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9 Must-Do Activities at SeaWorld San Diego

Summer is just around the corner, so now’s the time to find some fun and educational outings for you and the kids. SeaWorld San Diego is the perfect answer. For young and old alike, there are enough exhibits, rides, and shows to fill the entire day without ever doing the same thing twice. But how to choose? No matter what your plan is, here is a list of must-dos for your next visit to this popular theme park.

Explorer’s Reef

Ever wanted to pet a horseshoe crab? Wonder what a white-spotted bamboo shark feels like? Hands-on education is the name of the game at Explorer’s Reef. You’ll enter this exhibit under a giant blue-green wave sculpture and instantly be transported under the sea. There are four different touch pools that are shallow enough for even the smallest guest to get close and personal with rays, small sharks and fish. Staff members are happy to answer questions or provide interesting information about the sea creatures. They’ll explain why the sharks like to huddle in bunches, or how the adorable little rays glide so gracefully. Then you can reach over the edge and pet one as it swims by. Imagine how proud your kids will be when they get to tell their friends they had their fingers nibbled by a fish, or that they got to pet a real live shark!

Sea Lions Live

Kids of all ages will adore this live comedy show starring Clyde and Seamore, two of the most adorable sea lions you’ll ever meet. Along with a little help from their trainers, Clyde and Seamore hilariously spoof popular TV shows and musical numbers as the audience roars with laughter. Keep an eye out for a super cute little river otter—he’s a show-stealer for sure. Memorable moments will include sea lion back flips and a ball caught right on the tippy-top of somebody’s nose. The show is twenty minutes long, but get there early to enjoy the pre-show comedy fun.

If you can’t get enough of the duo, catch their nightly performance that consists of hilarious spoofs of the park’s shows and attractions at Sea Lions Tonite.

Tidal Twister Roller Coaster

The latest addition to SeaWorld San Diego features a unique dueling experience where riders are placed on opposite ends of the coaster giving the appearance of two different coasters on one track! The one-of-a-kind ride mimics the powerful motion of the ocean, twisting and turning through an infinity-shaped track, giving riders an exciting yet non-terrifying thrill. And unlike other rides, younger adventurers over 48’ can experience the fun!

Photo courtesy of SeaWorld San Diego

Skytower

Like a view? Travel into the sky in seated comfort on the park’s iconic 320-foot Skytower ride. It’s one of the oldest attractions in the park, but remains one of its most popular. It offers riders a narrated six-minute revolving journey up to its top and back down again, providing a bird’s-eye view of the park and panoramic views of Mission Bay and the San Diego skyline. The best time to ride is around noon or whenever the marine layer has lifted. It’s also a good way to decide where in the park you should go next!

Penguin Encounter

On the edge of the park, right next to the Wild Arctic, you’ll find the Penguin Encounter. It’s a whole building dedicated to these frolicking, fun and highly specialized birds. There are over three hundred adorable penguins to watch, representing several different species. To learn the most about penguins, make sure to check your park map to find out what time the penguin presentations start. If you or your kids are serious penguin buffs, for an additional fee you can call ahead and book a Penguins Up-Close Tour and get a personal penguin meet-and-greet.

Journey to Atlantis

On a hot summer day, what could be more fun than a splashy plunge down a twisting river? Journey to Atlantis is part roller coaster, part water ride, and all family fun. Dramatic music plays as you begin a slow, misty climb up a sixty-foot rise. You’ll creep through a tower and tip over the edge, dropping all the way to the bottom with a giant splash. You’ll continue on, bobbing your way through a winding river before entering a mysterious ancient Atlantean elevator chamber. As the music rises, everything stops and suddenly you’re being lifted up. Light streams in and inexplicably you’re at the top of another hill, speeding downward for another splash. This ride is leisurely at times, but its drops are fast—up to 45 miles per hour.

Animal Interaction Programs

For a true animal lover, an animal interaction is a must-do.

The Beluga Interaction Program

Do you adore whales? Don a wetsuit, climb into the water and commune with one of the most graceful and gregarious creatures in the sea—the white Beluga whales. With trainers by your side, you and a small group of other guests will learn the art of communicating with these beauties as they swim all around you. This is a very popular experience and spaces are limited, so reserve early!

The Dolphin Interaction Program

What would your kids say if you told them that they could actually meet a dolphin face-to-face? That’s exactly what they’ll get to do if you book a one-hour Dolphin Interaction. Learn about the behavior and communication of these adorable and intelligent creatures while you’re in the water right next to them. Trainers will assist as you and your family touch, feed and make friends with the dolphins. Space is limited, so reserve early.

In addition to getting acquainted with belugas and dolphins, you also have the opportunity to meet penguins, sea lions, walruses, and sea otters. All interaction programs are premium experiences and will be an additional charge on top of the park’s admission price. Advanced reservations are required.

Exciting enough to thrill teens, but not so extreme as to overwhelm hesitant parents and younger guests, the Manta is the park’s steel roller coaster. Ride in a manta-shaped car as you soar, swoop, twist and turn. You’ll reach up to 43 miles per hour on this memorable ride.

Ocean Explorer

Immerse yourself in a world of underwater expedition at Ocean Explorer. This three-acre attraction is perfect for kids and adults alike as you immerse yourself in a deep-sea discovery experience, including multiple aquariums and five new children's rides. Hop aboard Submarine Quest and get close up views of exciting marine wildlife like Pacific Octopus, jellyfish, and more.

Bonus: Private VIP Tours

Want to go for that extra something special? Why not order up a VIP experience! Imagine being escorted around the park with your own personal VIP guide. Not only that, but you’ll get close-up VIP parking, special encounters with the animals, complimentary yummy snacks and a SeaWorld fun card, which allows you unlimited free admission to SeaWorld San Diego on most dates until the end of the year. All you need to do is call ahead and reserve a two-, four- or six-hour private tour. The six-hour tour includes reservations to Dine with Shamu, where you get to be up close and personal with the orcas and their trainers while enjoying a delicious meal of sustainable, organic and locally sourced food.

If you did nothing else in the park except these nine activities, you’d be guaranteed a trip to remember. But there’s so much more to do! Go to the SeaWorld website and start your research now! Here are some extra tips to keep in mind.

  • Get there early so there's time to enjoy everything.

  • Wear comfortable walking shoes — the park covers 200 acres!

  • Consider bringing a change of clothes or even a swimsuit for the kids — there will be lots of splashing, especially if you're brave enough to sit in the soak zones at the shows.

  • Weather's not great? Bring some rain gear and go anyway. The lines will be shorter and you'll feel like you have the whole park to yourself.

  • Check when the feeding times are at the exhibits you want to see. That way the kids will get to see the most action.

  • Make sure to bring some sunscreen and stay hydrated.

Looking for a place to stay during your visit to SeaWorld San Diego? You can book a stay at the beautiful and family-friendly Welk Resorts San Diego.

Skip the lines and purchase your SeaWorld San Diego tickets at our concierge desk when you stay with us. Just ask the Concierge for more details!

SeaWorld is a registered trademark of SeaWorld, LLC, which is not affiliated with Welk Resort Group, Inc.

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