Last month I had the opportunity to cross something off my bucket list: travelling to California. What started as adding on a few days in LA, staying with a friend before going to Vancouver for work somehow snowballed into LA, San Diego, San Francisco and then Vancouver and then home! I am planning on doing a little post about my trip, but while I was away a few different attractions were kind enough to offer me tickets to some attractions in exchange for review. First up I wanted to share a bit with you about my trip to Sea World (which I called Marine Land half of the time...clearly I am from Ontario!)I attended Sea World with two of my friends. One, C, was just really excited about the sea lions and the penguins. My other friend A, who lives in LA, was a bit more sceptical about going to Sea World given some of the negative media attention they have received in recent years. Me? I was pretty excited to see some animals, take some cool photos, and explore Sea World as an adult. I hadn't been since I was a kid on the obligatory "take the kids to Florida" vacation my family took me on waaaaaaay back.
Once we were in the park we basically headed straight for the sea lions. We could hear the arfing from a mile away. I bought some fish to feed them, but one fish was snacked by these silly white birds. It was really fun to watch the sea lions glide through the water and jump onto the rocks. We probably could have stayed there for hours, but we had more to see!
We quickly glanced at the seals, and while I found them cuter than the sea lions, they weren't nearly as playful or as interested in my fish treats. None of my seal photos turned out well. On to the next!
Bad hair day
All slicked back
Ready for my close up!
Once we were done with the sea lions and seals we headed over to the penguin area. We were first greeted by some penguins playing in an outdoor pool. I believe these were from Australia-- we asked and the ones enjoying the California sun were from a warm place, and the ones indoors were from a cold place. A was satisfied that this was fair to the climate needs of both types. We then headed indoors for a penguin show. The indoor exhibit was dark and chilly, and there were all sorts of penguins there for us to see. C stayed there for quite a while, and we met up with her in the penguin themed gift shop where she bought two stuffed animals to take home.
(Also if a live penguin camera interests you, you can check out this one on Sea World's website!)
Once we were done with the live penguins, and after C had spent sufficient time in the penguin themed gift shop (and purchased two stuffed animals) we headed over to Wild Arctic (which... because I'm from Toronto I keep wanting to call "Arctic Cove"...because Marineland) where we saw some silly rolling walruses, some majestic belugas, and a few polar bears.
Belugas: Secretly part mermaid
We kept careful watch of the clock and then headed over to one of the afternoon showings of "Dolphin Days". This 20 minute show displays some playful dolphins and shares some educational information about these playful little guys. I may be an adult, but I was still in awe of the dolphins as they jumped out of the water. I swear I spent half my time thinking about how good their core strength must be...
The want-to-be photographer in me really enjoyed trying to get crisp action shots of these powerful animals.
I was really happy with how the dolphin in this photo turned out.
The three of us then grabbed a snack, and re-applied our sunscreen before settling down for the One Ocean (re: Killer whale) show. We felt like we couldn't come to Sea World and miss out on this iconic show, but A was a bit uncomfortable with the Killer Whale part of the show (so all of it). We were pleased to see that the trainers were no longer in the water with the animals. Personally I thought the show was great, and I really enjoyed the focus on ocean education that they included in the programming. I think its great that kids get the opportunity to see these majestic animals up close, and then to learn more about taking better care of our planet. A ended up really enjoying the show and she also appreciated the educational elements. I couldn't get over the fact that these massive animals have such strength that they can leap out of the water. They will be retiring this show at the end of this season and coming out with something totally new for next year!
I used one of my larger lenses to get these reasonably up close photos!
One of the best parts about going to Sea World without children is that there are no little people begging to sit at the front. The three of us managed to entirely avoid the splash zone by sitting right up near the top. Can you imagine sitting with a nice camera if you were in the splash zone?
the Splash Zone.
I don't think they know what they signed up for!
Why can a whale do that and I can't?
Sweet little snoozing otter.
After the show was over we checked out the otters and then headed over to the flamingos. I'm sorry in advance for how many flamingo photos I am about to share but they were just so fun and silly! I loved them. Just like the sea lions I could have watched these guys for hours!
Me feeding the flamingos
I am really proud of this photo.
You can't sit with us.
We finished off our trip with a sun set ride on the Bayside Skyride. Though the line took some time, the view was totally worth it!
Over all we had a fantastic time at Sea World. Here are our thoughts and advice on going there as an adult...
Some thoughts on going there as an adult:
-Going to the shows is still a lot of fun, but I would suggest picking your top 1-2 shows and leaving ample time to enjoy the other exhibits. Personally I didn't care about sitting close to the front, and as you saw, the splash zone is pretty big. Given that I had my fancy camera with me, I was happy to stay safe and dry!
-If you are hungry consider checking out Sea World's Seven Seas Food Festival. Enjoy food and drinks from around the world! My friends and I did not participate because we were full from brunch when we arrived, but other people seemed to be really enjoying it. We could hear some of the live music as we walked between exhibits.
Tips for everybody
-You don't have to go to Disney to get the coveted Dole Whip. At Sea World I bought a vanilla-pineapple Dole Whip twist and it was delightful! Just head to Pineapple Pete's!
-Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen
-Pack a light sweater, it can get windy & chilly in the evenings by the ocean
-Get the Sea World app. It was a huge help in getting us from place to place, and it even tells you how long the line up is for each ride! I usually hate getting aps for each place I go, but C was big on it, and I am glad that she downloaded it for us to use!
Have you been to Sea World lately? What was your favourite thing about going?
Tickets were provided complimentary for my review. However... with what I spent at the gift shop and on snacks I think they more than made that back on me!