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10 Things to Know Before Visiting the LEGOLAND California Water Park

As LEGOLAND California continues to grow, I’m finding that one day just isn’t enough. This is definitely a destination vacation spot for families! If you’re planning a visit to LEGOLAND California, consider adding an extra day or two to your visit. You’ll be able to spend time in the theme park itself, as well as the attached LEGOLAND Sealife Aquarium and LEGOLAND California Water Park. The water park has recently undergone an expansion and it’s a fantastic place to spend a warm day!

From cool rides, water parks and billions of bricks, here's why you should plan a LEGOLAND California vacation!

The Duplo Splash Zoo at LEGOLAND California in Carlsbad

I am a LEGOLAND ambassador. I have received complimentary tickets to the parks. All thoughts and opinions are my own. There are affiliate links in this post. Purchasing through my link helps me in a small financial way, thank you.

Last year I visited the LEGOLAND water park for the first time. My kids had been with their grandma but this was my first visit. I was really impressed with the variety of play areas for a wide range of kids. I have a 15-month old, 5 year old and two 13-year olds and each of them enjoyed something different at the water park.

I’ve since been able to visit two more times and have truly enjoyed the visit. There are ample seating areas for those not wanting to swim. Areas are spread out to lessen the crowd impact. And I love the diversity of the play areas for a variety of ages.

From cool rides, water parks and billions of bricks, here's why you should plan a LEGOLAND California vacation!

1. Locker Rentals and Changing Areas

You can’t wear your swimsuit inside the LEGOLAND theme park. In the mornings, I’d suggest wearing your suit under your clothing to enter the park. Once inside the water park you can easily remove your clothes, apply sunscreen and be quickly ready to swim!

After you’re done swimming and you need to walk into the theme park again, there are ample changing areas available. I like that I don’t have to stand in the toilet stall to change and that there are roomy private areas to change out of my wet suit.

I highly recommend renting a locker if you don’t have someone to watch your things. Don’t risk leaving your purse on an empty beach chair while you splash; get a locker instead so it’s safe inside.


2. Get Soaked (or Just a Little Wet)

Wanna get soaked? Stand under the Joker Soaker, where over 350 gallons of water drops from the clock tower overhead.

Don’t want to get submerged? At Eglor’s Build-a-Boat, guests can build a LEGO boat and set it free in the rushing water in a CHIMA display.

Planning to include a visit to the LEGOLAND California Water Park in your Southern California vacation? Here are 10 things you need to know before you go!

Joker Soaker dumps buckets of water!

3. Things for Families to Do Together

My three oldest kids (ages 5 to 13) enjoyed a good amount of time in the Lion Temple Wave Pool (over 42″ tall). My preschooler is a tall 46.5″ and the waves were still strong enough to knock him over. Take note if your younger kids aren’t swimming and make sure they’re wearing a life jacket.

The float on Orange Rush can hold four adults and two children (over 42″ tall).

Have a side by side water slide race on the Twin Chasers (over 42″ tall).

Build-a-Raft River. The idea of this lazy river is that you can collect the floating blocks in the water and add them to your raft. Unfortunately there are only a handful of blocks available. Best to just kick back and enjoy the ride!

Planning to include a visit to the LEGOLAND California Water Park in your Southern California vacation? Here are 10 things you need to know before you go!

The lazy river is my favorite!

4. Places for Babies and Toddlers

Duplo Splash Safari has shallow water that’s nice for wading. My baby was able to walk in the water while my preschooler went down the short water slides. There are even wide “family-sized” mini-water slides here so you can splash down together.

From cool rides, water parks and billions of bricks, here's why you should plan a LEGOLAND California vacation!

Babies and toddlers will enjoy the LEGOLAND California water park Safari Splash

There are complimentary life jackets for use in the parks. All babies are required to wear a swim diaper. If you forget to bring one with you, they do have a small gift shop that sells them.

Splash Zoo is specifically sized for babies and toddlers however there were older kids running around here on our visit. The spray from some of the fountains can be rather intense. As you can see, my toddler was none to happy about the sudden squirt!

Planning to include a visit to the LEGOLAND California Water Park in your Southern California vacation? Here are 10 things you need to know before you go!

5. Take Frequent Potty Breaks

Every few hours each of the sections will close. This allows guests to take a break, eat and use the restroom. Signs encourage parents to take their children for potty breaks. Even that might not be often enough, as they did have to close down one section for a “poop evacuation”…yuck! Kids under 3 need to wear swim diapers, so don’t forget to bring them!


Visiting with a Preschooler? Check out my post about LEGOLAND California on Traveling Mom.

6. Rent a Cabana

A total of 35 standard, premium and deluxe premium cabanas are located all over the LEGOLAND Water Park. Cost is dependent upon the season and can be found HERE.Planning to include a visit to the LEGOLAND California Water Park in your Southern California vacation? Here are 10 things you need to know before you go!

7. Surfers’ Cove is Coming Soon

Opening very soon is Surfers’ Cove. In Surfers’ Cove, kids will be able to race their friends at Riptide Racers timed water slides and enjoy an epic splash-ground at Wipeout Lagoon.

Riptide Racers will be a competitive water raceway designed for children to jump on a mat and race down one of six slides with family and friends for the fastest time! Each slide stands 17 feet high and is more than 100 feet in length. Wipeout Lagoon is a “spray ground” with multiple water jets splashing on and off and plenty of new LEGO® models like a surfing dog to create a fun place to cool off this summer.


Check out this post for 5 reasons to plan a LEGOLAND California vacation!

8. Swimming Makes Me Hungry!

Big appetite? There are some truly tasty and hearty dishes to order here. I had a chicken and avocado burrito on my last visit and it was big and delicious.

When Surfers’ Cove opens you can eat like native Southern Californians at the new Beach Street Tacos. My family got a “sneak taste” of the tacos and they were deliciously authentic. I still can’t decide which were my favorite – carnitas, carne asada or the fish!

From cool rides, water parks and billions of bricks, here's why you should plan a LEGOLAND California vacation!

Amazing street tacos will soon be offered at the LEGOLAND California Water Park

Legoland California hosts Brick or Treat Party Nights during Halloween.

9. Park Hours & Ticket Information

Hours of the LEGOLAND Water Park vary, depending upon the season. Be sure to check the guide to make sure it will be open when planning your visit.

Unfortunately there is only one entrance to the LEGOLAND Water Park and it requires a regular LEGOLAND theme park ticket to enter. This means you can’t plan a visit only to the water park. You’ll need a theme park admission to get to the water park. Upgrading your theme park ticket to included the water park is $30.

Planning to include a visit to the LEGOLAND California Water Park in your Southern California vacation? Here are 10 things you need to know before you go!

10. What to Bring with You (And What to Leave at Home)

Bring:

  • Your swimsuit
  • Towel
  • Sunscreen
  • Flip-flops (especially important when you need to use the restroom!)
  • Wet/Dry bag to hold suits when you go into the theme park
  • Water shoes are allowed (except on slides).

Leave:

  • Beach chair
  • Umbrella
  • Outside food

Save Money at LEGOLAND!

Purchase discount tickets and vacation packages from my affiliate Get Away Today. Use the Promo Code REWRITTEN and receive an extra $10 off any 2-night or longer Southern California package. (Hotel and 2 ticket minimum purchase to qualify for the discount). 

Planning to include a visit to the LEGOLAND California Water Park in your Southern California vacation? Here are 10 things you need to know before you go!


For more great water parks,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


SoCal Guide – Hands-on Fun at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center

Ever visited the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park? There are tons of hands-on science-minded activities for kids and adults alike. The IMAX movies are fantastic in the dome theater. We especially like visiting if it’s a rare rainy San Diego day because there is enough here to fill up the entire day.

Stop over at the Traveling Mom’s website and read my newest article, Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in San Diego -100 Ways for Kids to Learn and Play.

Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in San Diego

10 Tips for Surviving a Disneyland Rainy Day

Check out my Top 10 Tips for Surviving a Disneyland Rainy Day!

Sometimes it rains in Southern California. It doesn’t happen all that often so we’re often caught off-guard and total unprepared for even the slightest shower. Don’t let the rain put a damper on your day! I’ve been to Disneyland during a few heavy downpours and will share my insider tips for surviving a Disneyland rainy day.

Please note that this post contains affiliate links. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

Check out my Top 10 Tips for Surviving a Disneyland Rainy Day!

Check out my Top 10 Tips for Surviving a Disneyland Rainy Day!

Check the Forecast

Should you bring extra sunscreen or a poncho? Always best to know ahead of time by checking the weather forecast for Anaheim before your trip. Keep in mind that when it rains in Southern California, it’s usually accompanied by cooler weather which might be the opposite of what you’re used to if you frequent Walt Disney World.

Be Prepared

Bring what you need for a rainy day in the Park and don’t rely on purchasing there. Rain parkas are available but the price will be at a premium and you can buy them ahead of time.

Disney Kids’ Mickey and Minnie Mouse Poncho Set

Umbrellas are iffy. They are hard to wield in a crowd and might poke someone. I brought an umbrella to Disneyland once and it turned inside out during a gust of wind! However Southern Californians tend to be more of the umbrella-carrying type than the poncho-wearing type.

All Weather Disney Villains Travel Umbrella and All Weather Disney Castle Foldable Travel Umbrella

Wear sensible shoes like rain boots or sneakers that have been treated with Scotchguard. I also recommend that you purchase your Park tickets ahead of time from Park Savers. You’ll save a few dollars off the cost as well as save yourself from standing in the rain to buy tickets at the gate.

Park Savers affiliate link

Lock Up ‘Yer Valuables

If you don’t want it wet, put it in a locker for the day. Or use gallon-sized plastic zip bags for precious cargo like your wallet and cell phone.

Check out my Top 10 Tips for Surviving a Disneyland Rainy Day!

An Extra Set of Clothes

At the end of the day, you’ll be glad you brought extra clothes. I always seem to get the hem of my pants soaking wet on a rainy day and a dry pair is so nice put on! Bring a few extra pairs of socks too.

Seek Shelter and People-Watch

When all else fails and the rain is relentless, find a covered area. There are some outside areas with overhanging porches. I particularly like sitting in front of The Golden Horseshoe on a bench to watch the rain fall on the Rivers of America. And of course, to watch the tourists in flip-flops scurrying through the rain!

Golden Horseshoe at Disneyland

Eat Indoors & Dine Leisurely

Many of the restaurants around Disneyland offer both outdoor or indoor dining. On a rainy day skip the patio and go inside for your meals. I recall a particularly soggy day when my son and I sought respite inside Cafe Orleans and it was great to sit inside. By the time we got to the dessert beignets my coat was dry.

Check out my Top 10 Tips for Surviving a Disneyland Rainy Day!

With rain in your forecast, this is a perfect time to get an Advanced Dining Reservation for a Character Meal (like Ariel’s Grotto, Minnie’s Breakfast in the Park or Goofy’s Kitchen) and take your time eating and getting autographs and photos.

Shop

Slowly walking through the shops while you wait for the clouds to clear is a fun pastime. Emporium, Elias & Co. and World of Disney are loaded with goodies. Or stop in at the Mad Hatter to see which chapeau works for you!

Check out my Top 10 Tips for Surviving a Disneyland Rainy Day!

Watch a Show

Rain or shine, taking in the entertainment at Disneyland is always a great choice. Little ones would love the Disney Jr – Live on Stage! show. The show Frozen: Live on Stage at the Hyperion takes place at Disney California Adventure Park and that soaks up about an hour of time.

Ride Inside

Some of the outside rides close down during a downpour but there is still plenty that remains open. If the Park isn’t particularly busy, ask if you can ride multiple times without getting out of your seat. We’ve taken on Zurg over and over inside Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters on a rainy day!

Check out my Top 10 Tips for Surviving a Disneyland Rainy Day!

Fireside at the Grand Californian

A quick walk through Downtown Disney and you can enjoy the lobby at Disney’s Grand Californian Resort & Spa. Get a drink at the lobby Hearthstone Lounge and warm up by the fireplace. At certain times, live piano music is played.

Retreat to your Hotel

So despite the good efforts, you’re soaked through? Time to retreat and head back to the hotel and wait out the storm. Take a hot shower, change your clothes and consider returning to the Parks later in the day.

10 Tips for Surviving a Disneyland Rainy Day

Ahhh, take off your wet clothes and slip on a nice warm robe.


DOWNFALL OF A DISNEY DOWNPOUR

  • Outdoor shows may be cancelled.
  • Some outdoor rides closed during rain.
  • Harder to take photographs.
  • Parade is abbreviated or cancelled outright.

The biggest benefit to a rainy day at Disneyland is that crowds are considerably thinned out. With certain attractions rained-out you’ll also have the ability to think outside the box and experience things you might not have otherwise!

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Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is Magical Mickey Tips.

MB-Blue-Logo

Here is the map of our Blogorail should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to reboard:

1st Stop – My Dreams of Disney – Magic Kingdom Attractions for Rainy Days

2nd Stop – Frontierland Station – Don’t Let The Weather Rain On Your Disney Parade

3rd Stop – Ashley Aspires – Rainy Day Resort Hopping

4th Stop – Saving Up for Disney – YOU ARE HERE!

Final Stop – Magical Mickey Tips- Top Tips For Rainy Options at Walt Disney World

 

SoCal Guide – Stack Up the Fun at LEGOland California!

Stack Up the Fun at Legoland California! -What to ride, see & eat at LEGOland Ca.

LEGOland is a wonderful park for a wide variety of ages. There are play areas for toddlers, rides that will please older kids and LEGO displays that will put any adult in awe. Here’s what you can expect of a day at LEGOland, California.

It had been at least 5 years since I last visited LEGOland California. My two older boys and I were annual passholders for several years and LEGOland was one of our favorite weekend spots. We loved the LEGOland Brick or Treat Halloween Party, sharing a tub of Granny’s Apple Fries or simply building creations inside the Imagination Zone. On each visit we enjoyed a stroll through Miniland USA, the heartbeat of the Park.

With a drive of 30 minutes from our house, my kids and I were happy to escape our Saturday chores last weekend and visit LEGOland California for the day!

What to do at Legoland California

Since it had been so long since my last visit, I was looking forward to seeing the changes that Park had made over the last few years. You can’t miss the largest addition, the LEGOland Hotel located at the front entrance of the Park. My kids stayed their last summer with their grandmother and said it was so much fun. LEGOland is known for their unique, tongue-in-cheek humor so it was no surprise to me that the hotel features a disco ball in the elevator and a treasure hunt inside the rooms!

What to do at Legoland California

I noticed right off the bat that there were more large LEGO figures. A lifesize Darth Vader greeted guests. There were more animals on the Safari Trek and more figures on the Fairy Tale Brook. The addition of LEGO Star Wars to Miniland was a highlight.

What to do at Legoland California

What to do at Legoland California

My stepdaughter has Autism so I inquired with Guest Services at the start of our visit. She supplied me with a simple “Assisted Access Pass”. This business card had the date, number of people in our party and my daughter’s name. Instructions on the card let us know that we were permitted to enter rides through the exit and wait there so we didn’t have to stand in a crowded queue. This definitely helped alleviate any stress (helpful for me since I was the only adult on this adventure!)

What to do at Legoland California

This day marked the first time that my preschooler had been to LEGOland. I familiarized him with a few of the rides on the LEGOland website beforehand so he was excited to try them out! He has just reached 40″ tall (yes, at only 3 years and 2 months old!) so he was tall enough to ride several of the coasters. He braved the Coastersaurus first thing and after a few “Oh, my tummy!” moments on the ride, he was craving more!

What to do at Legoland California

Duplo Village was a hit, as I expected it to be! There are quaint little houses set up like a town including a firestation with a pole and tons of stairs and slides. A tiny train, the LEGOland Express, rides around here as well. Plan for plenty of time in this area if you have a preschooler, they absolutely love this place!

What to do at Legoland California

What to do at Legoland California

Fun Town really is…fun! Skipper School and Driving School with their trackless vehicles are can’t miss attractions. There is even a Junior Driving School for little ones aged 3-5. My preschooler got about a quarter of the way around the track before crashing, it was adorable to watch the little ones in their cars! The Adventure’s Club walk-through is a favorite for my older ones though my preschooler was too nervous of the dark areas.

What to do at Legoland California

What to do at Legoland California

The new LEGO Star Wars area in Miniland USA did not disappoint. There are some amazingly detailed scenes from the movies featured here! This area was incredible and a must see for any Star Wars fan.

Star Wars Miniland at Legoland California

What to do at Legoland California

We ate lunch at Burger Stop which had hearty sized Angus beef burgers. There are many unusual and healthy dining choices throughout the Park, including salad bar, panini sandwiches, stir fry or homemade soups.

What to do at Legoland California

After lunch we made our way over to the Land of Adventure, where my kids slid down the Dune Raiders slide several times, I rode the Cargo Ace with my little one and we shot laser guns in the Lost Kingdom Adventure ride.

 

What to do at Legoland California

My little one was ready to conquer the Dragon coaster in Castle Hill, in which more “Oh, my tummy!” moments occurred! LEGOland is full of sweet areas that highlight their master builder’s works including the Enchanted Walk which features woodland animals. The big kids braved the Knights’ Tournament and the LEGO Technic Coaster.

What to do at Legoland California

We ended the day on the Coast Cruise, where more of that silly LEGO humor is on display. Poor George, he’s getting his ears cleaned out!

What to do at Legoland California

What to do at Legoland California

An enjoyable day was had by all! Next time we’ll plan our visit when we can don our bathing suits and get splashed at one of the LEGOland water parks (additional admission fee required). They are closed in the off season but reopen in the spring. If you have extra time, plan a visit to see the SeaLife Aquarium  (separate admission required).

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Christmas at Disneyland Park – The Merriest Place on Earth!

Christmas at Disneyland - The Merriest Place on Earth!

Christmas at Disneyland is nothing else but…MAGICAL! Even before you step inside the gates, you will see that the Park is decorated to the hilt. You will be amazed at the detailed Christmas displays down Main Street, U.S.A. From the 60-foot tall fully-decorated Christmas tree in Town Square to the colorful floral decor, nothing has been left untouched by the holiday spirit in Disneyland Park!


Here are the holiday highlights for Christmas at Disneyland Park –

Greet the characters dressed up in their holiday finest. We always make a point to take pictures with our favorites on Main Street, U.S.A. first thing in the morning. Check out the enormous ornaments and packages at the Christmas tree. This is a popular location and for good reason…it’s the perfect spot to take the photo you use on your Christmas card!

Christmas at Disneyland - The Merriest Place on Earth!

Guests may book the seasonal favorite “Holiday Time at the Disneyland Resort” guided tour which provides entry (subject to availability) into “it’s a small world” Holiday, Haunted Mansion Holiday and Jingle Cruise along with reserved seating and a holiday treat while enjoying “A Christmas Fantasy” parade. The tour also includes viewing of the holiday décor in Disney California Adventure, a keepsake remembrance and entertaining information about Disneyland holiday traditions. For information and reservations guests may visit any Disneyland Resort Guest Relations location or call (714) 781-TOUR (781-8687).

We have yet to experience the “Jingle Cruise”, a holiday version of the popular Jungle Cruise attraction but it sounds like it’s going to be as adventurous (and silly) as ever!

Christmas at Disneyland - The Merriest Place on Earth!

Mosey on over to the Jingle Jangle Jamboree in Big Thunder Ranch for fun and games including music, games and character meet-and-greets. There are also crafts, cookie decoratings and seasonal entertainment. Pluto joined us at craft time one year! You’ll also be able to catch Mr & Mrs Claus for photos there as well!

Christmas at Disneyland - The Merriest Place on Earth!

Haunted Mansion Holiday continues its wild mash-up, covering Halloween & Christmas, with Jack Skellington from Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas” at the helm!

Special holiday food items include Walt’s favorite gingerbread cookies at Jolly Holiday Bakery and Café and holiday tamale plates at Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante. Elf Mickey premium popcorn buckets and drink steins are available in both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure.

Christmas at Disneyland - The Merriest Place on Earth!

 “it’s a small world” Holiday has taken on a completely new overlay for the winter season with the children of the world dressed up in the holiday attire of their nations. This is a can’t miss attraction after dark! More than 300,000 lights glitter and every 15-minutes, the façade of the attraction is transformed with advanced 3D-projection technology.

Find a great seat for “A Christmas Fantasy” parade, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. There are 100+ performers in the parade and you’ll be sure to see Mickey,  Minnie and a special guest from the North Pole…Santa Claus!  Anna and Elsa from “Frozen” are joining the parade this year and it’s a great way to see them without waiting in any lines!

Each area of the Park is decorated for the holidays with amazing themed decor for that Land. I particularly love the colorful garlands in Mickey’s Toontown.

Christmas at Disneyland - The Merriest Place on Earth!

At nightfall, choose a prime spot on Main Street U.S.A for the spectacular special-effects show and holiday lighting. Magic will happen from Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle all the way down to the Disneyland Christmas Tree in Town Square.

Your Disneyland Christmas is not complete without a viewing of  “Believe … in Holiday Magic” fireworks show. Snow will fall upon Main Street, U.S.A., “it’s a small world” Mall and New Orleans Square! It’s a magical holiday feeling, for sure!!


Have you ever visited Disneyland Park during the Christmas season? What is your favorite part of the holidays at Disneyland? Share in the comments below!

I recommend purchasing your tickets early through Park Savers. Save a few dollars as well as time at the gate (affiliate link).

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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.

SoCal Guide – San Diego Zoo

SoCal Guide - San Diego Zoo

You can also find a more detailed review of the San Diego Zoo at Traveling Mom.

At a vast 100 acres, the San Diego Zoo is a sprawling paradise in the middle of the city. Plenty has evolved at the zoo over the years including a move away from isolated cages towards lush, natural exhibits that mimic that animal’s habitat.

The zoo is a pleasurable outdoor experience that takes all day to properly explore. It is home to more than 3700 rare and endangered animals and a botanical collection with 700,000+ plants. The zoo sits within Balboa Park, a 1200 acre cultural park (the nation’s largest).

SoCal Guide - San Diego Zoo

There are many ways to explore the San Diego Zoo (see MAP here). Guests can take a 35-minute Guided Bus Tour on double-decker buses that give a good overview of the zoo. There is also the option of the “Kangaroo” Express Bus that stops at several locations for guests to access different areas. The Guided Bus Tour & Express Bus is included in the 1-Day Pass admission price (Zoo pass members pay extra).

SoCal Guide - San Diego Zoo

There are many pathways that guests can walk, which reach aviaries and enclosures that the zoo does not cover on the bus. I highly recommend that guests take one of the bus tours first and from there plan their own walking tour to more deeply explore other areas. Please note that many of the trails are quite steep so be sure to take advantage of the Skyfari Aeriel Tram. This will transport you quickly across the zoo to the higher regions and you can work your way back downhill. I love this amazing view of the city and Balboa Park museums over the lush treetops of the zoo!

SoCal Guide - San Diego Zoo

The zoo offers a few shows and animal presentations. The shows are a nice place to get off your feet for a bit though you will be in the sun. Check out the animal encounter section to see what Keeper Talks are planned during your visit. We usually catch them on Front Street coming in and out of the park.

SoCal Guide - San Diego Zoo

Even if you don’t have kids with you, please make it a point to stop in at the Children’s Zoo area. There are animals here that you won’t find in other areas including the amusing Naked Mole-Rats. My little one’s favorite area is the Petting Paddock where he can pet the goats and sheep. Just inside the entrance to this area there is also a playground so we usually spend about 30 minutes letting our stroller-bound toddler run around. There are several other play areas around the park where kids can explore.

SoCal Guide - San Diego Zoo

Accessed only by the walking paths, making your way through the cool confines of one of the aviaries is one of the most fascinating parts of a San Diego Zoo visit. If you walk too fast you’ll miss a lot so make sure to find a bench to bird-watch. Many of these birds are camouflaged in the lush trees and bushes and you won’t see them until you pause to look. Keepers set up trays of fruit and the birds stop over to nibble.

SoCal Guide - San Diego Zoo

Panda Canyon has three giant pandas on exhibit and they are so fun and playful to watch as they climb trees and strip bamboo. The hippos have a cool upper and lower exhibit so you can watch them swim (so graceful under water!) Elephant Odyssey is awesome; Last time we were there the elephants were loping around to grab branches from each other and it was so cool to watch! Take a stroll through Monkey Trails – Orangutans are one of my favorites, they can be so silly! Many of the animals have live cameras on their enclosure so you can also watch them from home.

SoCal Guide - San Diego Zoo

Dining at the Zoo is mostly walk-up with outdoor patio dining. Offerings are wide and include sandwiches, grilled burgers & chicken, salads, wraps and Chinese. The full-service dining restaurant, Albert’s offers a more elegant selection. You can also bring in any of your own food from home (which we frequently do) and have a picnic lunch in the Treetops Cafe seating area. Please note that straws are not permitted as they are a choking hazard to the animals.

SoCal Guide - San Diego Zoo

The San Diego Zoo offers special experiences at an additional fee, including an early-morning tour to visit the pandas, overnight sleepovers in the park or Breakfast with Koalas, a buffet that overlooks the koala exhibit. Educational classes and camps can also be booked.

SoCal Guide - San Diego Zoo

Parking in the lot is free. You can purchase zoo tickets in advance online or at the booths. And as the old advertising jingle went, “You Belong in the Zoo…The San Diego Zoo!”

SoCal Guide - San Diego Zoo


 

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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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