Sea World theme parks are a string of marine mammal parks that are part of the Busch Entertainment chain of theme parks.
With locations in Orlando, San Diego, and San Antonio, the parks are ideal places to learn about, enjoy and gain an appreciation for some of the ocean’s most fascinating creatures.
The zoo-like parks not only entertain the masses but also provide educational resources and opportunities for park guests and the community.
Sea World's mascot and main attraction is Shamu the Killer Whale, with a number of successive four-ton, black-and-white whales functioning as the park's famous symbol.
The Orcas are housed in 7-million-gallon habitats that are each known as Shamu Stadium and serve as venues for the park’s most popular show that has been thrilling audiences since 1965.
Sea World theme parks are unique among its theme park counterparts in that many of its offerings are show-based. In addition to the famous Shamu show, SeaWorld also features many other entertaining and educational shows and exhibits that include a host of other marine animals.
Each park is home to a wide array of exotic marine life and animals such as dolphins, sharks, manatees, eels and penguins and also feature a variety of thrill rides, including roller coasters like “Kraken”, “Steel Eel”, “Journey to Atlantis” and “The Great White".
A sister park to the Orlando location is Discovery Cove, a reservations-only retreat where guests can swim with bottlenose dolphins, snorkel among thousands of tropical fish and rays, and hand-feed exotic birds.
This all-inclusive park is home to pristine beaches, lagoons, reefs, waterfalls and grottos which can be explored by the whole family.
Discovery Cove can be a little pricey, although meals are provided in the price.
Reservations are required and they are sometimes booked for months in advance. It is wise to start early if you plan to visit this park.
SeaWorld Aquatica is a 59-acre water park that is also located in Orlando and allows guests to enjoy a tropical atmosphere while floating and sliding through numerous animal habitats.
It’s important to start doing some homework when you’re planning your trip. The Orlando and San Diego locations are located near other major theme parks that you may want to visit so it’s important that you plan your time and budget wisely. Here are a couple of free resources to take advantage of:
• Visit all the major airlines and sign up for their weekly email specials. Southwest Airlines usually has great deals on airfare and has an excellent all-in-one online vacation planner with deals on Sea World and other Busch theme parks. You also can book it all – air, rental cars, accommodations (even 5 bedroom rental homes), and park tickets - from their website. The Sea World website does offer a vacation planning feature that allows you to purchase park tickets and book accommodations in their approved hotels but it’s not always the most cost-effective option.
• Are you a club member? Sam’s Club, AAA and AARP members often get special discounts on vacations and tickets to major theme parks. Be sure to check out each organizations website or just call the 800 number on the back of your membership card for details.
• Busch Entertainment Corporation is offering all active duty and ready reserve members of the service one day's free admission along with up to three direct dependents to either Busch Gardens parks. If you qualify for the Here's to the Heroes program, please visit www.herosalute.com.
• Check out your local library to see which “unofficial” SeaWorld vacation guides they may have. For the Orlando location, I would recommend Beyond Disney: The Unofficial Guide to Universal, SeaWorld & the Best of Central Florida by Bob Sehlinger and Grant Rafter.
It has several money-saving tips and the "must do's” section for each park to help you make the most of your time and also gets you familiar with the park before you go.
This is a good place to start getting the information you’ll need to save time and money on your vacation. Here are just some things that you will need to budget for:
• Travel expenses – plane, train or automobile (gas for your own car or cost of a rental) • Length of stay • Accommodations – Resort and area hotels, condos, rental homes • Food – in park dining or bring your own • Souvenirs • Special events – animal keeper experiences, animal interaction programs, dining with Shamu, etc. • Park tickets – several options to choose from depending on your length of stay, meal packages, etc.
Some of the special events are booked months in advance and the sooner you start planning, the better. Now, let’s get started…