SeaWorld® San Diego, located in trendy Mission Beach, has been pleasing crowds ever since it opened in 1964 and is a must for anyone traveling with children. Kids and adults alike flock to the many exhibits offering opportunities to interact with marine animals. Touch, feed and give training signals to the performing bottlenose dolphins at Dolphin Point. With prearranged permission, you can even don a wetsuit and jump into the water with the majestic beluga whales.
A day at SeaWorld is filled with photo opportunities and experiences you’ll never forget. Wander slowly through the eerie Shark Encounter® glass tunnel, marvel at the graceful bat rays at the Manta exhibit, and then relax to the antics of sea lions and otters performing comedy skits. The park’s headline attraction is One Ocean®, a 25-minute live show featuring orcas that perform awe-inspiring tricks in and out of the water.
Rides and shows at SeaWorld range from adrenalin pumping to relaxing. The Manta roller coaster serves up spine-tingling drops, at 42 miles (69 kilometers) per hour. Wild Arctic®, on the other hand, is a trek through frozen landscapes from the comfort of your theater seat. The show simulates a helicopter ride, paying visits to both land and water-based animals. Gentler still is the Bayside Skyride, which carries you on a gondola across Mission Beach. SkyTower lifts you 322 feet (98 meters) above the ground for a view of SeaWorld and across San Diego. Be prepared to get wet on the Shipwreck Rapids®; you’ll pass right beneath a waterfall.
Young children will enjoy a visit to Sesame Street® Bay of Play®, two acres (one hectare) of child-friendly rides and other fun. Walking, talking characters such as Elmo, Bert and Ernie make special appearances at designated times throughout the day and will happily pose for photos.
It’s easy to spend an entire day and evening at SeaWorld, including a nightly fireworks show during the summer. There are several restaurants at the park where you can get everything from pizza or a muffin on-the-go to a relaxed seafood dinner. Advance reservations are recommended if you want to eat at the popular Dine with Shamu, a café overlooking the whales’ training pool. The park’s operating days and hours change throughout the year, with extended hours during holidays and summer.