Heading to Sea World San Diego for a day of adventure and fun? Then you’ll want the low-down on all the fun stuff to do and see there! Whether it’s the dolphin and whale shows, touching crabs and stingrays, or riding roller coasters, Sea World has it all! Here’s what you should check out at this theme park on your next trip with the family and kids!
When writing this blog post, I debated to call it “My Epic Fail at Sea World” but decided it was a bit too gloomy of a title, so instead decided to go with something super basic like “A Day at Sea World San Diego”!
So before I get into the saga about the biggie mishap at Sea World, let’s start off with a little history.
Years ago when the kids were little (to give you a reference point, our son couldn’t even walk and he’s now almost 12), we had annual “Fun Cards” to Sea World and went a handful of times, but mostly did the “little kid” Sesame Street type of rides and attractions.
Now that our kiddos are all in their teens (or almost there), I received a couple of free passes and decided to take the kids by myself for the day.
If you know anything about my family, we (or maybe just me) are a Type A, super serious, “the early bird gets the worm” sort of fam when it comes to visiting amusement parks because we know the best time for the shortest lines is the very first hour, so luckily for us, Sea World San Diego is not far from where we live.
So, we were able to arrive right at opening time. (which in my book is really “late”…I normally like to get to any theme park a good half an hour before the gates open, but since I was parenting solo this day, I thought I’d try to be “laid back mom”, which meant arriving at opening time.)
Upon entering the park, the kids were immediately drawn to an area called “Explorer’s Reef” where they have several hands-on experiences of touching various marine life in small pools of water.
For my kids, one area stood out from the rest and it was the “Feeder Fish” pool.
These tiny little creatures eat plant and animal matter off of various surfaces, so if you stand real still (and you have a lot of dead skin) they start gently nibbling on your hands.
I’m sure you’ve probably seen similar things on TV where Feeder Fish are used in exotic pedicures in other countries.
The kind and patient employees at Sea World reminded us, patrons, to keep our shoes on!
This was a “hands-on” activity only!
Feeder Fish Verdict:
My kids L-O-V-E-D it!
Mind you, they aren’t little preschoolers who find everything novel and exciting, they are way- too-cool-for-school teenagers who seriously couldn’t get enough, and we even went back two more times during the day!
For the record, I didn’t really dig it…I tried it for a hot second but when they started to nibble, I got a bit weirded out.
Though, I did love watching how much the Webettes enjoyed it!
We didn’t want to waste too much of our first hour here so we quickly refocused and were off to ride a few of the more popular rides before it got too crowded!
First up on the list was the “Manta” roller coaster!
In the spectrum of rides at Sea World, it’s pretty much middle of the pack thrill-wise.
Not the wildest, yet not the tamest, so it was just right for this gang!
As the kids were in line and riding “Manta”, I decided to go check out the meal packages that the park offers (I share more info and opinions about that here) because I knew it was our game plan to stay the entire day and thought it might be more economical to go that route food-wise.
WONDERING IF THE SEA WORLD DINING PACKAGE IS FOR YOU?
CHECK OUT MY HONEST REVIEW OF THE SEA WORLD DINING DEAL HERE!
The timing couldn’t have been more perfect because within a few minutes of my return after buying the food package, they were all smiles coming off the ride.
Up next is when our fun start to the day quickly took a turn for the worse….(cue, ominous music here….dat, dat, dat, dum).
After having a fab time on “Manta” the kids were ready for more!
I decided I would put this meal package to the test and go find a food vendor, and the kids headed to “Shipwreck Rapids”.
Now, this is where my innate set point as a helicopter mother should have kicked in…water ride…at 10:30 in the AM…. on a cool, overcast day, but hey, I was determined to stick with my alter ego of “laid back mom” and let the kids go for it!
I’m guessing you can see where this is going…when I got back from getting food, the kids were rolling off the ride, and they were D-R-E-N-C-H-E-D…
I’m not talking a light mist or a moderate sprinkle, but a soaked to the bone, sopping wet.
My son got the worst of it and he was not happy about it!!
Unlike the laughter and smile-filled stock photo image of the kids below, my son was practically in tears and was ticked…his day had officially been ruined!
– Houston, we have a problem…We are in FULL MELTDOWN MODE!
So this momma quickly jumped into action to try to save the day!
Since my boy was in complete and total soaking wet misery, and the girls wanted to see the dolphin performance, we decided to divide up.
I took him to find the nearest bathroom air dryers, and the girls headed to see the show.
Thank goodness Sea World has committed to helping the earth by installing air dryers everywhere instead of paper towels because we were able to spend a good 25 minutes drying his waterlogged socks, shoes, and body (his sweatshirt was a goner, just too wet even for the dryers)
And… it worked!!!
Can I get a Hallelujah!?!?!
We were back on track and ready to return to having fun at Sea World!
Honestly, the rest of the day seemed to fly by in a flash…we saw penguins, otters, sea lions, sharks, puffins, flamingos, a white beluga, and so much more!
We also rode several rides like the swings and Wild Arctic simulator.
What we DID NOT ride was the Electric Eel roller coaster.
We had been warned that it was pretty intense, and the line that day was over an hour so we decided to pass!
The closest we got was this fake photo prop!
We enjoyed a few more shows and especially liked the Sea Lion Show featuring Clyde and Seamore.
Super silly and cute…but highly entertaining!
The food at Sea World was pretty good but totally overpriced like most amusement parks.
Luckily I had paid the flat rate of $43.00 to eat all day, and I took full advantage of going about every hour for a food refuel!
If you are wondering whether the food package is worth it or not, I shared my thoughts about the pros and cons in another post here!
Although the weather was cool and overcast, and the Weber Kids were still a bit damp from the Shipwreck Rapids debacle, they were begging for Dippin’ Dots, so they indulged in an afternoon treat!
See those 3 teeny tiny little cups, those set my back over $19.00!
They loved them, and at that price, they better!!
After a few more exhibits, shows, and rides, we started winding down.
As the sun started setting, it got pretty chilly and since my son’s sweatshirt was still soaking wet and unwearable, we decided to head home about an hour before the park closed.
I did have a few takeaways from our day at Sea World San Diego:
1. Being a “Helicopter Mom” has its advantages and usually pays off at amusement parks.
2. No matter how hard I try to be a “laid back mom”, it’s just not in my DNA! So, I’m giving up on that goal!
3. Last, but most importantly, always keep an extra set of clothes and shoes in the car just in case!! #shipwreckrapidshappens
Check out my complete list of what I pack in my Amusement Park Bag here!
All in all, we had a fun day, (regardless of the epic mistake of riding the water ride), and will definitely go back!
I’d love to hear your amusement park advice!!
What are your family’s “tried and true” theme park tips and tricks of the trade?
Until next time, cheers to aquatic adventures and cheers to you!