*Visiting Sea World with younger kids? Be sure to read our post about the Sesame Street Bay of Play attraction.
We recently took our first-ever family trip to Sea World San Antonio. I felt nervous as we prepared to go, trying to anticipate if I had thought of everything and if our day would be a total success or an utter failure. I’m happy to say that we had a great time, and I wanted to share a few things I learned along the way.
10 Tips for Visiting Sea World
- Learn more about your Sea World location’s attractions, and print a map so you can begin determining an order of priority for what you’d like to see. You may throw this entirely out the window once you get there, but it might help to get everyone’s input while you are comfortable in your living room (rather than amid a throng of people and other distractions).
- While you’re at it, measure your child’s height before you go. The Sea World website will give you a list of the rides and their minimum height requirements, and that can help you plan for which rides are worth seeking out. If you skip doing this at home, look for a measuring chart not too far inside the front entrance to the park, and it will tell you which rides your kids can go on, too. (of course, each of the rides will have their individual measuring charts, but some of the rides are quite far apart, and I’d hate for you to walk so far for nothing!)
- Find out what you can/can’t bring into the park. You might be surprised by what you CAN bring – at Sea World San Antonio we were able to bring in bottled water and single-serving snacks. Your bags WILL be checked, so check the website or call customer service in you have any questions while you’re packing.
- Planning ahead might also help you decide what to wear. At Sea World San Antonio, we wore light layers and had a change of clothes and socks in the car in case we got really wet and wanted to change for the ride home. But we saw people in just about every kind of outfit you can imagine – from sweats to bikinis and everything in between. You will likely do a lot of walking, so smart shoes are a good idea. But again, if you are planning on getting really wet, a pair of sandals might be alright, too.
- Bring quarters for the lockers. You can rent all-day lockers near the entrance to the park, but then you have to return to that location every time you need something from your bags. Instead, we opted to use the lockers located at various rides throughout the park. At Sea World San Antonio’s Journey to Atlantis ride, we rented two lockers for $1/each (four quarters per), and stored our stuff in there for an hour or two. That way, we had our hands free and our belongings protected while we went on the roller coasters and water rides.
- If you want to have fun at Sea World, resign yourself to getting wet. At Sea World San Antonio there is a dedicated water park in addition to the other rides and attractions. We knew for sure we wouldn’t be going to there during our visit, but I still wondered how wet I’d get. It turns out that different experiences – some rides, the Shamu show – left me from “a little wet” to “completely soaked.” But because my head was in the right place, it didn’t bother me too much. And we dried off quickly while just walking around the park.
- If you can afford it, consider buying the Quick Queue passes. We decided not to, but we saw very quickly the benefit to those who did. Even when a ride’s wait time said 30 minutes, it could easily become 45 minutes to an hour because of all the people who would skip right to the front of the line with Quick Queue. We saw it time and again. And while we could only hit a few rides because of the enormous lines, Quick Queue pass holders just came and went and undoubtedly were able to do more in less time.
- If you have an iPhone, you MUST download the Sea World app. I was thrilled to have this with us at Sea World San Antonio! It tells you where you are on an interactive map of the park. It gives you the day’s show times, information about the restaurants, where the nearest restrooms are, and more. Truly, it was an invaluable help to us that day.
- Line up early for shows, especially Shamu. We planned to watch the 6pm Shamu show called “Believe,” and decided to line up at 5pm. It was a good move, since a massive crowd started forming within 15 minutes. We were allowed into the stadium just before 5:30, and the entire arena filled up in minutes. We were lucky to be in the Splash Zone and had a great time, but there were easily dozens of other family who either had to stand or were not allowed in for the show. It was crazy!
- Search online for ticket discounts. I am very aware – especially as a mom of five – how expensive visits to parks like Sea World can be. There are often online deals or seasonal promotions that offer discounted tickets. Or consider buying admission to Sea World as part of a City Pass that also lets you in to other area attractions. Just be savvy and start searching and make a visit to Sea World more affordable for your family.
*Disclosure: our family received complimentary admission to Sea World San Antonio on the day of our visit. I received no other compensation for this post. All opinions expressed are honest and my own.