SeaWorld: Orlando, Florida

The marine zoological theme park located in Orlando, Florida is one of the most famous aquarium in the world. Every year, an estimated 4.7 million guests visit to see the many wondrous attractions that SeaWorld offers. This park has over 200 acres of rides, aquariums, hundreds of animals, shows, and conservation classes. SeaWorld first opened its doors on December 15th, 1973. Since then, the park has been the leader in caring for the largest collections of animals in the North American continent, and is a worldwide leader in training, veterinary care, and animal welfare. SeaWorld: Orlando, Florida


»History

History


Before then, the ideas behind the SeaWorld experience can be traced back all the way to 1959, where the original Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida opened as a bird sanctuary and garden. It was then that the park became so popular, expansion at an extraordinary rate occurred, and then there were 2 Busch Garden parks, as the other is in Williamsburg, Virginia, Adventure Island, and then came SeaWorld in 1964. The first was built in San Diego, California, originally thought to be an underwater restaurant, the idea grew into becoming a marine zoological park. With only a $1.5 million investment, dolphins, sea lions, 2 saltwater aquariums, and 45 employees, SeaWorld attracted more than 400,000 visitors in its first year. Today, there are a total of 3 SeaWorld parks, the original in San Diego, Orlando, and San Antonio, Texas, and together, with all the other parks and attractions, they bring in over 23 million guests each year.

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment values a commitment to saving animals of all kinds. As of last year, the company has rehabilitated and saved over 28,000 animals who were sick, injured, abandoned, or orphaned. Their goal is to bring these animals back to good health to return them to their natural habitats. The scientists at SeaWorld are researching day after day to try and solve enormous problems in the environment today. These extraordinary people are integrated with universities all over the world to create a better understanding about our world’s oceans and wildlife. The Animal Health Team and scientists there have published more than 1,000 studies in a global effort to further our knowledge about the world around us. Through the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund, scientists all over the world are funded with materials, knowledge, and monetarily to solve problems in the environment such as the coral reef pollution and exploitation, over-fishing, saving endangered species, ocean pollution, disease in animals, and countless others. The tickets that visitors buy to experience SeaWorld will always help fund these programs and research that is so important for the survival of thousands of animals per year. Things to Do in Florida: SeaWorld Orlando - Photo: SeaWorld: Orlando, Florida

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»Permanent Attractions

Permanent Attractions


What would a theme park be without fun rides for the children? SeaWorld Orlando has no shortage of kid-friendly rides:

The Sea Carousel is in Shamu’s Happy Harbor. This classic ocean themed ride is fun for the younger visitors, as it hosts a 45-ft. wide octopus on the top, and will never disappoint.

The paddle boats are up for grabs on SeaWorld’s big central lake. The kids can tour the park on the water, or it can be a romantic ride for a couple, either way it’s a nice relaxing ride on the beautiful lake.

The Sky Tower is a 400-ft. high tower and has stood since the day the park opened in 1974. The ride is a capsule that ascends the tower, giving you a bird’s-eye view of sunny Orlando, however this ride is intended for kids over the age of 14.

In Shamu’s Happy Harbor, there are several rides fun for the whole family, such as the Ocean commotion, which is a 19-ft tug boat that rocks back and forth and side to side.

Shamu Express is a first timer roller coaster of sorts. It’s for the people that want just enough fun, as it’s not too extreme, but would be great for any kid or adult.

Swishy Fishies is a mild teacup ride for the little ones that want to spin around a large waterspout.

The Flying Fiddler is an enormous fiddler crab with eyes that light up, it acts as if it swallows 12 kids at a time, then lifts them 20-ft. in the air and jumping down through several short drops. This ride is not only a ride, it becomes an experience, and one you won’t forget for years to come.

The Wild Arctic Ride is a flight simulator that takes you through the frozen north in a helicopter. The experience is close to real, and will leave you with a surreal sensation, as you fly through the icy landscape.

Journey to Atlantis is a fun water ride that dares to thrill anyone. On a roller coaster, you will explore underwater passageways in the sunken city, then you will be plunged into the water after you reach the final gates. This ride is wild, wet, and fun for everyone. Things to Do in Florida: SeaWorld Orlando - Photo: SeaWorld: Orlando, Florida

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»Shows

Shows


The SeaWorld experience doesn’t stop with rides. This park puts on shows that are complete with animal interactions, tours, and classes. Let’s explore a few:

Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin is the largest exhibit in SeaWorld history. This experience will transport you to the south pole to follow a penguin named Puck. You will explore his world, above and below, and can see his colony first hand, as you even have the option to get up-close interactions with penguins. This right has a ‘mild’ or ‘wild’ version, which makes it perfect for adults, or the whole family.

The Shamu Underwater Viewing is an area where you can get up close and personal with orca whales. In this exhibit, you can observe these amazing creatures glide through the water and interact with you through the glass.

In Dolphin Cove, these bottlenose dolphins constantly play and put on a show. You can view these intelligent creatures above or below their habitat.

The Manta Aquarium houses more than 3000 marine animals. A few big features include several different species of Manta Rays, Giant Pacific Octopus, and a 360-degree aquarium.

The Shark Encounter is one of the biggest underwater viewing tunnels in the world, and hosts several different species of sharks, for your viewing pleasure. The encounter doesn’t stop there either, there is a full-service restaurant where you will be able to view the sharks while enjoying fine dining. The Sharks Underwater Grill is a unique dining experience that the whole family can enjoy.

Pacific Point Reserve is home to Seals and Sea Lions that are funny and intelligent creatures. These animals from California will always impress as they swim and play. You can even get a chance to feed these wonderful animals.

Jewel of the Sea Aquarium is where colorful and luminescent sea creatures call home. These fish and jellyfish are illuminated with a backlight to make them glow, creating an experience you can only find deep in the ocean depths. Things to Do in Florida: SeaWorld Orlando - Photo: SeaWorld: Orlando, Florida

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»Behind-the-Scenes Tour & Expedition SeaWorld: A Guided Tour

Behind-the-Scenes Tour & Expedition SeaWorld: A Guided Tour


In the Behind-the-Scenes tour, you can discover what it takes to do what this amazing park does, and who does it. You will be assigned a tour guide to escort you around the park that will educate you on what it takes to care for all these marine animals.

Some of the things you can experience is touching an actual shark, interacting with penguins, and see these experts in action while caring for manatees and sea turtles. Plus, 10% of your admission price is donated to the SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Conservation Fund, which is a win-win situation for everyone.

Expedition SeaWorld: A Guided Tour

This six-hour tour will bring you through the park and guarantee you seats to three amazing shows, first will be the One Ocean show, next will be the Blue Horizons, and then the Sea Lion High, these are wonderful shows are well worth the price. You will also be able to feed the Sea Lions and the Rays. This tour includes an all-day dining deal where you can pick any food and drink at the park restaurants. You also receive a Front-of-the-Line access to Manta Aquarium, Kraken, Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin, Journey to Atlantis, Turtle Trek, Sky Tower, and the Wild Arctic. Things to Do in Florida: SeaWorld Orlando - Photo: SeaWorld: Orlando, Florida

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»Dining and Shopping

Dining and Shopping


SeaWorld Orlando features signature dining, sit down meals, and many snack shops throughout the park. There are also ice caves filled with vending machines. The snack shops are more like cafés and referred to as quick bites. The sit-down restaurants are full sized restaurants that are on the property that all have a water theme. Signature Dining are very special dining events that have a per person charge. However, you can eat dinner next to jumping sharks and whales, or get a seat right next to the aquarium at the Shark Underwater Grill.

There are over twenty different gift shops and gift stands throughout SeaWorld that offer everything from keychains and stuffed animals to clothing, dinner ware, and a Little Mismatched store. There are also places to buy beach gear, and stroller and wheel chair rentals and oyster diving treasure shops.

Back to: Best Things to Do in Orlando

7007 Sea World Drive, Orlando, FL 32821, Phone: 888-800-5447 Things to Do in Florida: SeaWorld Orlando - Photo: SeaWorld: Orlando, Florida

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Things to Do in Florida: SeaWorld Orlando