SeaWorld San Diego

A dolphin show at Seaworld San Diego, California. (ThinkStock)

What to do in SeaWorld San Diego

Yes, Shamu the killer whale is still a large presence here at SeaWorld San Diego, but there's more to this 40-year-old family destination than its most notable resident. Covering 189 acres on Mission Bay Park surrounded by the scenery of downtown San Diego (just ten minutes away), SeaWorld San Diego offers aquariums, theatrical and multimedia performances, hands-on animal encounters, tours, rides, educational experiences, and plenty of opportunities to get close to sea creatures.

Future marine biologists will love the Dolphin Encounter, a ten-minute guided experience in which each participant is guaranteed to touch, feed, and "train" a bottlenose dolphin. If it's your dream to swim with dolphins, ask about the Dolphin Interactive Program. The new Beluga Interaction Program includes a behind-the-scenes tour where groups meet giant walruses and polar bears (no swimming necessary).

At SeaWorld San Diego, the roller coasters are more of a bonus than a main attraction, but there are several family-friendly rides. Wild Arctic takes guests on a simulated helicopter ride to the Arctic. The Skytower offers a panoramic view of Mission Bay and downtown San Diego. Thrill-ride enthusiasts won't want to miss Journey to Atlantis, featuring a 60-foot plunge followed by lots of splashing. Children too small for thrill rides can visit the Sesame Street Bay of Play, where three rides and a two-acre play area play host to costumed characters from the popular television show. SeaWorld's Garden of Discovery, an interactive nature experience that teaches about gardening, plant pollination, and fossils, appeals to both little ones and their grown-up companions.

Live shows and entertainment round out the experience and include both new acts and old favorites. Choose from musical concerts, fireworks, multimedia presentations, and Broadway-style theatrical performances along with wildlife and trained-animal shows.

  • SeaWorld San Diego Travel Q&A