Sea World San Diego Offers a Fun Day Out For the Whole Family

Appropriately located on the gorgeous San Diego coast, Sea World successfully mixes the fun and excitement of a theme park with the educational aspects of an aquarium.

Sea World features three rides, a children’s play area, numerous aquarium-type exhibits and a great variety of live entertainment/ shows. The aquarium areas are nicely done; signs explain interesting details about the sea life on display. The hands-on touch pools have staff available to answer questions and provide information on the types of sealife in the touch pool. At the Ray touch pool (called Forbidden Reef), buy some fish to feed the rays. You can do the same at Rocky Point Preserve to feed the dolphins. Pet the colorful starfish at the Tide Pool.

There are three rides included in the price of admission (there are two additional rides available at a fee– Bayside Skyride and Skytower Ride). Shipwreck Rapids is a raft ride and Journey to Atlantis is a log-style water ride / roller coaster. You are almost certain to get wet! The Wild Arctic is a helicopter simulator ride which takes you over a beautiful Artic Landscape (but watch out for the winter storm blowing in…it’s going to be a rough ride!).

To truly experience what Sea World has to offer, take the time to go to the shows. Pets Rule has a variety of non-sea animals; some of whom were rescued from shelters. There are shows at the Dolphin Stadium, Sea Lion and Otter Stadium and Shamu Stadium (if the park is open into the night, you will have a chance to see different shows at these stadiums- I highly recommend the Shamu Rocks show).

As with other theme parks, there are plenty of opportunities to buy snacks and souvenirs throughout the park. There are also sit-down restaurants. We found them to be priced in-line with other similar parks; not cheap but not as expensive as Disney parks. The kids were happy to find a variety of souvenirs in their price range. Overall I thought the souvenir prices were very reasonable. If your children love Build-a-Bear or similar, be sure to stop in at Wild Creations to have your own Shamu or dolphin stuffed. Other things to do while at Sea World: play at the new Sesame Street Bay of Play and visit the Clydesdales.

We found the staff to be friendly and informative. There seemed to be plenty of employees around to answer questions. Though large, the park is well sign-posted so it is pretty easy to find your way around. Be sure to grab a park map as you enter the facility; it’s a big help. There are restrooms conveniently located throughout; including several family restrooms. The only negatives we found were the length of the ride lines and the parking lot. Because there are only 3 included rides, the lines tend to be quite long. Try to ride the rides while others are at shows. The lines were a bit shorter then. If you stay until park closing, expect to have a long wait getting out of the parking lot. We found the people to be rude and aggressive as we tried to exit. The parking lot was not well sign posted to encourage easy exiting of this large amount of vehicles.

Though not included in the general admission price, I highly recommend reserving a spot to Dine with Shamu. Though the price might seem overwhelming at first glance, we found this to be the highlight of our Sea World trip. Breakfast with Shamu is a bit cheaper and an amazing way to start your day at Sea World. We were seated pool side, where we could see perfectly how the trainers interact with “Shamu”. At the same time we were served a very tasty buffet breakfast. Well worth the price!

As if a great day with your family isn’t enough to feel good about, here is an interesting tidbit of information to make you feel even better about the money spent on admission to the park. Sea World is involved in the rescue and recovery of injured and endangered sea life. Most of the sea life they help is eventually returned to its natural habitat, while a few sea animals will stay on at the park (based upon necessity).

Sea World San Diego is located at 500 Sea World Drive. Their phone number is 800.257.4268. Ticket prices begin at $59 for adults and $49 for children. There is a AAA discount available or check the Entertainment Book for a discount coupon. Parking is $10 per day. If you are leaving and returning the same day, just show your parking receipt when you re-enter the parking lot. There is preferred parking available for $15. This is worth the extra if you are arriving later in the day when the parking lot if already quite full. Sea World’s hours vary greatly depending on time of year and day of the week. Contact them for an updated schedule.