• SeaWorld Orlando's Penguins Up Close Tour

    By: Shelley Caran/OntheGoinMCO.com


    Earlier this year SeaWorld Orlando opened Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin, and now the park is offering the Penguins Up Close Tour where guests can really feel what it is like to work and live in this attraction and habitat.

    The Penguins Up Close Tour is approximately 45 minute long, and walking tour that takes you into the  Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin attraction and habitat to learn what it takes to keep the penguins healthy, how they are fed, and just how much snow and shoveling it takes to keep their environment just right.

    The tour begins with a look at the veterinarian and food areas of Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin, and is led by a knowledgeable Animal Care Specialist who then takes you into the penguin habitat answering questions along the way.  

    » IMAGE GALLERY: Penguins Up Close Tour

    As a young child I wanted to have a penguin for a pet, and so for me the highlight of the tour is that you get the opportunity to interact with and even touch a penguin! I was beyond excited!  The penguins that are brought to the group for interactions are used to being around people, and are more than happy to get pet and to have their pictures taken. It was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

    Seasonal pricing for the Penguins Up Close Tour starts at $59 ages 10 and up and $39 ages 3-9 plus tax. SeaWorld Orlando Pass Members can also save 10% by booking online or calling 1-888-800-5447!

    The Penguin Up Close Tour is offered several times a day, and you will want to sign up before your visit to SeaWorld Orlando if you can. Since the space in the attraction can be tight at times, the groups are kept quite small which allows for a more intimate experience.  

    It is 30° inside of Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin, and while there is some adjusting to the temperature stops included in the tour make sure to wear appropriate clothing. I really wish that I would have thought about this more! You will be chilly!!!

    Also, you come upon slick surfaces on the walking tour, and while the paths aren’t difficult to maneuver  you will still want to wear shoes that are okay to get wet that have some tread on them for safety’s sake.  

    While you are allowed to take pictures with your phone and camera, you will want to be careful about condensation on your lens. I made sure to take my phone out in the different temperatures before entering the exhibit, and it was perfectly fine to use.

    The Penguins Up Close Tour was a great experience that it is appropriate for animal enthusiasts of any age! I cannot recommend splurging on this tour at SeaWorld Orlando enough!!!

    There are a few things to keep in mind when booking the Penguins Up Close Tour:

    • Participants must check in at the Information & Reservations Counter at least 30 minutes prior to the tour start time.
    • Please be aware that the penguin habitat is approximately 30 degrees F and that the pathways in the area may be wet and challenging for some people to navigate.
    • All guests under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
    • Small groups will be combined to form a tour group of about 12 guests.
    • Children under 3 are free but need a tour reservation.
    • Late arrivals may miss tour components or may not be accommodated due to limited tour availability.
    • Tour times, prices and components are subject to change and availability.
    • Cancellations with less than 24 hours notice are non-refundable.

    SeaWorld admission is required, but not included.

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Shelley Caran recently moved to Celebration, Florida 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).