Hello! Many of you know that I just got back from a trip to San Diego, and I wanted to share some of it with you today. This was the first time I went to San Diego without also going to Anaheim, and I actually enjoyed it better that way because we made time to go to SeaWorld San Diego AND Aquatica, SeaWorld’s water park (We had never been to Aquaitca before). I'm going to write a separate post all about Aquatica because I feel it's worth the attention, but today we are going to share some tips for how to plan your day at SeaWorld San Diego so that you can do and see all the most important things.
I love SeaWorld because it is a slower, more relaxing atmosphere than theme parks. It's also one of my favorite places to visit because I've been in LOVE with the ocean since I was a little girl, and I always leave SeaWorld in awe at the ocean life I was able to see (especially the dolphins and orcas). They are such amazing creatures!
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I also just really love SeaWorld for what they do. Not everyone knows that they are the WORLD'S leading marine animal rescue organization. Not just for America, but THE WORLD. Pretty cool. If you've never been to SeaWorld, I hope you get to go soon and be inspired by these amazing animals and all that is done to help them.
Here are my tips for how to plan your day at SeaWorld San Diego when you DO get to go!
Tips for How to Plan Your Day at SeaWorld San Diego
SeaWorld Tip #1: Get To the Park Early
This one is big, especially if you are only spending one day at SeaWorld. You will save significant time in line if you are there and parked before the park opens. There are so many more people who arrive just a little late, don't be one of them or you will have a longer wait (although none of our waits were very long all day).
SeaWorld Tip #2: Save Rides For Later
SeaWorld San Diego has a bunch of awesome rides, but my motto is that we go to amusement parks to ride rides, and we go to SeaWorld to see sea life. So I make rides lower priority and if anything, save them for the end of the day when the lines are shorter. The exception would be popular roller coasters that your kids are dying to go on…it's best to snag those when there isn't a line, but we save the kiddie rides for later (or in between shows if we run into a gap in our schedule).
SeaWorld Tip #3: Prioritize Your Shows
Right when you get your park map, take a second to sit down and prioritize your shows (You can also see the map ahead of time online if you want to plan ahead). Figure out what you want to see very most and go to those first. You should be able to make it to all the shows, but just in case kids get tired, or grumpy….you will want to hit the most exciting ones first. Our favorite shows were Dolphin Days, Orca Encounter and the Sea Lions Live, sea lion and otter show. Although Pets Rule! is pretty good too. MAKE SURE you check the park calendar for the day you are attending. I thought that the park closed at 8 on the day we went, and it was actually 10. I had no idea they had a bunch of nighttime shows going on as part of their new “Electric Ocean” celebration and that they were included in the price of my ticket! (SeaWorld will be aglow again next summer when Electric Ocean returns).
SeaWorld Tip #4: Dining Plans
Although I think the dining plans are definitely worth it for what you get, you have to eat the food inside the establishment (see the restaurants and details here). So if you are trying to fit in as much of the park as you can (like we were), it might be a better idea to eat breakfast before you go, do Dine With Orcas for a late lunch, and eat snacks for the remainder of the day, or hit up a small meal for dinner. Once again, for us it was about why we were there. We LOVED watching the orcas jump out of the water while we ate. The all-you-can-eat buffet kept us full for the remainder of the day. If you for sure want to Dine with Orcas, I would book ahead here, as particular dining times sell out, and also because you save $5 booking online.
SeaWorld Tip #5: Dolphins
Since everyone loves dolphins, I had to include this fun little tip. For this trip, I decided it was time to splurge on a dolphin interaction since it's been on my bucket list forever. Although I totally loved it, it was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing. Not everyone is going to be able to do it (especially families with kids that are too little). If this is you…..do not fret. There is still a chance to touch a dolphin. If you take your kids to Dolphin Point during one of the presentation times, they bring the dolphins along the edges of the walls throughout the presentation, and there's a high chance they will let you touch them if you are in the right spot. The right spot to be is where any of the trainers are standing. I have done this both times we have gone and got to touch them both times. It was so fun to watch the kids when the dolphins came right up to them–pure magic! If you are interested in a guaranteed connection with a dolphin, there is also the Dolphin Encounter, and you can schedule it ahead of time here. Oftentimes the online price is cheaper (mine was by $35!).
My only regret this trip was that we didn't do two days. Next time I will plan at least 3 days: 2 for SeaWorld, and 1 for Aquatica. The kids thoroughly enjoyed both parks, but there was so much that we still wanted to see at SeaWorld! If you're in a time crunch and can only do one day at the park, but still want to do as much as possible, you might consider the front-of-the-line pass.
But most of all, whatever you do…. take time to slow down your pace and appreciate the beautiful marine life right in front of you! It's something we will always remember!
YOUR TURN! Do YOU have any good tips for how to plan your day at SeaWorld?