Sea World or SeaWorld — Either Way You See World-Class Shows!
SeaWorld Quiz Question #1
What do Big Bird, Elmo and a Clydesdale horse have in common?
Answer: They are pretty much the only residents of SeaWorld who don’t spend most of their time in the water.
At this wonderful theme park in San Diego’s Mission Bay the stars are real animals. Disneyland has fantasy animals acting like people. At SeaWorld you’ve got real animals acting with people! In fact, their motto is “As Real As It Gets”. This place has done a terrific job of making nature accessible, interesting, and cool — especially the Penguin Encounter!
SeaWorld Quiz Question #2
Where can current and past members of the military visit and not only receive free admission to a world-class theme park, but also are publicly honored at the beginning of a major entertainment show starring a killer whale?
Answer: SeaWorld. Free admission to the military: Pretty cool, courtesy of Anheuser-Busch.
The Guru’s SeaWorld Vacation Recommendations
Let’s say hypothetically that you are traveling with cynical, too-cool adolescents or teenagers, perhaps wishing they could be home or in the hotel room playing their Xbox One (or a husband who wishes he was golfing or sportfishing).
The first thing you do upon arrival at SeaWorld is to find out when the next available Shamu Show “Believe” is scheduled. It’s probably around 11 am. And make sure you sit in the first say 12 rows (don’t try this on a cold winter day).
If the kids ask about getting splashed, just say it’s not that bad. But make sure you cover the cameras and phones. No, I mean really cover the electronics, like with plastic. Try to be discrete when you put on the poncho; tell them you just like the way it makes you look thinner.
And then don’t miss the kids’ reaction when they get utterly plastered by Shamu, the tamer of cynical teenagers. You see, people think they’ll get splashed a bit, especially in the first couple of rows. Six or eight rows back? No worries, maybe a drop or two.
They warn you, but if you have not been at one of these shows, you have no idea of the “fire hose” that’s coming when Shamu and friends decide it’s time to get you wet. Actually, to see the power and intelligence and apparent sense of humor of these majestic creatures is enough to humble the coolest of characters.
Then, you spend the rest of the day drying off.
But the kids’ attitudes will probably be a lot better after Shamu shows ’em who’s boss.
By the way, Shamu is an Orca killer whale. Well, actually Shamu is the stage name for a half-dozen of these beautiful mammals who live and perform in Shamu Stadium. The original Shamu was the star at SeaWorld in the 1960s.
Enough of the Introduction
What do you want to know about having the best day(s) at SeaWorld? The park is located in Mission Bay, just north of downtown San Diego and is pretty convenient to most area hotels. The mild weather and ocean breeze make it a very desirable attraction on hot summer days (when Six Flags Magic Mountain and Universal Studios Hollywood are just a little on the warm side).
You will have a wonderful time at SeaWorld as long as you don’t go expecting the thrill rides of Knott’s or Six Flags, or the sheer number of attractions of Disneyland. In some ways it’s similar to Universal Studios in that it does have some fun action rides, but that the park leans more towards shows as entertainment.
Would you like to be able to use an interactive map of the park? You might find it helpful in better understanding your options; here is the link to the interactive map.
If you are a nature lover and can’t get enough of wildlife, you will totally be in your element and might need more than one day. If you are more middle-of-the-road on those things, you’ll still have a memorable day; but relax, enjoy the wide variety of shows, attractions, exhibits and action rides and the beautiful park grounds (and weather). Spread out the action events through the day if you have folks who get antsy spending too much time watching stuff.
The folks at SeaWorld excel at bringing the guest up close to the real environment in which dolphins, whales, penguins, sharks, and a bunch of other animals live. So there several big shows to be seen at regular intervals throughout the day, and there are also more modest exhibits scattered around the park.
You can sign up for Dolphin Encounter, dining with Shamu and a number of other special features. There are several nighttime shows that make it worthwhile to stay into the evening; apparently the whales and dolphins are night owls and enjoy entertaining crowds day and night.
Hey, here’s a neat SeaWorld page with lots of interesting information about the animal kingdom.
SeaWorld is one of three such parks around the U.S; the other two are in San Antonio and Orlando. Both are nice cities and offer one summer feature that San Diego lacks: humidity.
You just can’t beat San Diego weather!
There are around 20 places to get food inside the park. All of them are “private label” establishments; that is you won’t find Panda Express or Subway. But there is a pretty good degree of variety, with specialty breakfast options (Breakfast with Shamu or Breakfast with Elmo and Friends) and healthy choices (Rocky Point Café) to The Deli and the Calypso Bay Smokehouse. You can find snacks and drinks throughout the day.
You can find shorter lines if you buy your meal during the Shamu Show especially, and to a lesser extent during the other shows. So plan to attend the Shamu Show before or after your intended dining hour. Another idea would be to get a meal and take it to the stadium, eating it while you wait for the show. It’s a good way to kill time if you come early to get a seat down front.