Sun-drenched SeaWorld San Diego is the sum of its parts and so much more. It’s a zoo, an aquarium, a thrill-ride theme park, and a vital animal research facility. Sprawling across nearly 200 acres on San Diego’s Mission Bay, this park will educate you, entertain you, and amp up your adrenaline with its exciting rides. (For even more fun, its partner attraction Sesame Place San Diego offers rides, water slides, and of course the Cookie Monster, Big Bird and co. in nearby Chula Vista.)
What to Do When You Arrive at SeaWorld San Diego
Start your visit with a five-minute ride up the Skytower, a 320-foot column that overlooks the park. Then think of your favorite sea animal and go find it—thousands of creatures are on exhibit, from sea horses to sea lions. At Turtle Reef, view loggerhead, hawksbill, and green sea turtles, plus thousands of tropical fish. In the Shark Encounter, walk through a 57-foot acrylic underwater tunnel. You’ll be surrounded by several species of sharks swimming in a 300,000-gallon lagoon. Don’t miss these five top things to do at SeaWorld San Diego:
1. Ride the Electric Eel
For a different kind of excitement, SeaWorld has plenty of thrill rides. Take a lap on San Diego’s tallest, fastest roller coaster, the Electric Eel, which soars to 150 feet with multiple loops, twists, and inversions. Inspired by the park’s tallest penguin residents, Emperor is the tallest, fastest, and longest “dive” coaster on the West Coast. The slightly tamer Manta rollercoaster roars across the park at 45 miles per hour. Then splash your way downriver on Shipwreck Rapids’ wheel-shaped rafts or plunge 60 heart-stopping feet on the Journey to Atlantis flume ride. You’ll suddenly understand the significance of negative G-forces, and you’ll get soaked to the skin.
2. Learn at the Penguin Encounter
Roll along the moving sidewalk in the Penguin Encounter past a colony of 300 penguins, including tall Emperor penguins and smaller Adélie, Gentoo, and Macaroni penguins. These adorable tuxedo-wearing birds hang out, swim, waddle, and slide on their bellies in a simulated Antarctic. Sign up for the Penguins Up-Close Tour and you can meet a penguin face-to-face and learn more about these extraordinary birds.
3. Play at the Dolphin Encounter
In the Dolphin Encounter, you’ll stand poolside with a dolphin trainer and get up close and personal with utterly charming bottlenose dolphins. You’ll learn a few hand signals to communicate with these super-smart creatures, who seem as eager to please as golden retrievers. For an even bigger once-in-a-lifetime thrill, the Dolphin Interaction Program lets you don a wetsuit and get in the water to touch, feed, and play with the animals.
4. Get Splashed at the Sea Lion & Otter Spotlight
SeaWorld’s famous arena-style trained animal shows are guaranteed to wow. Two of the most popular performers are Clyde and Seamore, an acrobatic comedy duo of hilarious sea lions, who seem to get a genuine kick out of performing for—and splashing—the audience. They don’t mind posing for photos, either. Sharing the stage with Clyde and Seamore are a few mischievous, cuddly-cute Asian small-clawed otters who do their best to trip up the show’s bumbling newbie intern, Neutron.
5. Interact at the Beluga Encounter
SeaWorld’s newest interaction program lets you enjoy a one-on-one experience with enchanting beluga whales. These snow-white denizens of frigid Arctic waters are known for their curious temperaments and cheerful-sounding calls. You’ll go behind-the-scenes at the Wild Arctic habitat and meet the gentle belugas and whiskered, long-tusked walruses at poolside.
Hotels Near SeaWorld San Diego
There are dozens of hotels located within a few miles of SeaWorld, so whether you prefer tried-and-trusted national chains such as Hyatt or Hilton, a family-friendly resort such as the Bahia Resort Hotel or Paradise Point, or luxury hotels with more of a local flavor like The Dana on Mission Bay or the Old Town Inn, there is no shortage of places that will fit the bill.
Tickets and Hours at SeaWorld San Diego
For information about tickets, hours, and discounts for tickets that are good for both SeaWorld San Diego and Sesame Place San Diego, visit the park’s tickets page and FAQs section.
Things to Do Near SeaWorld San Diego
You could easily spend weeks in San Diego and never run out of things to do. To touch on just as few wide-ranging highlights, you can go whale watching, visit the Maritime Museum, and dive into San Diego County’s rich surf culture. The city’s Gaslamp Quarter draws shoppers, diners, and event-goers day and night, and the craft beer scene and seafood here are both truly exceptional.