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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 on exciting rides.

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.

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 rollercoaster, the Electric Eel, which soars to 150 feet with multiple loops, twists, and inversions. 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.

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.

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.

Watch Sea Lions Live

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. Other popular shows star dancing dolphins who do an Esther-Williams-style synchronized swimming routine with wide grins on their faces.

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.

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