Good (REALLY) early morning, everyone! Insomnia is killing me tonight, so I figured I would make the best of it and tell you about our day at Sea World. Even though Mike and I live in Orlando, we had never been to a theme park together. After we got married, we used the few days that we had off to kind of relax and play tourist in our own town. We decided to go to Sea World since it is my favorite park and because Mike hadn’t been there since he was an adolescent. We ended up getting the Fun Pass so that we could go back as many times as we wanted before the end of the year. It is nice to be able to get “away” for a day and do something fun, and when we go we really only have to pay for parking. Our good friends Jen and Stephen recently went to Discovery Cove and admission to Sea World was included. Mike and I were pumped when they asked us to go because we hadn’t had the opportunity to visit again since we were there in May.
We arrived at the park around 11:00am thanks to
me someone missing the exit and having to backtrack through Orlando toll roads (my own personal hell). Once we parked, we noticed they had a little side entrance open for people with already purchased tickets, so we didn’t even have to wait in line to get in! As we started our tour, we saw a duck pond filled with baby ducks. They were so cute! I love birds, and baby ducks are some of the cutest! Our first stop was the bathroom dolphin nursery. That is where they keep the baby dolphins and their mothers. This is something that is awesome to see because it isn’t always open. We then followed along the path and checked out the flamingos and the sea turtles. Did you know that a loggerhead sea turtle can grow to be over 6ft. long? I learned that today!
One of the things I love most about Sea World is their education and conservation efforts. Everywhere you go in the park there are team members who can give you information. At each exhibit there is usually one or more person to tell you about the animals your seeing, how they got to Sea World, and what their life is like in the wild. Sea World has some of the largest wildlife conservation and breeding programs for marine wildlife in the world. How do I know all of this, you ask? When I was younger I wanted to be a killer whale trainer and I did all kinds of research on Sea World and marine animal programs. You can tell that the trainers who work will all of the animals at Sea World, from birds to killer whales, really care about the well-being of the animals and educating the public about them and ways to help protect them.
Now that I’ve gotten off that soap box, I can get back to our tour. My most favorite hands-on activity at Sea World is feeding the stingrays. At Stingray Lagoon, you can interact with hundreds of cow-nose and southern rays. You can also pay to feed them. If you’ve never fed a stingray, it is definitely worth the
mortgage payment money to feed them at least once. Their mouths are located on their stomachs and when they take the food it feels like a vacuum is sucking the shrimp from your hand. These guys are super cute, and they feel soft and smooth.
By this point, the killer Florida sun had started to do a number on us (yes, already) and we had worked up an appetite (yes. already.). We decided to grab a quick bite to eat before heading to Sea Lion and Otter Stadium for the Clyde and Seamore show (my favorite!). Clyde and Seamore are two California sea lions. I love sea lions because they seem to have such a personality. In this show, Clyde and Seamore are on a mission with their respective owners to find the treasure and make their way off of Pirate Island. The trainers/actors work so well with the animals, who are the real stars. At the end of the show, Clyde and Seamore run into Sir Winston with the treasure. “Sir” Winston is actually a female walrus who weighs close to 2000 lbs. (I really do ask a lot of questions at this place.)
After Clyde and Seamore, we decided to head to Antarctica to cool off for a bit. There we saw puffins, murres, and penguins. I particularly love seeing the puffins for one special reasons. My pet name for Mike is “Puffin”. I’m sure he will appreciate me announcing that for all of the interwebs to know. Anyway, the penguins are always a hit, too. Today we had the added bonus of seeing two penguin chicks. These weren’t just any little chicks, though. These were King penguin (second largest breed of penguin, next to the Emperor penguin) chicks that were almost three feet tall and covered in brown fluff! They looked like teddy bear penguins! It’s incredible how in just a few months their feathers will come in and they will transform into what looks like a completely different bird. It was an awesome sight to see.
Next up was the “Pets Ahoy” show. This is a really unique show comprised of animals ranging from rats to cats and dogs to pigs! All of the animals in the show have been rescues or adopted from shelters. There are several trainers who work with the animals to put on a great display of all of their talents. During the show, the actors take the time to educate the audience about the animals and benefits of rescuing a pet. Afterwards, we went on the sky tour. Located in the middle of the park, the sky tour takes riders 300ft. in the air to view the entire park and surrounding areas. From that high up, you even can see Sea World’s sister parks, Aquatica and Discovery Cove.
The shark encounter was next on the list. I would have to say that the shark exhibit is one that is a little disappointing for me. Most of the tour is comprised of other predatory marine animals. We saw lion fish and barracudas, and a who side exhibit on
the nastiest things on earthfrogs before getting to the sharks. The actual shark viewing area isn’t that big and it’s on a moving conveyor belt so you can’t really stand and check them all out. There is another little viewing area outside where there are some black tip, white tip, and leopard sharks, along with some fish and cow-nose rays.
The last major exhibit that we wanted to see before leaving for the day was the Wild Arctic. Stephen told us that if he didn’t get to see a polar bear he would feed us to Shamu. We made a long trek to the other side of the park, but it was definitely worth it. On the way to the South Pole, we saw two animal demonstrations. Throughout the day, trainers will bring out various birds and teach the park’s visitors about them. Jen made friends with a Nene goose, and we met a Laughing Kookaburra named Merlin.
When we finally got to the arctic, we were ready for some
showers cold air! Upon entering we were greeted by the Beluga whales. These are some of the most beautiful animals I’ve ever seen. They are long and lean and they always look like they’re smiling. They seem very playful and it was awesome to just watch them swim. I could have stood there all day just watching them. Next, we saw the polar bear. The one in the exhibit today was a very sleepy female. She was very cute and surprisingly smaller than I expected. The information guide told us that she was about 450 lbs. but that her TWIN brother weighed about 1100 lbs.! That’s quite a difference. We also saw two male walrus that were gigantic. These big guys can weigh over 2000 lbs! They have beautiful tusks, and I love their sweet mustaches.
It was almost 6:00pm when we were done exploring and decided to call it a day. Jen and Stephen can use their passes for another week and decided to go back another day to see the shows and exhibits that we didn’t get to today. Mike and I will hopefully be going back soon, as well. We left the park and went to dinner in all of our sweaty, smelly glory. On the way back, we got hit with a serious rain storm. I could hardly see through the windshield. I was white-knuckling the steering wheel the whole way home! We got home around 10:00pm and the shower was calling my name! I was pretty tired and my body was sore from doing BodyPump yesterday and walking around in the heat all day today. My mind, however, had other plans seeing as it’s almost 4:00am and I’m writing. Overall, we had a great day with our friends. Sea World is a great experience for children and adults alike. In my opinion, the educational aspects of the experience make it superior to other theme parks in Central Florida. I may be a bit biased, though, I love this park!
I did notice (after the fact, of course) that I didn’t take as many photos as I wanted to. I haven’t gotten used to documenting every little thing yet for the blog. It’s hard for me to decide what I think readers would be interested in seeing in photographs. That’s something that I’ll have to work on.
I hope that everyone is having a great weekend so far! I think I might actually be able to get a few hours of sleep now! Thank you for reading!