Dolphins, orcas, penguins, otters, sea lions, beluga whales, sharks, seals, walruses – name the marine animal and you can see it at SeaWorld San Diego.
SeaWorld’s aquariums have nearly 13,000 fish and invertebrates from more than 500 species found across the globe. You can see fish that are only found in the Amazon River in Brazil, colourful creatures that live on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and the animals that call California home.
Animal welfare is a core value of SeaWorld San Diego. For more than five decades, the SeaWorld Rescue team has provided a second chance at life to more than 33,000 animals, always with the goal of rehabilitating them and returning them to the wild.
You can see some of the results of that conservation effort throughout the park.
SeaWorld has a raft of rescued otters at Otter Outlook. California sea otters are listed as a threatened species by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The otters are often entangled in fishing nets, suffer from oil spills or succumb to diseases in the wild. The four otters here faced certain death in the wild. SeaWorld rehabilitated and hand raised them in cooperation with the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Sea Otter Program. Keep a look out for the youngest Sea Otter, Pumpkin. She’s excitable, active and always getting into mischief.
If you like turtles, you will love the Turtle Reef aquarium. It is home to threatened loggerhead, hawksbill and green sea turtles. The exhibit also has an interactive game – Race for the Beach which pits participants against others to illustrate sea turtles’ daunting sea-to-shore journey.
SeaWorld is also home to only emperor penguin colony in the western hemisphere, with 21 successful hatchings since 1980. If your children are above 6, they can book in for a penguin encounter, where animal experts share their experiences in caring for these unique animals and the challenges they face in the wild.
Piranhas are known for their razor sharp teeth, specially designed to scoop out pieces of prey flesh. At SeaWorld, you can watch them feed from behind the safety of a glass wall. The park has one of the largest schools of piranhas on exhibit anywhere in the world. Kids love watching them tear apart their food in the daily feeding sessions.
At the Aquaria Touch Pool kids will learn about wavy top snails, spiny sea urchins and opaleye fish. They can even touch them and explore their small, complex ecosystem.
The theme park is spread across 77 hectares at Mission Bay Park. It’s a leader in the care, welfare, education, conservation, research and rescue of animals.
It aims to teach families about conservation, biology and earth science.
Kids can learn how killer whales move, hunt and navigate at the live-documentary style presentation, Orca Encounter, where images are projected onto a three-storey-high infinity video screen.
Get a close-up look at SeaWorld’s dolphins and pilot whales and the relationship they have with their trainers at Dolphin Days. You can also see trainers get in the water and play, swim and splash with bottlenose dolphins at Dolphin Point, and may even get a chance to feed a dolphin, watch a medical check-up or give the dolphins signals – just like a trainer.
You’ll get a great laugh at Sea Lions LIVE where SeaWorld’s park’s prank-loving pinnipeds Clyde and Seamore, and the adorable O.P. Otter poke fun at popular TV shows with their own renditions, including their Dancing with the Stars parody.
SeaWorld San Diego has sea-inspired rides to keep thrill-seekers entertained. Try Tentacle Twirl, Sea Dragon Drop and Aqua Scout. You will need to be brave to try the new Electric Eel rollercoaster. It flies at more than 90km per hour forwards and backwards through looping twists and an inverted heartline roll and drops riders from heights of more than 45 metres.
Manta, the double-launch rollercoaster has a 16-metre drop and twists and turns that make riders feel like they’re soaring and diving like a giant manta ray.
For more information go to: seaworld.com/san-diego