I grew up with grandparents who lived in Orlando Florida. Every year we visited them and made an annual trip to SeaWorld. SeaWorld was one of my favorite places to visit as a little girl.
I remember the feeling of sitting next to my Dad at all the shows waiting to get splashed. I can still hear his laugh and him saying “Get ready Missy!” That was our favorite part. I was 8 years old and my sister was 5.
Today it is my turn. Not I get to take my daughter to SeaWorld. She is just about how old I was when I started visiting, and now I get to relive everything I did with my mom and dad, and see it all again in her eyes.
Just this past week, we went to SeaWorld San Diego for one of our Word of Mom programs where we bring together families from all across the country. This group came from the Southern California area and they got an up close and personal experience with some of San Diego SeaWorld’s new adventures. We started the day with a beautiful catered lunch with some surprise animal visitors that included a Penguin, a Sloth and a Porcupine. To be able to interact with the animals in this intimate setting was something quite special.
Following our lunch we went to see the new Orca Encounter Show. It was mesmerizing. There is now an infinity screen behind the water that brings their story to life. I watched my little one stare in awe as she learned all about the Orcas and watched them swim beautifully and leap out of the water. After the show, we got to stick around and ask the trainers some questions and learn more about their habitat, the training and their life here at SeaWorld.
We then got to see the hilarious Sea Lion Show and the Dolphin Show where we got our own private splash moment as well as the opportunity to pet the Dolphins, feed the Dolphins and learn more about what inspires the trainers.
The most important moment happened towards the end of our guided tour, we were brought behind the scenes to the animal rescue and rehabilitation area of the park. We were able to learn about their rescue missions, and talk first hand about what is endangering our oceans and animals. I had no idea that SeaWorld is often the first responders when an animal is in trouble and washed upon the shores. The questions from the children were so smart and now our kids know how important it is to deflate and throw away all the balloons they get. This is just one of so many dangers to our sea life as these balloons end up in our waters and killing our sea life.
After this education, we had downtime to explore the park on our own. I took my daughter on the Bayside Sky Ride, which was one of my favorites as a little girl. You get to go high above the park and look down at everything on this relaxing gondola ride. I told her my stories of when I was 8 years old at SeaWorld and how she is now experiencing what I got to experience. Maybe it registered, not sure, as she was busy waving to everyone else on the ride that we passed.
We ended the evening with the new incredible Electric Ocean. There is a brand new Cirque show that happens just as the sunsets over the Pacific Ocean. This all happens after dark at SeaWorld San Diego. First, we stumbled upon a kids’ disco, which had us moms even shaking it. They had dancers and a DJ and everyone was dressed up in glow costume and the kids were having the time of their lives. We wandered with tired feet to see all the beautiful lights at night and left the park before it closed petting the entry fish one last time.
I leave you with this thought; Education is powerful, information is powerful. To all the naysayers of the SeaWorld parks because of Blackfish…. It might be time to immerse yourselves in all the positive work they do for Ocean life and animals today. You might find yourself pleasantly surprised and wanting to take your children back again and again, just like I did with my daughter this past week.
This post was in partnership with SeaWorld. These are my own opinions.