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Magical Blogorail Best Aquariums – Sea World San Diego

Hands on fun & learning in the touch pools at Sea World San Diego

Welcome to the next stop on Magical Blogorail Peach. Today we are discussing aquariums that your family needs to visit.

For my kids, the best part about visiting aquariums is getting hands-on with the creatures. The touch pools at Sea World San Diego are a place for interaction and learning.

Hands on fun & learning in the touch pools at Sea World San Diego

Explorer’s Reef – This is a new exhibit, right up at the front entrance. Explorer’s Reef features four touch-pools including bamboo sharks, horseshoe crabs and cleaner fish that tickle your fingers.

Hands on fun & learning in the touch pools at Sea World San Diego

This area has plenty of shade and my kids spent lots of time here touching the fish (we had to encourage them to wash up so we could move further into the park!)

Hands on fun & learning in the touch pools at Sea World San Diego

Hands on fun & learning in the touch pools at Sea World San Diego

California Tide Pool – Hold a sea star or a spiky sea urchin under the water. Kids are fascinated to feel the sea star curve its arms to fit in the palm of their hand. This has been a favorite area for us at Sea World San Diego for many years. Handlers will remind guests not to lift the creatures out of the water but you can hold them just under the surface.

Hands on fun & learning in the touch pools at Sea World San Diego

Bat Rays – “Pet” the bat rays as they slide across the water but watch out for errant fins, you could really get soaked! All of these rays have had their stingers removed so they are completely safe to touch.

Hands on fun & learning in the touch pools at Sea World San Diego

One thing you’ll notice about all my Sea World San Diego touch pool images is that my son always has his hands in the water. He’s definitely my adventure seeker! I’m not fond of putting my hand in the cold water or touching the fish myself but I can still learn without touching.

  • Ask the handlers any question and they are always more than generous with their responses.
  • There is also always a good amount of info posted around the park about each creature that lives there.
  • Brush up online before your visit so you’ll know what to expect about each creature.

 

Here is the map of our Blogorail Peach | Family Adventure : Aquariums


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SoCal Guide – SeaWorld San Diego Dine with Shamu

Dine with Shamu at SeaWorld San Diego

Have you ever dined with an orca whale? We have! It’s an experience not to forget. Shamu dines and entertains luncheon guests at Sea World San Diego in the Dine with Shamu event.

Dine with Shamu at SeaWorld San Diego

Our reservation was at 12:30 and we arrived 15-minutes early to wait in line. My family was able to see the orca whales swimming in the underwater viewing area while we waited. We had our photo taken as a group in front of a large picture of Shamu. We were never given anything or shown our picture so I’m not sure what the picture op was for!

Dine with Shamu at SeaWorld San Diego

The host seated us at a long table against the glass with a great view of the pool. The dining space was in a curve around a viewing pool with the buffet room and restrooms in the center. A trainer was speaking over a microphone for the guests to hear but unfortunately most of the people were in line for the buffet and probably didn’t catch the educational talk.

Dine with Shamu at SeaWorld San Diego

I stayed behind with our toddler while the rest of my group got their plates of food so I was able to listen to the trainer talk and watch her toss fish by the handfuls to the orcas. Fortunately by the time most everyone was back at the tables with their food, the two orca whales were doing some performing and getting close to the glass.

Dining with Shamu at SeaWorld San Diego

They jumped, twirled, stuck their tongues out and pulled themselves up on the deck right next to our table! It was incredible to be so close to these beautiful creatures!

Dine with Shamu at SeaWorld San Diego

A waitress took drink orders and kept on top of bringing refills for everyone in our party. Standard soft drinks, coffee and tea were included in the price and alcohol and specialty drinks were extra. The kid’s drinks were served in souvenir plastic cups that we took home with us.

Dine with Shamu at SeaWorld San Diego

As for the food, it was really quite delicious and not the typical buffet-fare. There were a variety of unique and tasty salads. My family enjoyed the sustainable fish dishes including the salmon and shrimp. There was a pot of steaming hot clam chowder, soft rolls with butter and a server was carving fresh pork. The smashed red potatoes were perfect alongside a saucy chicken breast and steamed veggies. The “kid’s section” included Swedish meatballs, creamy mac and cheese, mixed vegetables and breaded chicken.

Fortunately by the time most everyone was back at the tables with their food, the two orca whales were doing some performing and getting close to the glass.

The dessert bar was heavenly! It included carrot cupcakes (my toddler took mine right off my plate!), fresh fruit salad, and chocolate-covered Shamu shaped cookies. There was cheesecake with a variety of toppings; I had the pumpkin cheesecake with fresh whipped cream and caramel sauce…amazing! The cherry on top of the meal were the delicious vanilla mint canolis. We had several of them, they were so yummy!

Dine with Shamu at SeaWorld San Diego

This is from SeaWorld’s website in regards to the food that they serve:

Our commitment to care for the natural world extends to the food that we serve. From sustainable seafood to organic coffee, even our menu items promote environmental responsibility.

Why is it important to choose sustainable seafood? As the world’s appetite for seafood skyrockets and commercial fishing becomes increasingly efficient, many of our ocean’s fisheries are overfished, overexploited or collapsing. Choosing sustainable seafood that was responsibly fished or farmed replenishes our oceans, preserves species and ensures a healthy world for future generations.

Our signature Dine With Shamu dining experience also features menu items that are sustainable, organic and locally sourced. From fresh California salad greens to locally-grown vegetables, in-season produce is selected straight from regional farmers. This ensures not only that our guests are getting the freshest produce available, but also that this produce has a minimal carbon footprint.

Dine with Shamu at SeaWorld San Diego

We had a wonderful experience at the Dine with Shamu lunch! It was so nice to have such an up-close and personal view of the whales. I appreciated that the food wasn’t an afterthought to the show and instead was a delicious and filling meal.

Other dining options for SeaWorld San Diego include Breakfast with Shamu or the All-Day Dining Deal which is good for other dining locations (not the Dine with Shamu area).

Dine with Shamu at SeaWorld San Diego


We received four complimentary buffet meals in exchange for this post. All comments and opinions are my own.

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SoCal Guide – SeaWorld Halloween Spooktacular

Sea World San Diego - Halloween Spooktacular

My family and I had the pleasure of experiencing SeaWorld San Diego’s fun Halloween Spooktacular event this past weekend. We brought our three kids dressed in their costumes for the event: Ninja, Vanellope Von Schweetz and Mickey Mouse, along with their cousin Elsa from Frozen!

Sea World San Diego - Halloween Spooktacular

The main Spooktacular area is called Otto and Penelope’s Pumpkinfish Patch. DJ Rock Candy was spinning fun tunes and two costumed dancers (Red the Licorice Kid and cowgirl Sally Taffy) were engaging the crowd. My three kids hovered on the fringe and prefered to just watch the action instead of dancing along. But if they’d wanted to dance, I’d have been right alongside them!

A costumed mermaid was taking photos with the kids. For an additional charge kids could decorate cookies or paint pumpkins at one of the many shaded picnic tables. There were great underwater/Halloween-themed photo areas, including these pumpkinfish!

Sea World San Diego - Halloween Spooktacular

There are ten trick-or-treat areas spread out around the park for this event. These stations are designated on the map we were given when we entered the park. Costume or not, young guests are welcome to grab a free bag and receive a treat. Our kids received great treats including Jelly Belly candy corn & jelly bean packs, M&Ms, SunRype Fruit Strips and Junior Mints.

Sea World San Diego - Halloween Spooktacular

We missed Clyde & Seamore’s Spooky Adventure Halloween-themed show but I’m sure it was comical; the sea lion show is always a hoot. We did catch the Sesame Street gang dressed up in their costumes and posing for pictures over at Sesame Street Bay of Play. Elmo was dressed as a skeleton!

Sea World San Diego - Halloween Spooktacular

The SeaWorld Halloween Spooktacular is included with the regular park admission. Open weekends until Oct 26th, 2014. For the rest of October kids are free (ages 3-9 years old) with a full-price paid adult admission.

Kids are FREE in San Diego during the month of October!

Offering 100+ FREE things for kids in the San Diego area, Kidvasion in October has begun!!

Photo: San Diego.org

October is a great time to visit San Diego. The summer crowds have gone, the weather is still quite warm and of course, all the fun, free things for kids that are being offered in the San Diego area for the entire month.

From free restaurant dining, free museum visits, free amusement park tickets to free transportation; We are talking big deal savings here, including free admission to the World Famous San Diego Zoo and Safari Park , Sea World San Diego and Legoland California! See the Model Railroad Museum, Reuben H. Fleet Science Center and the San Diego Children’s Discovery museum. Take free rides on the Amtrack Pacific Surfliner and free cruises on the Hornblower. Visit the Birch Aquarium, U.S.S. Midway and Belmont Park…for free!

Check out this link to San Diego.org and find out more about this promotion. It’s a great time to visit our great city!

SoCal Guide – Sea World San Diego

Want to hold a sea star? Or get up-close and personal with sea turtles? Watch an orca whale leap from the water, see penguins dive into icy water or observe beluga whales below water? Want to meet a dolphin (and probably get splashed?) Then Sea World San Diego is the place for you!

Sea World San Diego Guide

As a San Diego native, my family and I have been going to Sea World for as long as I can remember. The park has changed quite a bit over the years but some things have remained constant throughout; Sea World San Diego has always been a unique experience, safe, clean and well-kept with offerings of education alongside the fun!

Sea World San Diego Guide

Start your planning with a park map and plot out your day. It is quite possible to see all of the exhibits in one day (if you aren’t lingering too long in any one place) however it might be a challenge to see all of the shows. Show times often overlap so I definitely recommend choosing your must-do and make sure you get to those shows early (at least 20 minutes, but 30 minutes is even better on busy days) for the best seat.

Remember to pay attention to the “soak zone” areas and protect your belongings; This includes your littlest ones…I was once drenched head-to-toe at the Shamu show on a chilly day, along with my very peeved six month old! Make sure to stop off at the Shamu Underwater Viewing area for an intimate look at the orcas swimming. They often come right up to the glass to say “hello”!

Sea World San Diego guide

Shamu’s One Ocean is a must-see. Even though trainers no longer join the orcas in the water, the show is still very exciting. Seeing enormous killer whales leap so effortlessly is a magnificent sight to see! Pet’s Rule animal show is one of our family favorites too. Sea Lions LIVE is fast paced, funny and very popular so make sure you get there early for a good seat!

Cuddly creatures at Sea World San Diego

Sea World has always been the place for unique interactions with marine life and now with the addition of many rides, Sea World San Diego is a place for mild and wild thrills as well! Manta is the newest coaster and afterwards you can visit the interactive manta ray exhibit. The rays flop right up next to the ledge and let you “pet” them!

Touch manta rays at Sea World San Diego

Journey to Atlantis is my kid’s favorite; they love that 60-foot drop! And my husband  likes it too…it’s a very refreshing splash on a hot day!

Journey to Atlantis - Sea World San Diego

Sesame Street Bay of Play is the place to let little ones burn off some energy. There are several rides (aimed at the younger set) along with ropes to climb, fun house mirrors, slides and carnival games (for extra coin). We even won a giant giraffe pillow on the ring toss last time!

There is a baby and toddler soft-play area as well. Elmo and friends make an appearance at scheduled times for photo opportunities with guests.  There is a water-play area here for hot days. The Sesame Street Bay of Play is a popular area that can get quite congested so we usually stop here first thing in the morning.

Sea World San Diego

Sea World San Diego

There are several places around the park where guests can interact with sea life. At Dolphin Point you can literally pet and feed a dolphin…and probably get wet, these guys are very playful and sometimes full of pranks!

Tide pools at Sea World San Diego

We have yet to see Explorer’s Reef but with four touch-pools it sounds like it will be another incredible interactive experience. These photos are my son through the years at the Tide Pools.

Interactive sea life at Sea World San Diego

One of the more amazing attractions is Shark Encounter. After viewing the sharks from above, guests journey through a tunnel that transports you right into the shark tank! As sharks float above and around you, you’ll be thrilled and terrified all at the same time!

Next door to Shark Encounter, be sure to visit Turtle Reef and see these gentle giants floating inside a floor-to-ceiling tank (and they are usually eating lettuce for lunch!)

Turtle Reef - Sea World San Diego

The Wild Arctic Flight Simulator ride takes guests on a fantastical journey that lands them on a glacier. Afterwards get close to real arctic animals like polar bear, walrus and beluga whales. This is one of my favorite areas of the park because you can view the belugas both above and below the water.

Polar bear at Sea World San Diego

Everyone enjoys the ice wall feature inside Wild Arctic! You can run your hands across it (some guests press a penny into the ice to make a hole). Across from the Wild Arctic area you can visit the Penguin Encounter which is my most favorite place. A long moving sidewalk takes you through the exhibit where you can view nearly 300 penguins in action. I love watching the penguins swimming so quickly underwater and then propelling themselves straight out to land on the rocks…I could watch that all day!!

Sea World San Diego

Sea World San Diego offers Premier Experiences that put guests right into the water with beluga whales, penguins or dolphins (for an additional fee). You can also get a more in-depth experience or a behind-the-scenes peek at marine life with one of several tours that Sea World offers.

The park has many great choices for dining including my favorite, Calypso Bay Smokehouse (it’s hard to resist when you smell the barbeque ribs and chicken!) Sea World offers a very reasonably priced All-Day Dining Deal for guests, which includes dining at four of their popular restaurants for the entire day you spend at the park.

There is also the unique dining option of eating alongside the orca tank at either Breakfast with Shamu or Dine with Shamu. Both are buffet-type meals with delicious sounding dishes on the menus.

Tide Pools at Sea World San Diego

Stop over at the Sea World San Diego website to learn more about their park, educational programs and both day and overnight camps for students and families. Sea World is a place to learn, discover and also have a lot of good family fun!

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