As part of our recent little family trip to San Diego, we visited Sea World San Diego! It’s been a long-time favorite of mine. In fact, for many years my dream job was to be one of the animal trainers (dolphin or Shamu) and I very nearly became a marine biologist! 😉 So, whenever we are able to get in a trip to Sea World, it’s good with me! With San Diego being only about a 6 hour drive from Phoenix, it’s definitely a popular destination. So, I thought I’d share with you our “Top 10” favorite must-do things at Sea World San Diego (in no particular order)!
1. Shamu underwater viewing – This is one of my favorite things! Located just outside Shamu Stadium, this can be such a magical experience! When we’ve gone, it’s rarely ever been busy down there. So, it’s great for kids to get an up-close view. This time we loved seeing the baby born on Valentine’s Day! If you get lucky, you can snag some amazing photos. The one above is one of my all-time favorites! 2. Ride Manta. If you like coasters, this one is a must-do! It was SOOOOOO much fun! It’s definitely not one that the little kiddos can ride, but for those that meet the height requirement, it is awesome!!! We were lucky to be traveling with my parents this time, so they could watch the boys while Mr. Mom Endeavors and I rode! And, we both loved it! Super fun! 3. Petting Stingrays. Along with the Manta ride, Sea World San Diego has a new updated “Forbidden Reef” area! It’s perfect that the ride queue and the rays are basically all in one main location. So, those not riding the ride, can have a great experience waiting for those that are (or you can just go see the rays without having anyone do the ride at all). I’m a big fan of immersive, hands-on experiences, so I love the giant area to touch the rays. For an added fee, you can even feed them, which just adds to the experience. The boys were content to do this for quite sometime! 4. The Tide Pools. These are another great place for hands-on experiences! The tide pools are full of star fish and sea urchins. For kids (and adults) that can’t have wild/natural tide pool experiences, this is great!
5. Feeding the sea lions. Just like with the rays & tide pools above, there is something extra special about interacting with the animals. So, when you go over to see the sea lions, it worth the extra cost to buy some fish! If nothing else, you might just get a little show and hear some excellent sea lion noises. This one was quite the ham–flapping, waving, and making its presence VERY known! Something about the “squeaky sea lion gets the fish” or something like that! 😉
6. Clyde & Seamore Show. Speaking of sea lions, the Clyde and Seamore show has long been one of my favorites! The timing didn’t work out for us on this trip, but it is always hilarious and great fun for everyone!!
7. Wild Arctic. I have loved this exhibit since it opened. Here, you can see beluga whales, walruses, and polar bears. It’s a great place to spend time in. And, on a hot summer day, I love how nice and cool it is inside this area!
8. Rocky Point/Dolphin Point. At certain times in the past, you were always able to feed the dolphins. Sadly, this time, they was not something they were offering. I’m not sure if they’ve completely done away with it or it just wasn’t something they were doing that day. But, even without the feeding, getting a chance to see dolphins so close up (and maybe even touch one if they’re feeling extra inquisitive and friendly) is amazing! Kids especially seem to LOVE this area! While you’re in that area, the sea otters are super cute too!!
9. Ride the Skytower! If you’ve never been to Sea World and/or this is your first visit to the San Diego area, I highly recommend going up in the Skytower. It’s a slow moving ride, that guest of all ages can enjoy and on a clear day, you can get amazing views of not just Sea World but miles and miles of Southern California!
10. The “Shamu” show! This is iconic Sea World and probably the most famous part of the parks, so it is a definite must! Over the years, the show has changed (no more trainers in the water with the animals). But, it is still wonderful and amazing. The boys of course LOVE when “Shamu” gets to splash. Someday, we are going to sit in the very front row! 😉 A word of advice…when Sea World says this is a soak zone, they KNOW what they are talking about. It doesn’t mean you will get wet, but you can indeed get drenched…yes, even in the very last row of the soak zone. We usually sit in the last 3 rows of the soak zone. Somehow, we’ve never gotten hit. But, wow, some people get drenched. And, it’s SO funny to watch people’s shocked reactions that they are actually getting drenched! So, if you only have time for one show and have never been to Sea World before, I think this is the one to pick!
And, in addition to all that, Sea World San Diego has some very-fun sounding new attractions, like Aquatica (a new water park) and Madagascar Live! Operation: Vacation (a new show). They are also working on some renovations to the whole front entry of the park that look like they are going to be amazing!!! That is slated to open in Spring of 2014 and I can’t wait to see the changes!
Have YOU been to Sea World San Diego? What are YOUR favorite attractions?
Disclosure: My family received free admission courtesy of Sea World San Diego (thank you!!!) for the purposes of review. All of our opinions, experiences, photos, love of Sea World and the animals are all our own!!