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SeaWorld is a fun place to take anyone who has an appreciation for the sea. To get the most out of your time it is good to have a plan to make sure you can hit all the shows, rides, and other attractions. If you like a seat up front, be prepared to get very wet as many of these shows involve a lot of splashing of the audience! Make sure to get a map at the entrance. They are printed daily and on the back summarize the days show schedule, exhibit and interaction times, and other important information.

Dining with Shamu
At first this seemed pricy on top of an expensive ticket, but this is probably my most suggested event at SeaWorld. Basically you can have breakfast or lunch a few feet from trainers as they explain and demonstrate how they train the killer whales for the shows. This is also a nice way to ensure that you can get a relaxed sit down meal rather than be rushed at the fast food stands! The picture at right was taken right from our table (no telephoto lens) as we ate our lunch!

Other Special Tours
There are various special tours that allow you to interact with dolphins, sea turtles, or sharks, or even be a trainer for a day. These may seem pricy in addition to the already high ticket prices, but it is worth it. Most of the tours also include reserved seating at the killer whale show following your tour. If you are there on a crowded summer day, that alone can be worth the price versus standing in line for 45 minutes waiting to get into the show with a hot and bored kid...

Animal Interaction Areas
There are several areas where you can get close to animals and even some where you can feed them! Forbidden reef allows you to purchase food for bat rays and feed them. They can be kind of scary for a younger kid (especially if they are hungry). Rocky Point Preserve offers the chance to feed and interact with bottlenose dolphins (fee required); and the Seal and Sea Lion exhibit has the chance to purchase food to feed harbor seals and California sea lions. There is also a tide pool area where kids (and adults) can see and touch starfish and other small animals found in the tide pools up and down the California coast.

There are a number of shows and scheduling them all into a busy day when you don't know how much time you are going to spend waiting in line and walking can be a challenge. Obviously the killer whale show is suggested, but if you can pay for the special tour and get a reserved seat it can save you a lot of time and potential grief. The little kids will enjoy the Pet's Rule! show and Clyde and Seamore's Risky Rescue, while the older kids will enjoy the Dolphin show and the haunted lighthouse, so you probably want to choose based on the age or interests of your kids.

There are a few rides at SeaWorld. The Journey to Atlantis is a rollercoaster (height requirement 42 inches), Shipwreck rapids is a water ride (height requirement 42 inches), and the Wild Arctic has a motion ride (height requirement 42 inches). A non-motion version of the Wild Arctic ride is available with no height requirement. There is also a skyride which goes over Mission Bay and gives you a nice view of the area for $3.00 per person (no height requirement).

Where to go when the parents need a rest
When the parents need a rest, go to Shamu's Happy Harbor near the entrance. This is basically a giant play area, with slides, rope ladders, bridges, etc. The only caution here is that there are many exits from this attraction onto sidewalks, so probably only one parent can rest while the other one chases the little ones (parents are ok in most of the areas). 2005. All Rights Reserved.