This post is sponsored by Sea World San Diego. We received complimentary admission along with VIP experiences. Our thoughts, photos (unless otherwise noted), and experiences are our own.
Not knowing how traffic would be, and not wanting 11-year-old Kennedy to be late for her 10:45am Dolphin Interaction, we arrived quite early at Sea World San Diego. She had, after all, been waiting for this day since she was 4 years old (wink). Security at Sea World actually opens before the park opens, which gives you the opportunity to buy admission tickets or add-ons to your tickets without any rush. We decided to purchase the Quick Queue passes for Cody and Kennedy along with All-Day Dining Passes. We highly recommend both!
There’s a whole lot more to Sea World than animal shows and thrilling rides. Sea World is, as it always has been to our family, a refreshing ‘outdoor classroom’ to see and learn all we can about marine life in our oceans.
The Sea World Rescue Team is on call and available 24/7/365 to care for ill, injured and orphaned animals. Often these animals are in need of lifesaving care. For over 50 years this dedicated team has provided a second chance at life to more than 30,000 animals, always with the goal of rehabilitating them and returning them to the wild.
Research is also an important part of Sea World’s commitment to conservation. It’s been a part of what they’ve been doing since the very beginning. They publish their own research and contribute to other research projects. Sea World experts have published more than 300 scientific studies.
See this little girl? She may only be 11 years old, but she’s been wanting to swim with the dolphins for 7 years. Well, her dream came true! And she loved every single moment of her Dolphin Interaction. Her excitement was tangible! Afterwards she talked for hours about all the new things she learned about dolphins. We loved watching as her dream came true. We also loved seeing the dolphins interact with the participants and their trainers. They really love what they do.
There are several animal encounter and interaction opportunities at Sea World. One that we were unaware of before our latest visit is the Sloth and Otter Encounter. Cody was over-the-moon excited when we learned about it. His favorite animal is the sloth. So meeting Tess up close and personal made his day!
After these encounters and interactions you have the opportunity to purchase professional photos. The two photos of Kennedy with the dolphin are exactly that. We actually forgot to check out Cody’s pro photos. I can’t even put into words how much I regret that. Cody was able to take a selfie and I was able to take the far away photo of him feeding Tess. But I sure wish we had the professional photos for his memory book.
Be sure to check out the encounters and interactions on Sea World’s website. But also ask what else is offered once you arrive at the park. David and I have several VIP experiences on our to-do bucket list!
Dolphin Days is one of the many animal shows presented daily that you can experience. Don’t miss it! There are sixteen dolphins that strut their stuff and they’re simply amazing. You could feel the excitement these incredibly intelligent animals had to be working with their trainers. I have to say they reminded me of several classes of energenic kindergarteners I worked with. All lined up and eager to learn!
Also participating in the Dolphin Days show are two pilot whales. It’s so awesome to see what these animals are capable of. I think they actually delight in showering the audience with water. Oh, yes. They do!!
If you want to get up close and personal with the dolphins and a trainer, the Dolphin Encounter is for you. Amazing I tell you! We were fortunate enough to have Wendy introduce us to the dolphins she trains. Wendy is the assistant curator of dolphins. With her vast knowledge and over 25 years of experience, Wendy continues to learn more and more all the time. I still can’t believe she knows all sixteen dolphins by name just by looking at them. They all have their own characteristics and individual personalities.
We were delighted as we watched the dolphins interact with Wendy. They watched her every move both above and below the water. My favorite was seeing how they watched Wendy while peering at her through the glass.
It’s obvious how much these female dolphins (the ‘girls’) love Wendy. And she them. They’re family to each other. And that, my friends, makes it all the more enjoyable and educational to the people who come to enjoy the show!
The new Orca Encounter is nothing short of amazing. And gorgeous. Amazing because of the facts we learned about these magnificent creatures. And gorgeous because … well, because there’s no better word to describe the new stadium.
Gone are the days of coming to Sea World simply to see ‘Shamu’ do tricks and take trainers for a ride around the amphitheater tank. Sea World has taken great steps to educate the public in a way that we will listen and learn. Because Cody and I arrived early to the Orca Encounter, we were able to watch educational videos, participate in quizzes and witness the orcas swim, jump, AND slide along the stage. All of which are natural behaviors. Did you know that? They actually slide along top ice in the wild! We learned something new to us.
The huge screen posed questions about both orcas and the environment. I just have to say … Cody and I passed with flying colors!
The Orca Encounter is all about educating us and raising our awareness when it comes to orcas in the wild. See how those two orcas are bobbing up and down in the water? That’s exactly what they do in the wild. It’s how they see what is on icebergs. Yes, it’s how they check to see where and what their prey is doing.
And while we, the public, get a kick out of these giant creatures jumping out of the water and splashing those sitting in the ‘wet zone’ (exactly where our granddaughter chose to sit). It too is a natural behavior. As a group they do this to wash their prey off small ice islands adrift in the sea.
The killer whale research Sea World conducts has a direct benefit for science. The animals in Sea World’s care allow researchers, biologists and conservationists to better understand and conserve these remarkable animals in the wild. With understanding and knowledge, Sea World’s research teams are better able to help and assist wildlife.
For the first time at any amusement park, we took advantage of the All-Day Dining Deal. We highly recommend it! With this dining option, you’re able to get one entrée, one side or dessert, and one non-alcohol beverage (which includes a bottle of water), as often as once every hour. We found eating good food and staying hydrated with water helped limit the grandkids from wanting too much ice cream and candy all day long. It was a definite win-win for us!
We’re all about the amazing animals. There are a plethora of exhibits, including Turtle Reef pictured above. It’s breathtaking to watch turtles, penguins, puffins, and yes, even sharks, as they gracefully glide through the water. There’s so much we can learn about all these magnificent creatures.
Our grandkids were thrilled with the new rides at Sea World San Diego. We purchased the Quick Queue pass which gave the kiddos the freedom to go to the front of the line; over and over and over again!
Sea World is lighting up the night! The Electric Ocean event ends on September 4th. But you still have time to plan your Sea World adventure. There are several night shows along with dancing and excitement. Sea World is literally lit up with neon colors throughout the night!
So… when was the last time you visited Sea World? Have you seen the new Orca Encounter?
David says: A great day of fun. And educational, too. Getting to meet Wendy and several of the dolphins up close was a defintie highlight. And the grandkids loved it all, too.
Cathi say: These amazing animals always bring tears to my eyes. They are over the top intelligent and I love seeing the love and companionship they have with their trainers.
Cody says: The animal encounters are awesome! I also liked learning all the things that Sea World does to help and rehabilitate injured animals.
Kennedy says: I think everyone should swim with a dolphin. I love dolphins and my interaction with them was better than I thought it would be.
~ The Nitty Gritty
What: Dolphin Encounter and Interaction
Why: Summer Fun with the Grandkids
When: August 2, 2017
Who: David, Cathi, Cody and Kennedy
Where: Sea World San Diego
500 Sea World Drive
San Diego, CA 92109
Phone: (619) 222-4732
Website: Sea World San Diego