Ask anyone who has ever been to San Diego and they will rattle off an endless list of fun things to do with kids in San Diego. During our 5-day visit to this southern California city, the sheer number of amazing adventures we could experience was in fact, overwhelming.
We decided, for the sake of sanity, we would only visit one major attraction in San Diego. The rest of our stay would be spent at the beach, chillaxing by the hotel pool, visiting small museums and casual exploring.
Last year when we took our son to the grand opening of Cars Land at Disneyland, we saw how quickly he exhausted after a few hours at the Happiest Place on Earth and knew we needed to limit how much excitement our kids were taking in.
Fun adventures aren’t so fun when you have exhausted, cranky small children being dragged from attraction to attraction, trying to pack everything in.
So we had a decision to make. Which attraction should we go to? San Diego Zoo? Legoland? Knott’s Berry Farm? Safari Park? Eek!! We settled on SeaWorld.
Truthfully, I have only ever visited SeaWorld during my past visits in San Diego and have not been to the others. The last time I was in San Diego was over 12 years ago. It was my third visit at the time to Sea World having been a couple of other times during my childhood.
Visiting SeaWorld brought back those happy memories and I wanted to relive them with my family.
When we first arrived at the park, there are an overwhelming amount of things to see and do. I feel like we wasted a considerable amount of time trying to sort out what we were going to see and where to begin. This is why I decided to write a list of tips to get the most out of your visit to San Diego so you won’t waste precious time with antsy kids trying to get started.
1. When you arrive at SeaWorld in your car, they offer close-up parking for an additional $5.00, putting you in the lot closest to the entrance. At the beginning of the day when you have a ton of excitement and energy this might sound ludicrous but trust me, at the end of your day when everyone is wet, tired and cranky, you won’t want to go on an epic hike to get back to your car.
2. If you have small children, bring a stroller. We completely forgot to bring one on our trip so we ended up renting one. It was a blessing in disguise because our 7-year-old son was tired and we opted to rent a two seater so he could have a rest while trekking across the park.
3. If you are disorganized like me and are unlikely to pack a lunch, consider buying the All Day Dining Deal at Sea World. If you eat two full meals (lunch/dinner) it pays for itself, however, you can pop in for a drink or snack between meals and not fret about forking over your child’s university savings fund for refreshment, because it is included in the price.
4. Get a map and plan your day around the shows. Don’t get distracted by the gift shops, rides, etc. The best part, I repeat, the BEST part about a day at Sea World are the shows. We made it to all the shows, except one because of poor planning on our part. Be strategic and time out visits to the aquariums, rides and shops around the show start times.
5. Trust the signs. When a row indicates it is a soak zone, it is most definitely a soak zone. There was nothing that delighted my son more than getting splashed by the gorgeous Shamu. I may have used my daughter as a human shield from the water and slightly traumatized her a little so at the next show my husband sat in the front row with my son to get completely drenched while my daughter and I stayed safely dry several rows up, away from the water and the soak zone.
6. If you want to get splashed at the shows, be sure to ride the Skytower Ride before heading to the shows. You won’t be allowed on in you are sopping wet because the seats are cloth padded seats. This ride is worth taking because you get a bird’s eye view of the entire park and is perfect for kids of all ages.
SeaWorld was definitely the perfect choice for our family. Our kids loved the animals and the shows. My son laughed huge belly laughs at the silly antics of the sea lions, and otter during the comedic SeaLions LIVE show.
My three year old daughter oohed and aaahed during Blue Horizons Performance. Blue Horizons was very Cirque du Soleil-ish with gorgeous costumes and graceful acrobatics, mixed in with dolphins, whales, and birds. She looked up at me with wide eyes and said “that’s what I’m going to do when I’m a teacher [grown up]”.
SeaWorld is the perfect family adventure where happy memories are made and dreams are born.