The aquatic animals aren’t the only ones who get wet at SeaWorld San Diego. Climb aboard water rides like Journey to Atlantis to sploosh through flumes and kersplash at the bottom of a 60-foot plunge. On Shipwreck Rapids, board a tricked-up giant inner tube to follow a winding watercourse through a peaceful island setting, then hold for the finish—over waterfalls and into a watery cave (and this version of a shipwreck happily includes a cafe at the end). The 150-foot Electric Eel, which opened in 2018, is the tallest and fastest roller coaster in San Diego.
Other rides transport you in different ways: Bayside Skyride offers a scenic ride above the bay—and be sure to take the elevator up the Skytower, with its panoramic view of Mission Bay, the Pacific Ocean, downtown San Diego, and beyond. Or, climb aboard a simulated jet helicopter to zoom above icy landscapes on the Wild Arctic ride, which transports you to find a realistic Arctic research station with up-close looks at beluga whales, seals, and walruses.
The Ocean Explorer area includes encounters with a Pacific octopus, spindly spider crabs, and scary-faced moray eels, plus rides like the swing-style Tentacle Twirl, and little-explorer-friendly rides Octarock, Aqua Scout, and Sea Dragon Drop.
Gentle ride options abound at SeaWorld San Diego, especially for the smaller set. On Riptide Rescue, kids climb into seats styled to look like yellow life rafts before setting off on a simulated sea turtle rescue mission. Preschoolers will love the rides along the Sesame Street Bay of Play, like Elmo’s Flying Fish, the teacup-style Abby’s Sea Star Spin, and the not-too-rocking Oscar’s Rockin’ Eel.
Adrenaline chasers, meanwhile, will love Emperor. Taking cues from the emperor penguin, famous for its ability to dive deep into the ocean, the park’s newest ride is the tallest, fastest, longest—and only floorless—dive coaster in the state. Launching with a 14-story straight-down dive, riders reach speeds of up to 60 mph as they careen along twists, loops, and inversions, feet dangling through it all. And that’s not the park’s only high-intensity, wildlife-inspired ride. Another coaster, Manta, is shaped like a giant ray, and uses advanced technology and computerized imagery to make you feel like you’re swooshing, soaring, twisting, and diving through the air, just like a ray. After the ride, see the elegance of these amazing underwater creatures in giant aquarium and check out the grotto, where you can touch the harmless California bat rays as they glide by.
Insider tip: Lines tend to dip during the most popular shows. For speediest entry, get the Quick Queue Premier for express entrance to rides and reserved seating at shows.