We’ve just got back from a weekend staying in San Antonio so that we could visit Sea World. We had wanted to go for the Little One’s 4th birthday in November but it’s closed during the Winter (people here think that November is a cold month… obviously not for us!)
We all had a fantastic time. Due to April being considered a little chilly (to be fair, maximum daytime temperatures have been ranging from 12c to 30c in the past 2 weeks), the park was relatively empty. There was a children’s festival going on, but it was aimed at pre-schoolers which meant the rides for older children were empty. Even the rides for adults had no queues at all.
The rides were good, but what we were really there for was the sea creatures. The first show we saw was Cannery Row Caper, a sea lion comedy show which all the kids loved, and the adults did too. The sea lions were very funny but the sea otter nearly stole the show!
The Big One was desperate to feed the sea lions, after having had such a lovely time feeding seals when we were in Victoria (see here). If you knew the Big One before we came to the US you would find this a bit strange. Those on the school trip to Marwell may remember the shouting and tears when we went through the giraffe house, all due to the smell! Sea lions are not renowned for being the best smelling animals, and as for the fish… The girls were not deterred though and they purchased small trays of fish which they were able to throw to the waiting sea lions below.
We then walked past the sea otters, who were fun to watch, but we wanted to get across the park to see the One Ocean Shamu show, featuring the killer whales.
The killer whales were so graceful, diving in and out of the water. They were very agile too, sliding up onto platforms so they could wave to the audience, or, at one point, for the mummy whale and the baby whale had a cuddle. They also moved to the music and seemed to be happy to do anything for a reward of lots of fish! We had sat in the splash zone and luckily we watched the audience on the other side being splashed by the whales tails before it was our turn. My Lovely Husband and the Big One leaped to the bench behind to avoid getting wet. My legs were a little damp but the front 5 or 6 rows of the audience were completely drenched!
We took a break for some lunch and a wander past the flamingoes and the alligators (not in the same area, fortunately for the flamingoes!) We saw the penguins and puffins (they are both very funny to watch and we could have spent a long time there) and then it was time to go on the roller coasters and one of the water rides, which was wet but not terribly exciting. The roller coasters were reportedly good, but I sat out with the children in the sun instead.
The final show was Azul, featuring the dolphins and the beautiful beluga whales. The interaction between the trainers and the whales was amazing to watch. The girls sat with their eyes very wide the whole time, but particularly the first time one of the trainers appeared out of the water, seemingly from nowhere, being pushed along at high speed by a beluga!
There were acrobats, high dives, a clown, synchronised swimming and dancing…
It was truly breathtaking and it was so difficult to watch everything that was going on it would definitely be worth going back to see the show again just to make sure I didn’t miss anything. The girls loved it and wanted to know how the whales were trained. They also wanted to know how they could become beluga trainers, high divers, synchronised swimmers… The world is truly an exciting place when there are so many possibilities of what you can be when you grow up. (If only I could decide what I want to be!)
Our last stop was Dolphin Cove to watch the dolphins eating and playing. The queue was too big to allow us to feed them but the girls spent 15 very happy minutes watching the dolphins and trying to get close enough to touch them.
It was time to head back to the hotel for a swim and some dinner, but Sea World was great. The girls love anything to do with sea creatures (thank you Octonauts!) so for them it was an amazing day. They now have one wish – to swim with whales and dolphins. I guess we’ll be adding that to our very long adventures bucket list!