Lindsay’s Tea Party recently was invited by WomensForum.com to check out firsthand some of the most fascinating and majestic sea life right in the heart of San Diego at SeaWorld!
Are you getting ready to have your children home for the summer and thinking about what you will do to entertain them during all these non-school days while they’re cooped up in the house? Well, let me suggest checking out at least a few of the attractions we explored on our visit to SeaWorld. You just might want to book yourselves a day or two at this beautiful park full of some of the most interesting marine life in the ocean, located right here in San Diego! (**Mom Tip: Pack younger children a bathing suit, towel and a change of clothes so you can experience the wet playground over at the Bay of Play).
Our day began by meeting our guide, Dave, who started things off by taking us over to preview the Animal Rescue Center and veterinary hospital and lab at the park. Here we met Dr. Todd Schmitt, Senior Veterinarian for SeaWorld San Diego, and we saw how the park carefully treats and tenderly cares for the many animals brought in daily, needing nourishment, medical treatment or help in overall survival. My daughter got to meet a turtle that had a break in his shell. She asked how they were able to help the animal and discovered that they used all natural honey to aid in its healing. She thought it was neat because she likes honey too!
One of the coolest things we learned is that it is SeaWorld’s policy to not turn away any animal that is brought in for help or aid. What a great organization to help animals in need! Once the animals are treated and deemed safe to return to the ocean, they are released locally. We walked through the hospital and were able to greet the various patients in their living quarters and my daughter even decided to name a few as her own! We pointed out how similar it is to my daughter’s pediatrician office, a scale, people wearing white coats and medical supplies.
Then we headed over to meet with Linda Henry, SeaWorld San Diego’s Senior Aviculturist, for a penguin meet and greet over at the Penguin Encounter. This was particularly special for us. The penguin was positioned on a cold block of ice with a towel over it – making her feel comfortable because this spot was similar to her natural environment. We learned her unique characteristics, such as the yellow crest on her head, her many hundreds of feathers, and just how much personality these creatures possess when they hop into a room.
And wow, are they ever friendly and social with their caretakers! This was such a neat opportunity and you could truly sense the connection and recognition this penguin had for her caretaker, Linda. She seemed excited and giddy to greet her and hopped into her arms. The penguin knew her name and hopped toward Linda when called. She was sweet as can be, and such a treat to see!
(*Mom Tip: See if your child measures up to the penguin chart on your way into the exhibit, there is a great photo opportunity seeing the size of full grown penguins verses your children.)
Our next stop was to meet with Brian Rokeach and Tori Liberman, who are Senior Dolphin Trainers, and we got a very special greeting from their dolphin (named Avalon) at Dolphin Stadium. This was the highlight of my daughter’s day! Just take a look at how sweet the dolphins were with our girls.
Our girls were able to place one palm of their hand out in front and Avalon immediately rose up with it’s nose to touch their hand. They rewarded her with fish from her private bucket stock. We learned that each dolphin has it’s own fish to feed and the buckets are recorded and monitored to ensure that the proper amounts are fed to each dolphin each day.
Not sure if you can see in this picture but both our girls are soaking wet. Well, here is why… They had asked the trainer if they could splash Avalon with water, she said, “Sure, but know that she may splash you back.” The girls both laughed and went ahead and splashed their hands in the water. Next thing we know, Avalon took a lap around the pool and then used her tail to make a big splash that drenched water right were both the girls were standing by the tank! They giggled with glee and loved every minute of it!
(*Mom Tip: if you’ve visiting the, you and your family can also enjoy your own personal experiences with penguins and dolphins through the Penguin Up Close tour and the Dolphin Interaction and Encounter programs.)
She was so impressed that she could touch and feel Avalon’s fins. It actually seemed like the dolphin was smiling as if she enjoyed playing with our girls.
We didn’t think anything could possibly be more exciting than the dolphin encounter, but the SeaWorld team had even more excitement in store for us!!
(*Mom Tip: Find out on the daily Show Schedule what times the Dolphin Show is during your visit, this a show your family won’t want to miss!)
Next, we met with the lovely Lindy Donahue, Senior Orca Trainer at SeaWorld, for a special Dine with Shamu experience while we discussed the park’s plans for the new Orca Encounter, which is also coming this summer to SeaWorld San Diego! First, let me tell you a bit about what the all-new, awe-inspiring Orca Encounter will offer visitors to the park—or you can just check out this video on the Orca Encounter™. It’s based on killer whale behavior in the wild—how they move, navigate, and hunt, what they eat, and even how they communicate. We loved watching the Orca’s swim and come up alongside us while we had lunch. They are such beautiful animals and our girls were in awe of the big splashes they made when they swam around the pool. With a simple whistle the orcas would follow the trainers instruction as we watched them jump and glide on the swim area. Addisyn was facinated with their teeth, so we spent a good part of our lunch discussion how many teeth Orcas typically have (100) and that they have their own Orca dentist check ups!
While we were dining and discussing the future attractions at the park, we had a pretty fun visitor—this orca came right up next to us for an up-close-and-personal experience that we will never forget! This is our girls hairbow in the photo below. That’s how close they came!
What’s Next At SeaWorld: The Ocean Explorer
We also got a sneak preview of what’s coming up at SeaWorld when we met Mike Price, Assistant Curator of Fish. He shared some exciting details about an upcoming new addition to SeaWorld: the Ocean Explorer construction site (coming this Summer 2017). Ocean Explorer™ at SeaWorld San Diego will create an expedition of deep-sea wonder. He told us how this extraordinary new attraction will have multiple aquariums surrounded by exciting rides, and “it will use digital technology designed to engage park guests in an experience centered around exploration and adventure” (they shared the renderings at left and below so I could give my readers an idea of what this new attraction will look like). My daughter has a love for crabs and she was thrilled to hear that the spider crabs will be featured in this new exhibit. She learned that some of the crabs come from as far as Japan which she thought was pretty neat! (*Mom Tip: Bring your family to Sea World this Summer 2017 to experience this new portion of the park!)
We’re looking forward to the Submarine Quest ride the most, since it’ll take people through the heart of Ocean Explorer and a series of specially designed aquariums and interactive displays that showcase unique and elusive ocean animals like giant octopuses, moray eels, Japanese spider crabs, and spiny king crabs.
We will definitely be coming back with our entire families to experience this great new portion of the park. It’s great because for locals because SeaWorld is just minutes away from central San Diego and most of our backyards. Our daughter is most excited to ride the swings that will be in the shape of a jelly fish!
The Upcoming Electric Ocean Experience
The last new ride that we learned about was the new Electric Ocean™ experience. Every night while the sun is setting, the Electric Ocean will light up SeaWorld San Diego with vibrant colors that will transform the park into a colorful world with the amazing bioluminescence of some underwater environments. Our new friends described it to us as a a celebration of illumination that will feature dazzling nightly shows and exhilarating performances along with a dance club! For families, one of the most intriguing aspects of Electric Ocean will be the fully interactive exhibit where guests can discover bioluminescent microscopic algae called dinoflagellates. They described it as a glowing sea of wonder, which sounds incredible!
Doesn’t that make you want to take a trip to SeaWorld this summer? We definitely are already planning our trip back. We ended our day with icees for all and some popcorn to snack on. On the way out we stopped in the giant gift shop near the exit of the park and had each of the children pick out a item to remember the day. As we purchased our rainbow dolphin and baby orca, we remembered all we had seen and what a wonderful day it had been with each of the animals.
As the Editor of LTP, I participate in review opportunities and I then share as I see fit. All opinions expressed are that of Lindsay’s Tea Party and are honest and reflect my actual real life experiences. I would like to extend a special thank you to Dave and his staff at SeaWorld San Diego for the opportunity to share SeaWorld San Diego’s wonderful programs for Sea Life with Lindsay’s Tea Party (LTP) readers. We appreciate what SeaWorld does to educate and inspire our youth to grow up and have both knowledge of and a great appreciation for these majestic animals.
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