California travel expert Veronica Hill shares her Sea World Travel Guide in this episode of “California Travel Tips.”
San Diego visitors have a love-or-hate relationship with Sea World, especially since the release of “The Cove.” Still, you can’t argue its popularity, and during the summer months and spring break, the place is jam-packed. One of the park’s top shows is One Ocean, featuring the famous killer whale, Shamu. After the show, head below the stadium, where can you view these magnificent black-and-white whales through a 70-foot window.Aside from Shamu, the dolphins are a huge draw. You can watch them perform in Blue Horizons, or feed them fish at Rocky Point Reserve. For an extra fee, book one of Sea World’s Dolphin Interactions, where you can put on a wetsuit and become trainer for a day. Turtle Reef, a new 300,000-gallon aquarium, showcases more than 60 sea turtles. When you’re ready to beat the heat, Sea World’s two water rides are worth the wait. Drop down a 60-foot waterfall on Journey to Atlantis, get your thrills on Riptide Rescue, or bounce down the river in a 9-person inner tube on Shipwreck Rapids. The new roller coaster Manta boasts 54-foot drops and a manta ray marine exhibit.Sea World is home to lots of “encounters.” You can view playful antarctic penguins in Penguin Encounter, watch sharks silently prowl the aquariums of Shark Encounter, or meet Florida’s famous residents in Manatee Rescue. Wild Arctic is home to polar bears, walruses and graceful beluga whales (there’s an interaction for those, too!)If you have little kids along, let them burn off some steam in the Sesame Street Bay of Play. It includes rides like Elmo’s Flying Fish, Oscar’s Rocking Eel and Abby’s Sea Star Spin.
Tips: Don’t sit in the front row of Journey to Atlantis, Shamu Stadium or Dolphin Stadium if you don’t intend to get wet. If you do, put your camera in a Ziploc to shoot photos through the plastic. The San Diego Fun Card allows you to pay for a day, and get the rest of the year free.
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