SeaWorld, San Diego: 5 Family Favorites
On a recent trip to San Diego, my extended family and I visited SeaWorld San Diego as their guests. We spent over nine hours tromping around the park, stopping only when the sun went down and we became chilled in our whale-water soaked clothing.
We voted on our favorites over dinner that night.
Now normally I don’t run this blog as a democracy, so this was a real departure for me. There were a number of really cool experiences that didn’t make the final five, but who am I to subvert the democratic process?
1. Shamu Show: Believe
This is the biggie, and it’s all about the “special relationship” between the whales and their trainers (which might—I’m just guessing here—have something to do with the dozens and dozens of mackerel the trainers throw in the whales’ giant, toothy mouths).
It’s hard not to love this show, even if you accidentally sit in the “soak zone” because you thought it was called the “splash zone”. The whales jump, wave, beach themselves and spin, and interact with their trainers for 30 delightful minutes.
By far the best trick (and the one which prompted my sister-in-law to turn to me and say, “How do they train the whales not to eat people?”) involves Shamu leaping from the water and tossing his trainer high in the air. It’s nuts.
2. Sea Lions LIVE
Sea lions are the comedians of the ocean, and this show proves it. The plot riffed on reality television (which I don’t watch, so most of the references were lost on me), but any show that features singing and dancing pinnipeds is a winner in my book.
Also, there was a profoundly cute trained otter, and that alone is worth the price of admission.
This was the unanimous favorite for the adults in our group, and the kids liked it too. We came face to face with beluga whales, walruses, and seals (both above and below the surface), and stood and watched a polar bear hunt fish for something like 15 minutes. It was the highlight of the day.
One word of warning: you pass through an ice tunnel (complete with foggers, misters, and a 25-foot long ice wall) on your way to the viewing area, so try not to arrive wet. This is easier said than done at SeaWorld.
4. Shipwreck Rapids
A water thrill ride in which you “spin and splash through river rapids, plunge through an underground cavern, and dodge dripping cargo nets as you swirl around a tropical island.” If I had named this ride, I would have called it, “Stand in line for 90 minutes, and then get an ice water enema”. But enough about me. This is what happens when you allow children to vote.
5. Pets Rule!
The dogs jump rope, dance, and race through obstacle courses, the cats—who knew they could actually be trained?—walk tightropes upside down, and a pot-bellied pig soaks the audience with sprinklers (because, you know, God forbid you should stay dry for even five freaking minutes at this place).
The kids gave the pets ten thumbs up, and we adults had to admit we loved them too. Even though they had absolutely nothing to do with the sea.
Can’t get enough SeaWorld silliness? Likewise! Read more at Five Things I Learned at SeaWorld.