by: Shelley Caran Updated:
SeaWorld Orlando is a great theme park to introduce your children to the concept of visiting attractions and to foster a love and appreciation for the ocean and its many inhabitants.
One of the greatest things that SeaWorld Orlando has to offer for children is its size and that it is a park full of variety! There is definitely something for everyone to experience and enjoy in the park on a scale that isn’t overwhelming or intimidating.
The shows are a great place to start with children, because there are no lines and they introduce them to the animals found throughout the park. These shows are absolutely amazing, and all have something a little different to offer. At the Whale & Dolphin Theater you can see Blue Horizons, a venture beyond the horizon where dolphins, birds, and spirited performers meet. Clyde & Seamore Take Pirate Island is presented at the SeaLion & Otter Stadium, and is a hilarious show that lets you accompany Clyde and Seamore on their Pirate misadventures. Cats, dogs, birds, and even a pig perform high-action feats at the SeaPort Theater in Pets Ahoy! If your child is a big Sesame Street fan, they can also see Elmo and Abby’s Treasure Hunt at the Seaport Theater. And at Shamu Stadium you can see Shamu perform in the new exciting show One Ocean. My biggest tip with these shows is to arrive 15 – 20 minutes before each show to get a good seat and settle in before the fun begins! Also pay attention to if you are sitting in a splash zone, because when they say you may get wet…they really mean WET!
There are attractions for everyone in the family at SeaWorld Orlando.
One thing that makes life easier is that at the Height Check Station, located at the front of the park, your child will be issued a wristband and an informational sheet with in-park kid friendly options for their height.
For the younger children in your party, a visit to Shamu’s Happy Harbor is a great place to start for rides! To ride these attractions alone children must meet the height requirements, 38-42 inches, or they must be accompanied by a supervising companion at least 14 years old to ride. At Shamu’s Happy Harbor you’ll find play areas, the Shamu Express, Jazzie Jellies, Ocean Commotion, Flying Fiddler, and Swishy Fishies.
Another thing to keep in mind is that if you are going to be riding along with your child, there is a very strict no bag or loose article policy at SeaWorld Orlando. So you will either need to leave your bag with someone or rent a locker before enter the attraction queue.
For the braver and more adventurous members of your family, there are fantastic coasters, Manta and Kraken, a great water ride, Journey to Atlantis, and a simulator ride, Wild Arctic.
If there is something that you want to experience, but it isn’t really geared for your child don’t forget to use the Child Swap option, which allows parents with children to experience the larger attractions. As you get to the line, notify the ride operator that you would like to do a child swap and they will give you directions on how and where the rest of your party should wait.
There are also several different types of animal interactions at SeaWorld.
You can feed Dolphins, Stingrays, Harbor seals and California Sea lions several times a day at a minimal additional cost. My daughter, Zoe, is a huge fan of feeding the Stingrays!!!
In the Sea Gardens you can find Animal Connection where you can have up-close and personal interactions with exotic animals under the watchful eye of their attendants several times a day.
There are also aquariums at the Manta and Journey into Atlantis attractions to keep the little ones who can’t ride busy.
Also, scattered among the attractions and shows are small venues where you can view several different types of birds and animals. We love the flamingos!
Wild Arctic isn’t just an attraction! It is a place where you can view polar bears, beluga whales, and walruses as you pass through its chilly exhibit.
For the braver of heart, Shark Encounter is a journey through an underwater viewing tunnel for a rare close-as-you-dare look at sharks, some weighing in at more than 300 pounds, and sawfish.
The Dolphin Nursery gives you the chance to see baby dolphins interacting with each other and their mothers. I am warning you, now, if you love dolphins you will find yourself staying here for a long time to watch them play in the water!
There is definitely something for every age and interest of children in your family or group. If the attractions aren’t enough, Educators and specialists are always around the exhibits to answer every question they may have. And each exhibit is loaded with interactive displays are sure to keep them enthralled.
And don’t forget to have your picture taken with Shamu or one of his friends before you leave as a reminder of your day at SeaWorld Orlando!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Shelley Caran moved to Celebration, Florida a little over a year ago from Virginia, but has had a passion for Disney World and SeaWorld since her first visit in 1986. She is a wife and stay-at-home Mom, who never seems to stay at home! She loves to take pictures, talk about her adventures, and what is important to know as you are on the go in the Orlando and Tampa attractions. In addition to her own site, On the Go in MCO (www.onthegoinmco.com) she is a contributor for Touring Plans (www.touringplans.com).