I have just finished editing the video of our visit to SeaWorld and it reminded me very much of how lucky we were to have seen not one but two of the much-talked-about (read as ‘controversial’) killer whales show. Last May, the all-new ‘Orca Encounter’ show, which replaces the ones we saw, premiered in San Diego.
Our visit to SeaWorld last time was part of our Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip in California. Here’s the blog of that memorable day in SeaWorld and I’ve added our home video, too!
The One With Orcas, Seals and Dolphins…
Day 2. After spending our morning at USS Midway Museum in Downtown San Diego, we headed to SeaWorld next. They say this is the one attraction in San Diego that families should not miss!
A month or two before traveling to the US, we have already bought online the Southern California CityPass for the theme parks in San Diego and Anaheim. It’s a 5-in-1 pass for USD1,413 for 4 persons. It’s much cheaper than buying the tickets individually.
Joyful carols were in full blast as we entered the park and there were Christmas trees in every corner. The Christmas themed shows which extend till early evening and the adjacent Christmas market were more than enough reason to make people want to come and brave the chilly winter in this seaside park.
SeaWorld offers rides for little kids and for thrill-seekers but we chose to pass on these and focused instead on the shows, which the park is most known for. In between the shows, we visited their world-class aquariums.
The first show we watched was the Dolphin Island Christmas. We were amused by the dolphins and pilot whales as they performed their moves and greeted the visitors with their whistles and clicks.
After the 20-minute performance, we met and greeted the stars of the show.
And look, while waiting for the next show, the boys were treated to nature’s display of colours in the sky.
And now, here come the orcas in the Killer Whales Up Close show, the show we were most excited to see. They were big. Their size and close proximity to us was astonishing. We were star-struck. They looked serene and gentle when swimming and yet we know that they are some of the most unforgiving predators in the ocean. Totally and completely fascinating giants.
The show was as educational as it was entertaining. The trainers did not ride the orcas like they did in the past and close proximity was limited to a bit of patting, and yet it was still moving to witness the interaction between these giants and their trainers. Brave, and perhaps quite foolish. But either way, we were grateful to have seen what we saw.
A few weeks before our trip, SeaWorld has announced that it is ending its theatrical show in San Diego in 2017 and that they will replace this by one that reflects a natural setting and with focus on research, education and care. That sounds really promising.
We went to a couple more exhibits which the kids thoroughly enjoyed. There were others but we couldn’t visit them anymore, we didn’t want to miss the next show.
And we were glad we didn’t, because this show, Clyde & Seamore’s Christmas Special, was super hilarious. The audience was laughing throughout the show.
It was already dark after the sea lions show and the crowd gathered in the Shamu Stadium around 5:30pm for the last show of the day, the seasonal Shamu Christmas Miracles show, the second orca show that day.
Christmas carols filled the stadium and the crowd cheered as the orcas came out one by one. Just like the afternoon show, the orcas left us mesmerized.
Towards the end of the show, as the music becomes mellow and the leaping and somersaulting has subsided to slow, gentle laps, we felt our connection with those amazing animals deepen.
It was an emotional moment as a trainer hugged the orca……which seemed to have smiled, in response.
Only the Christmas lights were up as we walked out of the park. The animals have gone to bed, but we, we were still wide-awake. And so we headed to the adjacent Santa’s Christmas Village and joined the festivities there.
Kids and their parents were dancing to the music. It was cold but nobody seemed to mind.
Not us of course. We were having a great time…
What I think about SeaWorld
- This really is a must-see in San Diego.
- Start early! We regretted spending only an afternoon in this park. We managed to see all the shows but only a few of the exhibits.
- Buy the Southern California CityPass if you plan on going to SeaWorld, San Diego Zoo and Disneyland. The pass also includes Lego Land.
- There was a choice between a single-day regular parking and the more expensive up-close parking. We chose the regular since it was really just behind the slots of the up-close parking.
- Despite the mild winter in San Diego, the air gets really chilly at night. Prepare extra layers of warm clothing.
- Here’s the link to our Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip overview. 🙂