Military Family Travel Tips MilMomAdventures San Diego Theme Parks

Sea World San Diego and Waves of Honor

Have you been to Sea World San Diego lately? It has been around for a long time. It has had the opportunity to grow, shape, and be shaped by multiple generations of attitudes. Some of you MilMoms may remember visiting Sea World as a child and watching the Orca shows. Now enough time has passed you have children of your own to bring you may wonder what is the same, and what has changed.

In recent years Sea World has faced enormous pressure to change its practices with documentary films questioning the treatment of the animals under the care of the park. In recent years Sea World has been rising to the challenge of setting a worthy example of respect for wildlife, conservation efforts, community education, and sustainable consumption. What this MilMom noticed and loved on a recent visit was the lack of throw away plastics –at the many food concessions there was recyclable materials only. Straws made of paper and recyclable plates. Another welcome site was the certified sustainable caught fish in our fish tacos. These are a few of the details I noticed that spoke to the direction and commitment Sea World is taking itself in recent years, and we like it.

Tickets

In 2018 Sea World renewed its commitment to provide free admission to military families once a year through their Waves of Honor program. To reserve your tickets in advance you can have the active duty military member access them through their ID.me account if they have one and print them out. You can also visit your local ITT travel office to request them or ask at the park entrance.

If you prefer to purchase tickets or would like to visit more than once a year Sea World offers a “Fun Pass” where you can pay for one day admission in 2018 and receive a pass that will allow you admission into the park every day of the year through to New Years Eve.

NB: Even though the tickets are free parking is not! The only parking near Sea World belongs to the park and rates start at $20 a day. The park is not easily accessible by public transit.

Getting There

The park is just north of San Diego conveniently located of the coastal highway, the 5. As mentioned above, there is no convenient public transit option to access the park. There is no nearby public parking. Your only convenient option is to drive and park at Sea World. You pay for parking before you enter into the parking lot and theme park. Be prepared with cash or card as the first thing you will do when you turn into the park is get in line for a kiosk to be charged for parking.

Attractions

If you have not been to the park in a few years be prepared to notice a few changes. Immediately when you enter the park there are numerous tide pools filled with horseshoe crabs and banded bamboo sharks that little ones and adults alike are encouraged to touch. Nearby every tide pools is a Sew World educator standing by to protect the wildlife as well as share information and educate families about the species they are interacting with.

There are still live animal shows, but they have changed in tone and content from what they once were in recent years. The primary example being the orca show, now called the Orca Encounter. This show is designed to educate park goers about the natural habitats and behaviors of Orca Whales. It is an example of the new direction the park is taking.

Our favorite attraction is the Wild Arctic. The impressive design surrounding the enclosures with the beluga whales, walruses, and other arctic marine life is transporting. Every visitor will feel as if they are on an expedition to a far flung outpost in the extreme north. Once you make your way inside you will feel the temperature drop and be immersed in imagery suggesting an artic expedition, including helicopters, artificial sea ice, and research offices. These are small details that elevate the experience of witnessing the amazing wild animals of the artic.

Good for kids

When you are tired from walking the park to see the penguins, otters, and belugas head over to The Sesame Street Bay of Play to take a seat within view of the many child friendly obstacles and play structures and let your little ones enjoy some play time in the park’s phenomenal play ground.

They host special events throughout the year so check in advance if you want to plan to be there for one of them.

So, have you been to Sea World San Diego lately? What do you think? Share your thoughts and tips! We love to hear from our community. Comment, send us an email or DM on Instagram.

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