Things to do in Orlando with a family: Sea World
We’ve heard a lot about Sea World over the last few years. None of that good. I always wonder how many of these people who say negative or critical things about Sea World have actually been to visit themselves.
I certainly don’t feel I can form an opinion about anything unless I’ve seen it for myself. How about you?
We visited Sea World Orlando this summer. I didn’t come away from Sea World feeling like the animals were treated badly, but it did make me question where all the negativity had come from.
Sea World is part of a conservation and protection programme, working alongside the likes of other centres like the Marine Hospital in Clearwater. What you see in the shows is a very small part of what goes on. The bulk of the time for a trainer is spent on animal care. Tourists don’t see that.
Without conservation programmes many more species would be endangered or even extinct. Many zoos and wildlife programmes have similar conservation programmes. Whilst we’d all love to see animals in the wild, the reality is that without these programmes many more species would simply not survive.
What there is:
- As an attraction Sea World has a great mix of rides, shows, and opportunities to see the animals.
- There are opportunities to ask the trainers questions, and the staff are very knowledgeable, which makes the day a real learning experience.
- There is so much to see and do for all ages and interests – the website really doesn’t do the park justice. There are tons of big thrill rides, animals, shows and also loads of areas and rides suitable for younger children.
- There are loads of wonderful places to eat and drink and get tasty treats too.
What we loved:
- We loved watching the dolphins and learning more about these amazing marine animals. One of the children is crazy about dolphins, so any opportunity to see them is always a bonus.
- We loved the Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin ride – this is super family-friendly and means the whole family can join in together. Get transported into the rarely seen and icy world of Antarctica. You’ll see the South Pole through the eyes of a penguin named Puck, and then finish up seeing the real life penguins at the end of the ride.
- It is also one of the easier parks to navigate your way around and everything seems logically set out, which makes getting around easier than in some parks. When we split up to try different rides, we were easily able to find each other again.
- The fireworks were really impressive and worth staying around for.
- We loved how clean everywhere was at Sea World, it’s so lovely to visit somewhere where the cleanliness is a priority.
- We loved the little train ride, it’s located right next to the Wild Arctic ride, which was ideal for us as our youngest was too small for the simulator. I was able to take him on the walk-through, and then the little train ride, whilst the big ones enjoyed the helicopter simulator. The walk-through alone was really impressive, we loved the bear cave and spent ages exploring that, as well as being mesmerised by the most enormous walrus I have ever seen!
- The thrill-seekers of the family loved the big rides at Sea World, especially Mako and Manta! These are also fun to watch from the ground.
- We whizzed around Turtle Trek during a quiet period after a big rain storm. It was stunning – we are fans of the turtles and they are lovely to watch.
Good to know:
- Parking costs $22 on the gate or slightly cheaper if you book in advance, you can pay cash or card on entry.
- The all-day-dining wrist bands are fantastic but don’t purchase too many – around $35 for an adult wristband and around $20 for a child wristband which entitles you to one main meal, plus one side or dessert and unlimited refills of certain drinks every hour during the day. Clearly, no normal person would consume that much food in one day, so you can make the most of the deal by sharing smaller portions regularly within your party. If your approach is more to keep everyone ticking along during the day with smaller snacks, rather than big sit down meals then this will work well for you. This applies to all the other parks owned by Sea World.
- You can hire strollers and wheelchairs if you need to for an additional cost.
- Take a small towel and carry spare clothes for little people – waterproofs are a must if you plan to sit in the splash zones of the shows. Also especially important during the summer due to the afternoon thunderstorms that are daily in Florida. The day we visited there was a huge storm and most people, us included left the park. We returned later on for more rides and the fireworks, but the rain that day was insane – we literally paddled back to our car in knee-deep water, quite an experience.
- Plan to spend the whole day there to get the most out of the park- check the times before you go.
- Although there is free WiFi at the park, the coverage is not that great, there are pockets of the park where connection was really poor.
- Plan your day well to get the most out of it – it pays to split off into smaller groups to focus on what everyone really wants to do.
Here’s a little taster of some of the things you can see at Sea World Orlando. It’s a wonderful day out for a family in Orlando – both fun and educational.