Park Overview:When SeaWorld first opened, it was little more that a souped-up marine life park with exhibits that could be found at many municipal aquariums. In the intervening years however, the park expanded and now features great rides along with the Shamu shenanigans. Many of the attractions combine coaster and other ride experiences with the fishy stuff.
SeaWorld is a huge park with lots of shows, exhibits, rides, and things to do. If you've never been, you could easily spend two days exploring the park. (And Sea World often offers free second-day admission with a one-day ticket. Check with the park to see if it is available.) If you have limited time at SeaWorld, take a few moments to get a sense of the lay of the land, note the times of the shows, and plan a rough itinerary before you wander aimlessly into the park. During peak season, the park often presents nighttime Shamu shows and an evening show over its lagoon that includes fireworks. Check the schedule.
With the addition of coasters and themed attractions, some of the lines can become quite long. Learn how to manage lines and reduce wait times at SeaWorld Orlando.
The park offers lots of extra-fee opportunities, some of which allow guests to get closer to the animals. Check with Sea World for info, reservation details, and prices for activities such as behind-the-scenes tours, VIP tours, and animal interaction programs.
There are plenty of dining choices, and like the other Busch parks, the food is mostly pretty good. Sea World's waiter-service restaurant, Sharks Underwater Grill, features dinner and a show provided by the sharks swimming in the tank along the see-through walls. Make reservations in advance or early in the day at the popular restaurant. Sea World also offers special dining experiences such as a dine with Shamu experience (oddly, the buffet includes "Seafood Creole." Ew! Don't tell Shamu) and a character breakfast with the Sesame Street gang. Make reservations well in advance for these popular choices.
or (407) 351-3600
Operating Schedule:The park is open year round and generally stays open longer during holidays and the peak summer season.
Location:International Drive in Orlando, Florida
Directions:The physical address is: 7007 SeaWorld Drive, Orlando, FL 32821
From Orlando: I-4 to Exit 72.
From Tampa: I-4 to Exit 71.
Admission Policy:SeaWorld Orlando requires separate admission from the adjacent Aquatica water park and from Discovery Cove, SeaWorld's dolphin experience park. Reduced price for children 3 to 9. Ages 2 and under are free. Season passes and special promotions available for Florida residents.
Discounted SeaWorld, Aquatica, and Busch Gardens Tickets Online tickets available at a discount direct from SeaWorld. Other deals available, including multi-park passes that combine tickets to the Universal Orlando and SeaWorld parks at considerable savings.
To learn about the latest SeaWorld discounts, visit the Florida Theme Park Deals page, which is regularly updated.
Hotel Info:The Renaissance Orlando Resort at Sea World is one of Central Florida's finest hotels. Its rooms are unusually large, its decor is striking, and it offers one of the best breakfast buffets in the area.
Search for Renaissance Orlando Resort at SeaWorld rates at About.com's booking partner, Kayak.
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Park Features:SeaWorld is both a marine life park, with compelling stadium shows and exhibits, and a ride park with wild coasters and other attractions.
- The marine life highlights include:
- The Shamu stadium show, "One Ocean," is SeaWorld's signature presentation. Combining choreographed stunts, music, video, and, of course, lots of splashes, the large-scale show matches the killer whale's size.
- Blue Horizons melds trained dolphins and birds with Cirque-du-Soleil-style theatrics.
- Shark Encounter sends guests through an acrylic tube into a giant shark tank to get up-close and personal with the fearsome animals.
- At Stingray Lagoon and Dolphin Cove, guests can view, pet, and feed the animals.
- The ride and attraction highlights include:
- Manta- A flying coaster.
- Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin- A themed dark ride and exhibit.
- TurtleTrek- A 3D film presented in a domed theater.
- Journey to Atlantis- A themed water ride/roller coaster/dark ride.
- Wild Arctic- A ride/exhibit hybrid, the attraction "transports" guests to the Arctic with a nifty motion simulator ridefilm and then offers a chilly view of real polar bears and whales.
- Kraken- A wild floorless coaster.
- Families with younger children will want to head to Shamu's Happy Harbor for pint-sized rides.
What's New:New for 2012 and 2013
TurtleTrek and Antarctica
Sea turtles will be featured in a new exhibit opening in 2012 that will include actual turtles as well as way-larger-than-life turtles presented in a souped-up 360-degree 3-D movie. In 2013, SeaWorld's penguins will get a new home, and guests will get to tour the expanded penguin exhibit in ride vehicles. Read more about TurtleTrek and Antarctica.
New for 2011
All three SeaWorld parks (in Orlando, San Antonio, and San Diego) debuted a new killer whale show called "One Ocean." As with past presentations, there are giant LED screens, original music, and special effects to help tell an overarching story--in this case, that we all share the planet and need to play a role in its ecological stewardship.
New for 2009: Manta Flying Coaster