A visit to the SeaWorld Park in Orlando, Florida is not only a great theme park getaway, it's an eye-opening step into a world of exotic and intelligent animals, thrilling rides, spectacular shows, and high class dining. At SeaWorld, you can learn about killer whales, turtles, and thousands of colorful exotic fish. You can also interact with dolphins, stingrays and sea lions. If that's not enough, you can end the day 400-feet high as you look out onto the Orlando cityscape.
What SeaWorld Orlando Offers
SeaWorld's Orlando, Florida park features 7,000 types of marine and terrestrial animals, as well as 60,000 types of fish, many of which are rare or endangered. In addition to its place as a family-friendly vacation destination, SeaWorld is also a rehabilitative and educational facility. Millions of guests learn about the delicate balance of ocean life by either studying the park's tanks and shows or going on one of their alternative experiences. Expert guides and staff members are on hand at all the park's attractions to answer questions, and the park practices numerous conservation efforts such as a "no straw" policy to protect the animals from inadvertent littering. Located in central Florida, the park is in a prime position to cater to millions of tourists, as well as local residents, nearby universities, and schools throughout the state.
From performing killer whales to graceful multicolored fish - the animals and sea life are SeaWorld's star attraction. You can either see their numerous skills at one of the shows or, for a more educational experience, view them at one of the Orlando park's lusciously-designed habitats, including:
- Dolphin Cove - Visit Dolphin Cove to watch Atlantic blue nose dolphins splashing through the water, and listen to their beautiful songs. If you purchase some dolphin food, you can also feed them from the side of the water. Make sure you throw the food high up so the dolphins can jump and pluck the tasty morsels from the air.
- Manta Aquarium - These 10 aquariums, including a 360-degree pop up aquarium, not only showcase the rare and surprisingly large manta rays, they also contain 3,000 other marine animals such as a giant octopus and many seahorses. The marine life in these tanks gobble 300 pounds of food a day.
- Pacific Point Preserve - Do you know the difference between a sea lion and a seal? Even close up, most people struggle to discern which one is which, but the sea life guides at Pacific Point will soon show you the subtle difference between the two animals. In addition, you will get to feed these fun-loving creatures and laugh at their crazy antics.
- Shark Encounter - At the world's largest underwater viewing tunnel, you can stand inches away from dozens of these fearsome predators. These creatures were living millions of years before dinosaurs even roamed the earth. If you drop your gaze to the bottom of the tank, you may see all the teeth that have fallen out of their mouths.
- Stingray Lagoon - If you thought stingrays were dangerous, then think again. Gliding peacefully through their shallow tank, they like nothing more than to have you and other guests feed them and stroke their fleshy wings. At full stretch, their wings measure five feet wide.
- Turtle Trail - At Turtle Trail, you will enter a huge dome to view and learn about these endangered species. First, a multi media exhibit will show you exactly how SeaWorld uses the Busch and Gardens fund to look after and help these creatures. Second, you will get to play a game called Race to the Beach. Just like the turtles, you will try to stop predators from stealing turtle eggs.
Other exhibits and tanks throughout the park are home to even more species, including eels, orcas, beluga whales, and penguins, as well as flamingos, corals, sea horses, jellyfish, and other reef residents.
Not only does SeaWorld deliver an outstanding experience with aquatic creatures, adventuresome guests can also challenge themselves to ride the park's amazing thrill rides. For younger children, there are more sedate rides at Shamu's Happy Harbor, as well as simulator rides and water rides suitable for all the family.
- Kraken - Kraken is a floorless roller coaster that zooms around loops and curves at face-distorting speeds. It's a monstrous ride just like the mythical Norwegian sea monster it is named after.
- Journey to Atlantis - You may think this is a perfectly sedate ride as you drift through the canals of the mythical City of Atlantis. Yet like the city on display, it is all an illusion. As the doors open and the city disappears, you will plunge 42 feet into the pool of water below. When you look at the photographs in the foyer afterwards, you will laugh at the look on everyone's faces as you all were sent splashing into the water.
- Wild Arctic - This simulated jet helicopter ride races you through the tundra before you see and experience the living conditions of polar bears, beluga whales, and walruses. Your journey finishes at base station, leaving you and your family breathless but safe.
- Sky Tower - On this family ride, a carriage climbs the 400-foot tall tower. Rotating as it goes, it offers amazing views of the park from all sides. At the top, you'll see the surrounding Orlando cityscape. This ride has only recently been included in the admission price, so take advantage and check out the view during the day, as well as at night.
- Manta - Reaching 56 miles per hour, this Manta-shaped coaster spreads its wings and soars through four inversions. Those not quite brave enough to even watch can view the 100 rays and thousands of colorful fish in the Manta Aquarium just below the ride.
- Shamu's Happy Harbor - Shamu's harbor is the place to go for young kids and their families. In addition to their signature ride, the Shamu Express , a slightly slower version of the Manta, they have have net climbing, a carousel, spinning tea cups (or as the park calls them Jazzy Jellies) and a 19-foot tugboat that rocks back and forth.
SeaWorld guests do not get the full experience of the park unless they enjoy its fabulous shows that blend animal talents with modern technology for world class entertainment. While schedules change and new shows are continually in development, popular shows include:
- One Ocean and Shamu Rocks - Both of these shows star the park's iconic Shamu and other orcas in dazzling tricks. In One Ocean, the whales jump through dancing colorful fountains. In Shamu Rocks, they dance under spectacular lighting to a range of rock music.
- Blue Horizons - In this performance, the beautiful young Marina performs live with her friends the dolphins, sea birds, and acrobats. Her goal is to discover and show the audience the secrets of the sea.
- Clyde and Seamore Take Pirate Island - The hilarious antics of a troublesome walrus and otter are favorites for the entire family. Along with a small cast of humans, they act out a traditional yet light-hearted pirate's tale of lost loot and revenge.
- Pets Ahoy - This show features 100 animals, including dogs, cats, rats, skunks, and pot-bellied pigs, many of whom have been rescued from local shelters. These animals perform stunts as complex as driving their date to a restaurant, but you'll have to watch the show to find out exactly what that entails. Make sure you stick around at the end when you have the chance to shake paws with the stars.
- The Lure of the Sea - In the Lure of the Sea, acrobats reproduce the legendary story of how mermaids and other creatures lured fisherman into caverns. Best of all, you will get to see what happened to the fisherman once they were hooked!
- Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin - This long-anticipated new show brings to life the icy conditions of Antarctica as a car takes you through a penguin colony where you can view these fascinating creatures in a wondeful recreation of their natural habitat.
If you are going to the park close to a holiday, such as Halloween or Christmas, keep an eye out for seasonal shows such as Countdown to Halloween and a Sesame Street Christmas.
With so much to see and do, SeaWorld Orlando guests will work up quite an appetite during a day at the park. Dining options include a variety of seafood, chicken, barbeque, and wood-fired pizzas, as well as sandwiches, salads, ice cream, and other treats. Fine dining in the shark enclosure and Dine with Shamu specialty options are available for an additional charge. Both require reservations.
Visiting SeaWorld in Orlando
SeaWorld is open all year long, and a base price ticket runs around $79 for adults, and $71 for children ages three to nine. Discount tickets are available for members of the military, teachers, and other special groups, as well as Florida residents. Other special offers are available online or by combining a SeaWorld ticket with admission to Discovery Cove, SeaWorld Aquatica, or Busch Gardens Africa.
The park is located at 7007 SeaWorld Drive, Orlando, FL 32821
Something For Everyone
Whether you are a kid or an adult, SeaWorld has something for everyone. With additional experiences such as swimming close up with the dolphins and behind scenes tours, they even cater to people with more than just a passing knowledge of sea life. So what are you waiting for? If you buy tickets online, you can catch all the great shows like those listed above; just remember they are all subject to change. You can also take advantage of all their current discounts such as Pay for a Day and Play All Year.