San Diego is always a great destination for family vacations. In addition to its natural beauty with the beaches, there are a handful of excellent theme parks, like the San Diego Zoo, the Safari Park, and Legoland. However, unlike other destinations that are defined by their amusement parks, San Diego is simply enhanced by them. This last trip we explored SeaWorld; this park is always a favorite of mine as they successfully combine marine education and unique entertainment for all ages.
Tide pools provide hands-on learning for young kids
SeaWorld is much more than an amusement park
SeaWorld is much more than an amusement park. Their focus on marine education and preservation provides an insight into the life of these animals that we would otherwise miss. Plus, how can you avoid falling in love with the dolphins, otters, penguins, killer whales, and sea lions.
From the time I was little, I always remembered how cool I thought it would be to be a dolphin or killer whale trainer. Today, SeaWorld enables park guests to experience just that with their Exclusive Park Experiences, where you can interact directly with various animals in the park.
A few years ago my husband received the Dolphin Interaction Program as a gift and loved being in the water with the dolphins in a humane way.
The new “One Ocean” stage features Shamu doing impressive acrobatics
SeaWorld is perfect for peak vacation periods
Crowds and lines are simply not fun with kids. On our recent trip over winter break when all the area parks were seeing record numbers of visitors, I was delighted when my kids unanimous chose to go to SeaWorld. Huge crowds do not affect SeaWorld in the same way they do other parks because all the activities are not ride-centric. So even though the shows were packed, we didn’t have to wait in line to get into them.
It is a perfect option if you know that you will be in San Diego over a peak time (school vacations and summer.) They also have a new iPhone app that gives you wait times for the few rides they have.
Getting up close to giant fish is always a crowd pleaser
What’s new at SeaWorld this year
Besides being a worldwide leader in marine conservation, they are also constantly revamping and updating exhibits and shows to create both an educational and entertaining park.
The recent park updates included the “One Ocean” Killer Whale show with updated staging and a focus on conservation; of course, the show still highlights the amazing whales doing tricks and soaking the audience. “Blue Horizon” is the updated dolphin show that incorporates more of a Cirque du Soleil theme with acrobats and divers. There was definitely a more artsy feel to this show. The divers were my kids’ favorite. Finally, Turtle Reef provides an up-close look at the life of sea turtles displaying over 60 turtles in a 300,000–gallon coral reef habitat.
Everyone is anxiously awaiting the summer debut of Manta, the new huge roller coaster. It was under construction when we were there, but all my kids are excited for another trip back to see it.
– Park hours and specific showtimes for each day are listed on the SeaWorld website
– SeaWorld educational programs extend beyond simple visits and include camps and sleepovers
– Single park tickets online start at $65 for children and $73 for adults. Multi-day passes and combination tickets with other parks are available
Photos courtesy of Nancy Solomon
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