My family and I recently returned from a weeklong trip to central Florida, and were fortunate enough to visit a few of the area's theme parks, restaurants, and beaches that make Florida the vacation destination for millions. On Friday, Team Bradshaw braved the heat and humidity and ventured off to explore the wonders of the sea at SeaWorld Orlando. From turtles to flamingoes to polar bears, we saw abundant sea life, and even managed to snap a few pictures while oohing and ahhing over the remarkable beauty of those friendly creatures.
Danger seemed to really enjoy the dolphins, although she did bring up the sea turtles quite a bit. Here are some of her thoughts from throughout the day:
- "The sharks are so so so BIG!" (during Shark Encounters)
- "Eat your lettuce, manatees. The fishies want to play with you!" (at Turtle Trek's entrance. She was concerned that the large manatees would try to eat the tiny fish swimming alongside. And yes - the manatees were actually eating heads of lettuce).
- "The dolphins are so cute! Aww! They're so adorable!" (at the Underwater Viewing area of the Dolphin Cove. Of course, everyone around thought that little Danger was too cute for saying that!)
- "Look, Mom! It's Patrick! Look! There's a PURPLE Patrick!" (at the aquarium. She was, of course, referring to Patrick the starfish from the Spongebob Squarepants cartoon).
But my very favorite Danger quote came while we were watching the A'Lure: Call of the Ocean performance:
"What is that butterfly woman trying to do? What in the world is going on?" I didn't know how to respond to her questions, because frankly, I had no idea either. It looked beautiful. There were daring aerial acrobatics and bright colors. But really - did the man that fell off his boat at the beginning end up falling in love with a fish? Is that not a little bit odd?
SeaWorld Orlando offers many performances including animals, too. Unfortunately, we were unable to fit any of them into our schedule. I think we arrived too late in the morning, and as a result, we ended up missing out on the one I was most looking forward to: One Ocean. That's right, folks. We didn't get to see Shamu or his pals!
We did try to wind our way around the path to take a peek at his underwater viewing area, but it was roped off. It was sad. I was sad. But fortunately, I wasn't sad for long. There was still plenty of sunshine and fresh air - and sea creatures to be discovered!
We made our way over to the Wild Arctic area, where a walrus, polar bear, and beluga whales reside. While it was quite cold inside the building, I didn't mind. It was pretty neat getting to see these animals that we rarely (if ever) get to see in real life. If only they weren't napping and were a little bit closer to the glass, it would have been absolutely perfect!
And now, some tips to help you make the most of your day at SeaWorld Orlando:
- Arrive early, and plan to spend the whole day there. You probably won't need the entire day to explore the animal exhibits, but if you plan to catch any of the performances or ride any of the awesome rides, you will need the extra time! Plus, parking starts at $15 whether you stay for one hour or the whole day, so take advantage and stick around!
- You are allowed to bring coolers in, but I don't recommend that unless you have special dietary concerns or are trying to be on a tight budget. There are water fountains throughout the park where you can quench your thirst or refill an empty water bottle. Why carry around something when you can get it for free? Also - SeaWorld is now offering an all-day dining option, where you can eat and drink as much as you'd like all day for one flat rate. It's a reasonable price, so check into this option if you do plan to spend all day there.
- There is a play area designated for children at Shamu's Happy Harbor. If you want to see the animals and performances, I would recommend that you hold off on showing this area to children until you are absolutely ready to let them blow off some steam. Otherwise, you might be stuck in this large activity area for a long time!
- Buy your tickets online. It will save you $10/ticket and if you print it from home, you can avoid the long lines at the ticket counters. While SeaWorld Orlando does offer a self-ticketing kiosk, I did not see a single person use it while waiting in line for my tickets at Guest Services (and we were in line for about fifteen minutes!)
Have you visited SeaWorld Orlando? What was your favorite part of this attraction? If you haven't visited, what's your favorite sea creature?
I received media passes to SeaWorld Orlando in order to provide an honest review of our experiences. All opinions come from my own personal experiences at this attraction.