Last weekend we made an impromptu trip to San Diego to pick up our Passat that was shipped to the port there by the military. Since it’s a 5.5 hr drive from our house and since Sea World is offering military personnel and their families free admission to Sea World this year, we decided to take the kids to Sea World while we were there. We weren’t sure if we’d be back in San Diego before the end of 2013 and wanted to take advantage of the offer, and we’re glad we did!
We stayed at the Hyatt right next to San Diego, thanks to Priceline. We could have stayed at the base right on the beach near Coronado, but decided to see if Priceline could give us a hotel that was similarly priced. I put in $90 as my max price since rooms at the base are $86/night and they gave us the Hyatt, which seems like a good deal until you have to pay $25/day for parking and $10/day for internet. I think Priceline should include these things in your max budget, or give you that option anyway.
Anyhow, we grabbed a quick breakfast at Einstein Bagels which overlooked the marina. Ben was in heaven. Between the pigeons all over the place and the planes he could see taking off, he was highly entertained.
We went to get the Passat and drop it back off at the hotel and then headed right to Sea World. Luckily picking up the Passat only took about 10 mins so we got to Sea World around 10:30am. We decided to go see the Shamu show first since it was showing at 10:45am and we weren’t sure if we would still be around for the 2nd showing at 5-something.
We weren’t sure how the kids would react to it, but they LOVED it. Both of them! We thought Ben might be a little too young to be interested, but he was riveted to the show the entire time – almost more so than Abbie was. We sat at the top of the splash zone where I figured we wouldn’t get wet but were still kind of close and I was right. It’s not quite as good now that they don’t get in the water with the whales, but it was still entertaining. (If you click on that bottom left picture where the whale is in the air, the kids faces right below it are hilarious!)
We had a great view of Atlantis walking in to the park and the entire walk in Abbie was telling us how she wanted to go on that ride. I was surprised, but we decided to humor her after the Shamu show and take her on the ride since she was tall enough. I thought she’d chicken out, but she didn’t! Mark took her on it and she loved the ride, but didn’t like getting wet. I stood there for 15 mins waiting for them to come down the slide, but apparently I missed them since next thing I knew they came walking out. Grr. I was annoyed that I missed that shot. We ended up buying the crappy quality photo they took of them, just to have her first “real ride” experience documented, but I’m still annoyed that I missed it.
The before and after photos.
While Mark and Abbie went to buy the photo, Ben and I watched some sting rays try to eat a bunch of lettuce. He was fascinated with them. A little afraid at first, but when he realized they weren’t going to get him, he liked to watch them.
After the Atlantis ride, I took Abbie on the Artic simulator ride, where it simulates riding on a helicopter through the Artic. Again, I thought based on her last experience, she might chicken out, but she wanted to go on it. When we were in the ride and it started to move she freaked out a little bit because she didn’t want to leave Daddy behind and was wondering how Daddy was going to get there with us, but after I assured her that we would come back and land at the same place, she was good. It was fun watching her on the ride because she really thought we were in a helicopter doing all these crazy maneuvers. Three years old can be a fun age.
Abbie kept asking when we were going to be able to swim with the animals and she was quite disappointed when we told her that you don’t get to swim with them, you just get to look at them. In the Artic area they had little pathways that looked like caves that kids could crawl/walk through and Abbie really wanted to do it but she was terrified that there was a polar bear in there, especially since you could hear polar bear noises through the speakers. I convinced her that the bear was sleeping and if she wanted to, she could go through the tunnel quickly, which she did and then sprinted out of it because she heard a growling noise. It was quite entertaining for us, but she was disappointed that we never did see the polar bear.
When we let Ben walk, Abbie LOVED holding his hand and leading him around, and he didn’t seem to mind too much, so I got quite a few shots like these. It was funny to watching people go “Awww!” as they passed them. If they only knew that normally Abbie is yanking Ben around and he’s screaming at the top of his lungs.
Next we went to see the Clyde and Seamore show, which Benj slept through and that was really the only 35-40 min nap he took the entire day.
After that we took Abbie to the kiddie area since she wanted to climb around on the nets. Mark and Abbie went through that while I chased Ben around since he refused to go back to sleep. Abbie saw the rides and decided she wanted to go on them, so we spent an hour or so taking the kids on the rides. They LOVED them. Both of them loved the rides. It’ll be great fun to take them to Disneyland later on since they loved the rides so much.
Mark took Benj on his first ride too and Ben was so excited! He was pretty upset after he got off and Mark took Abbie on it again.
After that we went to see the dolphin show, which again, both kids loved. It was a pretty good show between the dolphins and the high divers!
Then Abbie dragged Ben around some more.
Both kids loved the sting rays. I remember being terrified to touch them when I was little, but Abbie didn’t hesitate at all and I’m fairly sure Ben would have jumped right in there with them if I’d let him. And even more surprising to me, Sea World’s big roller coaster is called Manta and as soon as Abbie saw it she was BEGGING to go on it. Unfortunately she was 5 inches too short, but she really, really wanted to go on it. Hopefully next time she’ll be big enough!
We went on the Sky rail ride and the kids loved that also and I had nightmares about them falling out.
And lastly we went by the starfish pool and Abbie held a bunch of starfish. Again, I would have been very nervous to pick one of those things up at her age, but she had no fear whatsoever. She was just curious and wanted to hold them all.
Overall, the kids did GREAT at Sea World. No meltdowns at all and I think they had a great time, and we did too. The ride home, however, sucked. Ben screamed, not cried or fussed, but screamed at the top of his lungs for the last hour and a half of it. He’s lucky he’s cute…