Sea World San Diego has changed a lot over the years. When I first started going as a kid, there were a ton of animal interactions, and many different shows to choose from. In recent years, Sea World has taken a bit of a turn, and launched several new attractions and different shows. This year we took our toddler, and I was a little surprised at some of the new features the park has. If you’re planning a trip to Sea World San Diego, here are some things you might want to know!
Plan Nap Time accordingly
When we got to Sea World, my daughter was napping. She was a bit thrown off by the time change this trip, so our naps were totally off the entire time. I figured it wouldn’t be a big deal, but on this Sea World visit, it was! Turns out, there aren’t a lot of attractions that allow you to bring strollers inside (I was figuring we could just bring the stroller inside to attractions and she could just sleep in the stroller). Which brings me to the next tip:
Bring a stroller, but you won’t be using it all the time
Some of the only attractions (indoors) that allow strollers are the Sea Turtle exhibit, and the Penguin exhibit. Since we wanted her to keep napping but didn’t want to be outside, we brought her into the penguin exhibit where it was cool and dark, and just sat there for about 30 minutes. Nearly all of the other attractions require you to leave your stroller outside (all of the animal shows, and most of the indoor displays). So, bring one, but just know you won’t be taking it around everywhere!
Get to shows 15 minutes early for a good seat
The show stadium usually plays music or broadcasts trivia questions for early comers, so get there a little early to get a good seat! The soak zone is no joke, but we sat in the very last row of the soak zone for the dolphin show and we didn’t get wet at all (which was good…we were taking a gamble…).
Sesame Street Bay of Play is great for older kids, but not as much for toddlers
This part of SeaWorld is pretty new, and it’s a mini amusement park within SeaWorld. We didn’t ride any of the rides because most of them don’t allow infants-in-arms (and they’re for a little bit of older kids). The only activity my daughter could partake in was a small musical display with chimes; everything else was for kids a little bit older, but the rides looked pretty neat, and there was an arcade as well.
Pack a lunch
Like any park, food can get pricey. If you’re looking to save money, bring your own lunch! Entrees are around $12-$15, and kids meals around $7.29. We bought food at the park and weren’t disappointed in the quality, but note that Sea World tries to be a conservationally savvy as possible, and they don’t have lids for their regular fountain soda drinks, so you likely won’t want to carry around a soft drink unless you get a souvenir cup (which can be $12.99+), or pour it into your own Nalgene bottle.
Bring a water bottle and sunscreen
Employees will give you free ice water, so plan on taking advantage and pouring it into your bottle. The sun gets hot when you’re sitting in the bleaches watching shows, so bring the sunscreen! There’s also very little to NO shade in those stands, so potentially a hat would be a good idea as well!
The cleaner fish are the best
I’m seriously ready to import these little guys from the middle east or wherever they’re from. They’re right at the entrance to the park, and I’m telling you, I could sit there all day with my hands submerged in the water as they chew all my dead skin cells off. I don’t know why, but I loved it! It’s a must-do, even if your toddler won’t sit still for it…at least mom can get a mini fish-manicure!
Feed the mantas
The manta exhibit is great, and one place where you’re guaranteed to be able to pet the rays (although your toddler may not be able to, as you need to stick your arm pretty far down). For $5 you can feed the rays some fish, so this is a great way to get them to come up to see you!
Bring extra clothes
All the animal touching and splash zones could make for a wet trip, so be sure to bring an extra set of clothes! We didn’t need ours, but I’m sure if I hadn’t brought a set, we would have been sorry!
Wear a backpack
I wore my JuJuBe Be Right Back in the admiral print (perfect for Sea World, right?!), and it worked out perfectly! The size, weight and compartments of this backpack are absolutely perfect, and my shoulders didn’t hurt at all after an entire day of wearing it. If you want to see how I packed it up for Sea World, check out my video below:
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