Tired of shouting, “Don’t touch”? Then SeaWorld San Diego is the spot for you and your younger kids. At this San Diego attraction, kids are invited to get their sticky fingers on everything—including the sea life itself. At the Explorer’s Reef and California tide pools, they can get touchy-feely with schools of cleanerfish, crabs, sea stars, and brownbanded bamboo sharks before heading to the park’s two-acre kid zone, Sesame Street Bay of Play. In addition to the water fun and three Muppet-themed rides—Abby’s Sea Star Spin, Elmo’s Flying Fish, and Oscar’s Rockin’ Eel—kids will get a chance for a photo op with Elmo himself.
You won’t find much refuge from the SoCal sun here, so stay on top of the sunscreen and take advantage of the indoor exhibits. Tots can put their noses to the enormous Turtle Reef window, walk through the acrylic viewing tunnel at Shark Encounter (as sand tiger and bonnethead sharks circle overhead).
To help ensure a stress-free day, rent a stroller at Guest Services inside the park entrance. For mobile kids who might like to wander, pick up a wristband on which you can enter your cell phone number if you and your kids get separated. And if your children love to sit in splash zones, stash a change of dry clothes in your day pack.