theme park shows, but it’s totally different at SeaWorld. The shows are an extremely important part of the overall experience, and a great way to see the animals up close. Many of their shows happen frequently throughout the day, so you should be able to work them easily into your schedule. Be sure to grab a park map on your way in for accurate showtimes. Take my tip and don’t miss these SeaWorld classics!
Sea Lions LIVE:
The sea lion show at Sea World will have you laughing out loud from start to finish. It literally feels like it is run by the animals themselves and it is amazing to witness in person how intelligent these sea lions are. Seamore, Clyde, and OP will reenact some familiar TV shows for you. They poke fun at everything from American Idol to popular cooking shows. The show is only 25 minutes long and happens frequently throughout the day, so it is easy to catch!
Also, the pre-show is pretty entertaining as the “janitor” performs a lot of entertaining lip syncing performances that will for sure have your kids laughing.
Dolphins are definitely the cool kids of the sea, right? They are funny, extremely athletic, and super intelligent, and lucky for you put it all on display in the popular SeaWorld show. It is really entertaining, but it is also great to be educated about the bond between dolphins and their trainers. Also, you will learn why dolphins are such an important part of our world. If it is a hot day be sure to send your kids down to the splash zone where they are sure to get cooled off by a splash or two!
SeaWorld has made a great effort over the last few years to educate their audience about taking care of our oceans and the animals that reside in them. One of the best tips of mine you can follow while in SeaWorld is to see their Sea Rescue show. It tells the stories of marine animals who have been rescued and rehabilitated. Best of all, they talk about the process of returning these animals to the wild when possible. I am not saying SeaWorld should be completely forgiven for the errors in their ways in the past, but it is nice to see the positive work they are doing. And, I think it is important for kiddos to see how damaging our ocean can hurt these creatures.
On a bit of a different note from the other shows, be sure to stick around for the fireworks at night. SeaWorld truly puts on a spectacular show and it is a great way to end an awesome day. The schedule varies, but they typically put on the show every Saturday during the summer. You can check the calendar here!
Tips for Booking Extras at Sea World
There is the option to add a little something extra onto your SeaWorld experience, like an animal interaction. I would definitely recommend looking into this if you’ve got an animal lover with you!
Animal Encounters: Whether you are looking to spend a little extra time with dolphins, sea lions, or otters SeaWorld makes it possible with their Animal Encounters. You will get behind the scenes tours of these animals exhibits and even feed them a snack! These experiences range from $45-$70 per person. Learn more about each of these options here!
Behind the Scenes Tour: If you are really into seeing how this park operates and looking for the VIP treatment check out some of their private tours. You will learn about everything from the animal shows to the rides at a whole new level. Call (619) 225-4201 or email SWC-Tours@SeaWorld.comto book your private tour.
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