During our visit to the West Coast, we spent a few days in sunny San Diego. Our trip would not be complete without visiting one of San Diego’s top destinations for the last 50 years: SeaWorld San Diego.
Visiting SeaWorld San Diego was one of the highlights of our family vacation to California. We are huge fans of aquariums and amusement parks, and SeaWorld is an excellent combination of both. We hope that after reading the highlights of our visit, you, too will want to visit SeaWorld.
One Ocean Killer Whale Show
This is what coming to SeaWorld is all about! I’ve grown up learning about Shamu, and seeing killer whales on television. These are enormous beautiful creatures. It was great being able to see them in action with my husband, daughter and mom.
The Killer Whale Show was inclusive of educating attendees about Killer Whales – their physiology, trainer interaction, and more. There was a fun trainer session that would get you soaked if you sat in the “Splash Section”. The sun is hot, and we would have welcomed being soaked, but the whale’s splashes never touched us.
Documentaries have surfaced surrounding SeaWorld’s treatment of sea animals like the whale, and have also exposed whale violence against the trainers due allegedly due to this treatment. I noticed that during our visit, the trainers were not as hands-on as done previously, nor did they enter the water with the whales. I would have liked to have been able to speak with the trainers regarding what I saw in the documentaries, and whether or not the allegations incited the changes we saw during our visit. Maybe next time.
When entering SeaWorld San Diego, we were welcomed by several touch pools known as “Explorers Reefs”. This hands-experience is almost three-years old, and features four different touch pools allowing guests like you and me interact with a variety of fish, including 400 brown-banded and white-spotted bamboo sharks, and more than 4,000 cleaner fish.
Our favorite were the cleaner fish. These fish are known to clean dead skin cells from other fish. As we stuck our hands in the touch pool of cleaner fish, we could feel a gentle, slight tickling feeling from them cleaning the dead skin off of our hands.
Over the last 50 years, SeaWorld San Diego’s Rescue Team has taken in and cared for more than 16,000 marine animals. The goal of the rescue program is to rescue, rehabilitate and return animals to the wild, giving them a second chance at life.
The husband and I are elated that our daughter shares our love for rollercoasters. She’s been going on rollercoasters since she was big enough to ride them. Although SeaWorld San Diego has two rollercoasters, Manta and Journey to Atlantis, we were only able to ride one. Manta has a 48” height requirement that at the time, Mini Me did not yet meet. But, we were able to make it up with several rides on Journey to Atlantis, as it had a 42” height requirement.
Journey to Atlantis ended up being one of our favorite rides at the park. It is a water ride and rollercoaster combined into one super soaking, thrill machine. This was the ride that had me screaming to my husband, “Did you know it did this?” The ride had me thinking it was malfunctioning. I thought it was over, after the 60-foot plunge into the pool below, but no! Slowly, we were pulled through the pond gently, and then we entered a dimly lit plunge tower building, and then this sucker begins to flood! We are then rolled out of this dark abyss, and carried to the top where we rock from side to side. Once we reach the top, sliding doors open, and we roll down a 70’ curved drop. It was both a scary and fun experience. For me, it was too scary to ride again, but since our five-year-old loved it, and wanted to ride it repeatedly, I had to put on my big girl pants, and do it.
Mini me enjoyed riding Abby’s Sea Star Spin, which is SeaWorld’s version of the classic spinning teacup ride. This was not one of my favorites, as I got insanely dizzy and nauseous. We were in control of how much we spun, and with Mini Me and the husband taking the wheel, we spun way too much for my liking.
Elmo’s Flying Fish was another ride we enjoyed. It’s an up and down flying ride that features seven different types of fish: Pig, Angel, Zebra, Clown, Cat, Dog, and Swordfish.
I must admit that after watching a few documentaries surrounding SeaWorld, I was on the fence about visiting the park. I am pretty sure that some of you have had to re-think a visit as well. I must say that after visiting I was impressed with the education provided, along with the care and knowledge shown by the staff to the animals. That said, take a trip, and see for yourself what SeaWorld San Diego is really like. It is sure to be a fun visit. Like me, you just may change your mind, too!
New to SeaWorld San Diego in 2017
Natural Orca Encounters – part of the park’s ongoing commitment to education, marine science research and the rescue of marine animals. The new encounters will focus on orca enrichment, education, care and respect.
Ocean Explorer – will combine multiple aquariums, exciting rides and digital technologies to engage park guests in an experience centered on exploration and adventure inspiring them to protect the wonders of our oceans.
Electric Ocean – a new nighttime summer celebration, will light up the park after dark.
Visit SeaWorld for ticket and park information here. There you will find discounts on tickets, passes, and other extras.
Disclosure: SeaWorld San Diego provided Beauty and the Bump with four complimentary tickets for review purposes only. All opinions are my own and are honest. Please review our disclosure page for more information.