Aquariums hold a special magic since so much of the ocean is unexplored. There are many amazing aquariums to be found in the United States. One of my favorites is Sea World FL.
I have always loved Sea World FL, as it doesn’t overwhelm your senses as much as Disney, plus you get to interact with nature. Some years back they had great deals where you pay for a day and get to go as often as you like for the whole year. My family took advantage of this and spent 3 days there. Recently, Sea World FL posted a similar special. Besides, they has many outdoor attractions and enforce strict guidelines regarding Covid-19. Also, check the website as they have changing events going on throughout the year such as Seven Seas Food Festival and Viva La Musica.
While entrance prices can be gotten for a deal, make sure to plan for additional expenses. Although you can bring bottled water, no other outside food and beverages are allowed. The park offers many add ons such as meal experiences, animal feedings, and personal encounters for an extra fee. Check out the website ahead of time as these experiences can be booked on line. Often you can get combo tickets that include certain meals or additional parks such as Aquatica or Discovery Cove. Sea World FL also offers discounts for active military members and teachers.
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Commitment to the Environment
Often Theme parks get a bad rap, but Sea World FL works hard to educate others through their programs, conduct research, and work with programs to protect the environment. Here are some of the programs involved:
For the past 50 years Sea World has rescued more than 38,000 sick, injured, and orphaned animals. They work to rehabilitate these animals and then release them back into the wild when possible. When they are not able to release them back into the wild they continue to care for them here or at another accredited facility.
The Sea World and Busch Gardens Conservation Fund has provided more than $14 million dollars to support animal conservation projects on all 7 continents. Some of these projects include reef restoration, habitat protection, and keeping the oceans clean. In addition, Sea World has been increasing its plant based food options at its restaurants, providing food from humane and sustainable sources, and buying from local farmers.
Sea World partners with the Humane Society, Guy Harvey, and Ocearch. They are committed to educating others about the environment and conservation. Also, they offer summer camps, field trips, and other teaching opportunities. When you are buying a ticket, you are helping support their efforts. Plus here are some of the cool things you get to experience:
Animal Encounters at Sea World FL
- Dolphin Cove– Witness dolphins playing with each other in the water from this outdoor interactive area. For an additional fee you can have an interactive experience with a dolphin and take home a souvenir picture. Another experience allows you to work with a dolphin and trainer during a 30 minute interactive tour.
- Dolphin Nursery– In this outdoor viewing area view the beauty of mother dolphins interacting with their calves.
- Manatee Rehabilitation Area– Learn about how Sea World FL helps rescue and rehabilitate injured sea creatures such as manatees, sea turtles, birds, etc. The 5 acre rescue area offers guided tours, but now also has a complimentary viewing area.
- Orca Underwater Viewing– View killer whales from an outdoor underwater viewing area. This will be the last generation of Orca’s at Sea World.
- Pacific Point Preserve– In this outdoor viewing area you will watch California sea lions and harbor seals at play. You will also have the opportunity to feed these animals by purchasing a feeding tray. Or you can even book an up close tour.
- Pelican Preserve– Visit the injured pelicans who are unable to return to the wild and learn how you can help prevent injuries to these birds.
- Stingray Lagoon– In this area you can put your hand in the water and can actually touch a sting ray. Of course they won’t really sting you! In addition to feeding sharks and sea lions you can feed the rays for the additional cost of a feeding tray.
When it gets hot outside, head indoors for this exhibits where you can cool off.
- Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin– A walk through exhibit, you will witness 5 species of penguins above and below the water in their habitats. Most important, bring a jacket because penguins like it very cold! In addition you can book an up close tour where you get to actually interact with a penguin for an extra fee.
- Dine with Orcas– While you dine you will watch killer whales with their caregivers. Then afterwards you will learn about ways to save the ocean environments and witness the relationship between the whales and their trainers
- Jewel of the Sea Aquarium– Located next to Journey to Atlantis, this indoor aquarium displays the amazing luminescence of jellyfish.
- Manta Aquarium– Home to over 3000 sea animals this area has 10 indoor aquariums where you will see rays and the giant Pacific octopus.
- Shark Encounter– Through a viewing tunnel watch sharks swim past you. Once outdoors you have the opportunity to feed small sharks when you purchase feeding trays. In addition you can book an up close shark encounter where you can even touch a shark. When you get hungry you can dine at the Sharks Underwater Grill and Bar where you can view these amazing creatures while you eat.
- Turtle Trek– In this indoor walk through exhibit you will view turtles and learn how to help protect their environment and about the different stages of their life cycle.
- Wild Arctic– Brrr! View walruses and beluga whales in this walk through indoor exhibit. Of course, it will be cold so bring a light jacket to wear in this encounter. Further you can book an up close encounter with a walrus or a Beluga whale.
Additional Tours at Sea World FL
If you really want to be ambitious or you have already experienced the magic of Sea World FL, you might want to book the Behind the Scenes Up Close Tour. During the experience you will have a hands on experience with both a penguin and a shark. In addition you will learn how these animals are cared for at Sea World FL.
On the other hand if you have little ones you might want to book the new Family Adventure Tour. Highlights include interaction with dolphin and mom, meeting a penguin and of course making friends with Sesame Street characters.
Shows at Sea World FL
- Orca Encounter– During this show you will learn about killer whales. In addition, reserve seating is available. You may also book an additional tour or dining experience.
- Sea Lion High: The New Class– In this newly revised show witness the antics of Clyde and Seamore, 2 sea lions, as they go back to school.
Rides and Attractions at Sea World FL
For Big Kids
- Infinity Falls– A white water rafting ride, you will definitely get soaked as you splash down a 40′ drop and through churning waters. Geysers, fountains, and waterfalls will douse you as you explore ancient ruins from your raft. However, you must be between 42″-77″ to ride this ride.
- Journey to Atlantis– Another great ride in the hot Florida weather, you will plunge into waters below. While riding this flume roller coaster you will explore passages through the lost city of Atlantis. You must be 42″ tall to ride with a person 14 years or older and 48″ to ride unaccompanied.
- Kraken– Ride the Kraken, a mythological sea monster, with your feet dangling from more than 150 feet in the air. Must be 54″ tall to ride.
- Manta– Soar like a manta as you dive down head first on this coaster to experience the thrill of what it is like to be a ray. Must be 54″
- Mako– The longest and fastest roller coaster in Orlando it races up to 73mph and goes 200 feet high. You can journey through the shipwreck reef as this shark only if you are 54″ or taller.
For the Little Ones
- Flamingo Paddle Boats– Whether young or old, these paddle boats are a relaxing way to take a break from all the exhibits and get off your feet. However an additional fee is required.
- Sea Carousel-No amusement park trip is complete without a ride on a merry-go-round
- Abby’s Flower Tower– Get a view from the sky as you rise up in a colorful flower pot. However you must be 42″ tall.
- Elmo’s Choo Choo Train– Little ones can ride this alone as long as they are 36″ tall. Otherwise they need to be accompanied by someone ages 14 and up.
- Super Grover’s Box Car Derby– A kid friendly roller coaster where you race through turns and hills. Must be 38″ to ride and under 41″ must be accompanied.
- Cookie Drop– Another children’s thrill ride where you bounce up and down from this cloud of cookie crumbs. Minimum of 42″ required or accompanied by someone at least 14 years old.
- Big Bird Twirl & Whirl– This reminds me of the Teacup rides at Magic Kingdom except that instead of a teacup you spin in a bird’s nest.
- Slimey’s Slider– Accompany Slimey the worm as his boat spins, rocks, and slides through Oscar’s compost. Who doesn’t like some good garbage?
Also in the Sesame Street are in an interactive play area, a splash zone, and meet and greet opportunities. I hope you take advantage of all Sea World FL has to offer. Maybe it will inspire you to help with some of their conservation efforts.
Donna Emperador is a travel and food blogger and copywriter. Donna believes in learning about different cultures while sharing good food and cocktails. She has lived in South Florida for over 20 years and enjoys spending time exploring the road to find unique places to share with readers. She can be found on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.