No trip to San Diego is complete without visiting SeaWorld.
SeaWorld San Diego is the original park for the SeaWorld company. Located in San Diego, California the park is about an hour and a half drive south of Los Angeles. SeaWorld San Diego being the flagship park is not the busiest or most popular as you would imagine.
I visited SeaWorld San Diego in March 2018, having already been to SeaWorld Orlando. The first thing I noticed is that the park is smaller then Orlando’s, however, SeaWorld San Diego had its own charm with plenty of shows and fun. All the excitement, but fewer crowds and lines.
The Orca Whale show is unique in the sense it is an educational show about the Killer Whales. The trainers teach about the whales’ natural instincts, what they eat, the anatomy and behaviours the whales exhibit. The trainers have the whales demonstrate some tricks and behaviours for the audience through the show, but this educational show is meant to teach about the whales as much as entertain. This show is in Orca stadium and has enough seating for a large crowd. There are several wheelchair accessible viewing areas where some seating is also provided for the family. These wheelchair areas are NOT in the splash zone. The downside to this stadium is that the stadium has no roof, you are completely exposed to the elements.
The Dolphin Show exhibits Bottlenose dolphins and small-fin Pilot Whales. The trainers give you some background on the dolphins’ histories and demonstrate behaviours for the audience. The dolphin trainers are allowed to get in the water with the dolphins and perform behaviours in the water with them. The tricks and flips are so much fun to watch. SeaWorld San Diego has 16 Bottlenose Dolphins and 2 Pilot Whales.
SeaWorld is proud to have its roller coaster – Manta. Manta is a small family double launch coaster with a minimum height restriction of 48”. Strap into a lap restraint and venture below the sea with turtles and manta’s before getting launched into a wild ride on the ocean track. Typical ride restrictions apply to this attraction so make sure to read all warning and recommendations before boarding the coaster. A second roller coaster opened May 2018.
There are so many animals to see at SeaWorld and animal interactions. Fish, dolphins, penguins, even a touch pool full of manta rays. See animals from all over the coast of California and around the world. Animal interactions, such as the dolphin swim, beluga up close encounter and the penguin interaction allow guests to get up close and touch these amazing animals. The numerous aquariums throughout the park allow guests to see animals in their habitat. Some animals have meet the trainer sessions and feeding sessions guests can watch.
Accessibility at SeaWorld meets ADA requirements. There are ramps throughout the park to accommodate wheelchairs, though for the attractions you must be able to transfer into the ride vehicle. The shows all have wheelchair access and accommodating seating.
Manual wheelchairs and scooters can be rented from the park on day of entry. Both can be reserved online to ensure you get one on the day of your visit. Manual wheelchairs can be rented for $15USD per day and electric scooters can be rented for $55USD per day. To rent the scooter you must be at least 16 years of age with parents or guardians present or 18+ years of age and required to sign a rental agreement. In the case of someone under 18 renting the scooter the parent or guardian must sign the rental agreement. Picture ID is required to pick up the scooter.
You can buy add-on features to your day at SeaWorld, like a Dine with Shamu lunch or dinner and reserved seating at the shows to ensure you get one of the best seats in the house. The animal interactions can also be a great purchase while at the parks or simply purchase the all-day dining and eat every hour all day.
SeaWorld has a lot to offer everyone in the family, thrill seekers to animal lovers. Rides and shows offer a full day of accessible fun for the whole family.