As a blogger, I may be compensated in some way (either pay, product, or experience) for sharing the post below All opinions are my own. ~Heidi
Welcome to the next stop on Magical Blogorail Peach. Today we are discussing aquariums that your family needs to visit.
It just so happens that my family recently took a trip to Orlando, FL. And, instead of hanging out at our beloved Walt Disney World, we decided to spend each day of our trip visiting a part of what is commonly referred to as “the other Orlando.” Each Tuesday, I’ve been sharing our trip reports. So far, I’ve shared our experiences with Busch Gardens Tampa, Legoland, Kennedy Space Center, and Universal Studios (focusing on the Wizarding World).
The last stop on our trip report tour brings me to Sea World and the topic for this week’s loop. I’d like to tell you about our day at Sea World, and share my thoughts on why I think your family should visit too . . .
A Bit About Our Day
Our family had visited Sea World in 2005, so (unlike all the other stops on our “other Orlando” tour) we were somewhat familiar with this park. We knew what rides we wanted to go on and what shows we wanted to see, and we were somewhat familiar with the park layout. We arrived early and got a great parking spot and (thanks to having pre-purchased tickets online) we pretty much walked right in. It was a beautiful day and we were all excited to visit again!
Our very first stop was to ride the Manta. This is a ride that wasn’t there on our last visit, so we were excited to check it out. The wait time was only 5 minutes, so Ashley and I hopped in line while Brian waited with Gracie and Ian. I don’t normally get motion sick on rides, but I got off of this one feeling a bit queasy. Gracie, though, had gotten up the courage to check it out; so she and Ashley hopped back in line while the rest of us perused the gift shop and the aquarium that’s located underneath the ride.
After the girls got off (Gracie loved it!) we headed toward the Antarctica section of the park. The Empire of the Penguin attraction was really fun (though we chose the “wild” version and, since I wasn’t feeling the greatest, the “mild” would have been more my speed. Sea World has this to say about the attraction:
Get transported into the rarely seen and icy world of Antarctica. You’ll feel the majestic grandeur of the South Pole and see it through the eyes of a penguin named Puck on an exhilarating, first-of-its-kind family adventure ride. You’ll be able to choose a “mild” or “wild” version of this trackless, motion-based simulator experience.
It was definitely unlike any ride I’ve ever been on. The kids loved it. Afterwards, you have a chance to walk through a real penguin habitat and watch the penguins up close and personal. It was really quite interesting and fun and I could have stood there and watched them for awhile longer, but it was rather stinky!
Next on our list was the Krakken. Brian and I had ridden it in 2005 and LOVED it. We’ve been talking about it ever since. So, I bravely hop into the line with Ashley while, once again, Brian waits with the kids. When we got off, I literally thought I was going to die. Once again, Gracie decided she wanted to give it a go, so while the girls rode, I sat on a bench with my head leaning on Brian and pondered crawling back into bed. I think, at that point, I realized that my coaster riding days are over (or, at the least, very numbered). Let’s just say I was very glad we got the crazy stuff crossed off our list early in the day. I knew the rest of the day could be more leisurely.
We crossed the park and headed toward the whale show – One Ocean – for the 12:00 show. We got a seat right about the splash zone (since we knew from prior experience that you really can get soaked at this show!) We were all just stunned and amazed by the beauty and intelligence of the whales. It’s simply amazing what the trainers can do with them. There’s just something beyond amazing about being THAT CLOSE to a pool with whales swimming and jumping in it. To me, it doesn’t get much better than that! (Except maybe the dolphin show!)
After watching One Ocean, we grabbed lunch next door at Mango Joe’s. Gracie and I split a chicken sandwich, Brian and Ashley split a burger, and Ian had a chicken tenders kids meal. We all really liked our food and the nice shady seating area.
Next on the agenda, it was time for some fun for Ian so we headed to Shamu’s Happy Harbor. Thankfully both of the girls were good sports and took turns riding with him! (Honestly, I don’t recall this area being a part of Sea World last time we visited, but it’s a pleasant addition for those with young children.)
We strolled through the area where I’m sure the Anheiser Busch Clydesdales used to be – now home to a neat “garden” area filled with cool creations made out of recyclables.
Despite the fact that I HATE sharks, we did journey through the Shark Encounter. (shudder!) Then we took a trip up in the Sky Tower. You can see for miles from up there, but pictures don’t come out very nicely, due to the covering on the glass.
We went to hang out by the Stingray pool and petted the rays for awhile. They are an interesting breed! The feel so smooth and slimy. It’s gross, yet you can’t help but keep feeling them! Poor things. It must be awful to be exploited like that!
We saved the very best for last . . . Dolphin Cove and the Blue Horizons show. I love dolphins (in fact, it’s on my bucket list to swim with them one day). The show was beyond my wildest expectations. Not only were there amazingly talented dolphins, but the show was also full of tropical birds and acrobats. There was so much to see that it was actually impossible to take it all in. (I wish I could see it again a time or two before trying to put it into words). Needless to say, it was a perfect way to end the day. As you can see by the picture below, poor Ian was worn out and fell asleep on Ashley’s shoulder and missed the whole show!
The girls decided to take one more ride on Manta before leaving. Brian, Ian, and I opted to visit the candy store instead. We bought some yummy caramel apples to take back to our house and share.
Despite starting out my day feeling horrible, I would definitely say that we had a great day!
What We Liked
The shows! We were amazed at the shows! We all love dolphins and whales, and the shows were just spectacular.
The food was good. We split meals for lunch and all thought that what we chose was delicious.
The rides. There is a nice selection of rides for both thrill-seekers and little kids alike.
The cleanliness of the park.
What We Didn’t Like
I said this the last time that we visited Sea World and I’ll say it again . . . it’s NOT Disney. What I mean by that is that the park is laid out in a much more confusing manner. It’s harder to get from Point A to Point B. But, that being said, I felt a bit more acclimated this trip than I did last time; so maybe I’m actually learning my way around.
I didn’t like the motion sickness, but I can’t blame that on Sea World. I guess I’ll blame it on old age instead!
Will We Visit Again?
I know that Sea World has taken a bum rap lately, due to all the media exposure from the Blackfish movie. I purposely avoided all that hype because I’m not interested in the drama. However, I’ve been keeping an eye on Sea World and know that they are doing lots of good things to improve both the park and the conditions of the animal habitats. Everything that I saw there impressed me.
We’ll definitely visit again when we have the chance and we all say YOU SHOULD TOO!
Here is the map of our Blogorail Peach | Family Adventure : Aquariums
- 1st Stop – Ashley Aspires | Clearwater Marine Aquarium
- 2nd Stop – Heidi’s Head | SeaWorld Orlando
- 3rd Stop – The Delightful Life | Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium
- 4th Stop – Saving Up for Disney | SeaWorld San Diego
- 5th Stop – Home is Where the Mouse Is | New England Aquarium