Jun 4, 2012

Sea World Tips

We took our FIRST family vacation this past weekend to Sea World in San Antonio, TX. I was a little nervous about how the boys would handle being in the car for 5 hours and being in a hotel. John's only prior experience in a hotel was HORRIBLE and he didn't sleep all night. However, we had a blast on our trip and the boys were just going with the flow the whole time!

So, today I am going to give a couple tips for anyone who is heading to Sea World this summer. I am no expert on Sea World, so take these tips for what they are worth!

1. Get to the park early! The park opens at 10am, but they start searching bags and scanning tickets early. We were there by 9:15ish and they were already letting people through the gates. There is a large main entrance where you get can your map, plan out your morning, use the restrooms, etc. You can't walk around the park until 10, but at least you are in and ready to go when the day starts. You can actually go to the dolphin area and see the dophins before 10am so if the kids are getting antsy, that is a good place to start. Which brings me to my next tip...

2. Get in line early to feed the dolphins! The first day we got to the park, we stood in line for the dolphins about 10 minutes before the park opened. However, we quickly realized that we would have to stand in line for probably 30-45 minutes meaning we would be missing the first show of the day elsewhere in the park. So, we skipped the dolphins and moved on. The second day, we got to the park early and were one of the first people in line for the dolphin feeding. This meant once it was 10am, we immediately got our dolphin feed (slimy fish!) and could feed the dolphins. The boys LOVED feeding the dolphins and got to touch them a little as well. It was a neat experience and was worth the couple of bucks for the food.

If you decide not to feed the dolphins, DO NOT go see the dolphins during feeding times. Those dolphins are super smart and know that the people on one side of the pool have food and people on the other side of the pool are empty-handed. So, of course, if you aren't feeding them, the dolphins will not be swimming by. So head over when they aren't feeding so they will come say hi!

3. Buy tickets online. If you are going to be at the park for more than one day, buy the Fun Day pass which is basically a season pass. It is the same price as a single day pass, so it seems silly to buy the single day pass! You can also buy parking passes online which I believe are a couple bucks cheaper than at the gate.

4. All You Can Eat Pass- Questionable! If you are eating one meal at Sea World (we only ate lunch there), then skip the All You Can Eat dining pass. It is way too expensive for just one meal per person. If you are eating lunch and dinner and a snack there, then it will probably be worth it. You can bring snacks into the park, so load up the backpack so you can save some money and eat healthy while you are there!

5. Bring a swim suit! The park has a fabulous kid's area- Sesame Street Bay of Play, complete with Sesame Street characters! It has kid rides like a mini roller coaster, Ferris wheel, and carousel plus a HUGE play area and splash park. Since it wasn't very crowded when we were there, we were able to go on one or two rides in between shows to help entertain the kiddos. Then ended our visit in the kid's area so they could cool down in the splash park. We could have easily spent 2 hours in this area, but Mommy and Daddy were too hot and tired to stay past 3pm! :)

6. Cabanas- Questionable! They have private cabanas in the kid's area for rent. They have fans, table/chairs, and a mini fridge. So, I guess if you are planning to be over there all day, it MAY be worth it. But they are very expensive ($100-$200 per day) and they are outside the fenced area of the splash park. So you don't really have easy access to the splash park/play area if you have a cabana. Now, since I didn't actually rent the cabana, I can't say if it was worth the money, but not having the cabana was fine with me. I wasn't missing out on anything!

7. Shamu was SO FUN! The Shamu show was by far the boys' favorite show. This had lots of visuals which was great for the boys since they are still quite young. John especially loved this show so we saw it both days. Brad and I were so impressed with how they can train the whales to be so synchronized!

8. Eat lunch early! The first day we were at Sea World, we saw Shamu at 12:00 and went to lunch after...along with the other hundreds of people in the show! So, we waited in line for food for a long time. However, the second day, we ate lunch closer to 11:30 and there was no line at all! It was perfect!

Other random travel tips:

9. Get DVD players for the car! Duh... I found these dual players at Walmart.com that were pretty awesome. The only bad thing was the cords were so long so they boys could easily grab them and pull them out of the players. John also kept using his feet to press the pause button and then whine 'it isn't playing anymore!!'. I wish there was a 'lock' feature on these! But it kept the boys entertained for a while in the car so I am happy I bought them for the trip.

10. Stay near the River Walk! If you are going to Sea World San Antonio, you might as well stay at the River Walk. We left Sea World around 3pm both days so it was nice to rest up at the hotel and then go to the River Walk for dinner, check out the Alamo, check out the Children's Museum, etc. If we were at Sea World, we would have been pretty bored at night!

If you have any tips for Sea World or just traveling with kids, let me know so we can add it to the list!

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  1. Brad is really enjoying those blocks. Kel kel and I are actually going to sea world in a couple weeks. Should be fun

  2. We went last summer and although you can bring snacks, their policy is no "meals" or ice chests bigger than a 6 pack allowed. This is flexible if you have babies or special dietary needs. If you are active military, reservist or National Guard, you and 3 dependent members of your family can get in FREE (and the military person does NOT have the be there). Also, if you or someone in your family has a disability, that person and one other person can get in for half price. We hit the trifecta with a military wife, a 1 year old and a deaf 9 year old and me. We only paid the cost of one ticket for all 4 of us to get in.


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