Disclaimer: SeaWorld provided my family with complimentary tickets in exchange for this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

On our most recent trip to San Diego, we ventured as a family to SeaWorld. It was the first time that anyone in our family had been and we were so excited to check out the park. SeaWorld was one of those places that both my husband and I had always wanted to visit when we were children so it was super exciting to be able to share this opportunity with our kiddos. The inner marine biologist wannabe in me was so thrilled to get a look at all the mystical sea creatures up close and personal.

I wanted to share my families experience with everyone and also some tips and tricks to be sure to take advantage of everything that SeaWorld San Diego has to offer during a one day visit.

Have a Plan

Make sure to head over to the SeaWorld website a day or so before your visit to plan your day. With so many shows and things to do, planning your day is your key to success to make sure that you can check out all the must-see shows and still have time to ride the rides and explore the rest of the exhibits. SeaWorld is large and it’s easy to spend a whole day, so arriving early and making a plan of action definitely helps.

Catch a Show (or Three)

There are so many awesome, fun shows at SeaWorld and I definitely recommend seeing as many of them as you can because they were one of the favorite things we did while there. On our visit, we saw Sea Lions Live and the Orca Encounter. My son and daughter both absolutely LOVED the funny and light-hearted Sea Lions Live show. The Orca Encounter was breathtaking as we watched the huge Orca whales perform, jump and interact with the trainers was incredible. One note: take heed of the Splash Zone Signs as you’ll definitely get wet.  I wish we had planned to see the Dolphin Days and Pet’s Rule show as I heard so many great things about them.

Leave Plenty of Time to Explore

There are so many exhibits, shows and activities spread throughout the park that you want to allow plenty of time to see and enjoy it all. The touch pools were so fun for the kids (and parents) and such a great learning experience. Both of my kids were mesmerized by the dolphins at Dolphin Point, sea stars, urchins and sea-rays and we spent a lot of time in those areas (we actually visited them numerous times). The underwater viewing areas and aquariums are breathtaking and so amazing to watch as the animals swim and interact around you. Many of the exhibits have feeding times and if possible, I’d definitely try to visit then. The staff and trainers were so helpful and knowledgeable and worked so hard to allow everyone to hand hands-on experiences whenever possible.

Check Heights Before You Go

SeaWorld has a surprising amount of rides at the park! Check the height requirements before you get to the park to avoid any potential disappoint or meltdowns. We found that there were plenty of rides for every size and thrill seeker in our family. There are rollercoasters, simulators, water rides and plenty of rides for the littlest ones as well. To save time, their Quick Queue service is perfect for priority boarding and less waiting times.

Splash Zone Means SPLASH Zone

When attending the Orca Encounter, take note of the Splash Zone signs. We saw them, but figured all we’d get was a little wet. We were wrong! LOL. If you’re in the splash zone there is a good possibility that you may leave soaked. We narrowly escaped getting wet as we were leaving to take the kids on a potty break and got drenched by several Orca whales tail splashes. If you have little kids, just be sure they are ready and ok with getting splashed and wet. Ours were not prepared and in hindsight, we should have taken the signs more seriously.

We took a funny video after we got splashed. Our four year was NOT happy for a bit, but laughs about it now and talks ALL about the whales.

Pack Bathing Suits or Extra Clothes

Definitely bring an extra set of clothes or even wear bathing suits, if the weather permits. Many of the shows have some splashing (or drenching as you read above) and so many of the exhibits are hands-on that getting a little wet is inevitable.

Rookie mistake! No extra clothes left us wet!

Bring Your Own Water

You can bring your own water into the park and doing so is an easy way to save a little money. Staying hydrated is so important while traveling, so pack a few waters or bring a refillable bottle.

Eat Early or Late

Brag brunch or have a late midday meal to avoid the lunch time rush. While we did eat right at noon when it was at its busiest, the lines did move quite quickly. Save yourself some time and plan to eat early/late.

Grab Some Brews

For the 21+ crowd, SeaWorld has a surprising selection of craft beers to choose from. We were pretty excited about this and definitely enjoyed a beer or two while cruising through the park.

Sesame Street Bay of Play for the Littles

Sesame Street Bay of Play is a great area for families with young children to enjoy. It’s filled with family-friendly rides, jungle gyms and characters from everyones favorite street. Both our 2 and 4 year old had so much fun in the Bay of Play and it was a great place to let them run free and burn off some energy.


Quick video from my InstaStories of our day at SeaWorld!

Have you been to SeaWorld before? Which one? What was your favorite part?

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