Why Moms Need to Take Their Kids to Sea World (It’s Not Why You’d Think)

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“Today is the best day of my life!” My daughter said, beaming at me, as we walked away from riding her very first real roller coaster ride.

What made the day extra special was the fact it was her and her twin sister’s 7th birthday, and we were at Sea World San Antonio together, just the twins and I. I received free tickets in exchange for this review, and I so thankful for them! Because, it was one of the best days of my life too.sea world as a family

A couple months ago, my husband bought JAWS on Blu-ray from Target when it was on sale for $4 and decided it would be a great one to watch with the kids. I was less than thrilled about doing so, but we did anyway. But, I’m kinda glad we did! It sparked a huge interest in sea creatures among our kids!  So, we watched clips of real shark attacks on Youtube, learned about octopuses and squids on Youtube, read in our schoolbooks about the ocean and life there, picked up books on killer whales from the library, and so on.

Then one day I showed my kids a clip of Shamu at Sea World, doing his amazing show, and my kids flipped out. Especially my 7-year old Lisa. She thought it was amazing and wanted to go to Sea World! She wanted to go for her birthday, especially after I told her there was a Sea World in San Antonio.

I contacted Sea World, got press passes, found a babysitter for my 20-month-old daughter and my newly minted 4-year old son, switched cars with my husband, and away we went down to San Antonio for the day!

To say that we had a blast is an understatement!Sea World San Antonio

I felt like a kid again, with all my wildest dreams coming true! I never went to Walt Disney World or Disneyland as a kid (or as an adult) and always thought it would be amazing to go to Sea World too, though I grew up in Wisconsin, far, far away from any of those destinations.

Spending the day with my big girls, free from my drama-filled 4-year old son, and my want-to-runaway toddler girl was perfect!

We didn’t need to stop because someone didn’t want to walk anymore, or was hungry, or tripped and fell and needed a boo-boo kissed, or disappeared somewhere, or was in desperate need of a nap. I didn’t need to push a stroller around or leave it unattended during the Sea World shows. I didn’t need to change any diapers, breastfeed anyone, or bring endless snacks (though we did bring some), or even a bring my big diaper bag!

We were free to run around the park (literally), go on roller coaster rides together, and laugh and hold hands and be together free of tears and tantrums.

It was liberating!

I haven’t felt so free, relaxed, and happy in forever. I didn’t check Facebook while we there, or email, or phone calls. I didn’t have to cook or clean, homeschool, or yell at someone to do this or that.

Instead, I spent the day giving my children a day they will never forget. I gave them an experience unlike any they’ve had before. They will forever remember our trip to Sea World on their 7th birthday.

It made me think about all those posts I’ve read over the years about people who forgo traditional gifts for their children for holidays and birthdays and instead give them “experience gifts” and I totally understand that now!  How often does a toy’s appeal fade quickly or the toy break within only a few days or weeks? And while enjoyable, they are short-lived memories. But, spending quality time doing something brand new with people you love is something you’ll never forget and can tell your children about someday.

Sea World San Antonio Review

The day we went had perfect weather too – high 70’s, sunny, with a breeze. As it was a Thursday during their off-season there were few people at the park, which meant no lines, and prime seating for all the shows.

When we first arrived, my daughter, Alison, kept pointing out all the fuzzy, prickly caterpillars that covered the walkways! And then we came to a “roller coaster” boat ride, so I told them to move forward if they wanted to get wet…. and this is what happened next:

Alison was drenched! It took them a while to dry off, but it was so funny! We went on a little roller coaster ride in the middle of the park, in the Seasame Street Bay of Play. Alison even got a hug from Elmo.Sea world San Antonio Seasame Street Village

We headed to our first show at Sea World, called Clyde and Seamore’s Sea Lion High, where two sea lions and an otter go to school and compete in various subjects. It was pretty cheesy acting and production, but was fun to see the Sea Lion do some acting and dancing.sea world sea lion show

Then we decided to hit up a real roller coaster, the Steel Eel. The girls are an inch or so above the required height limit, which is exciting! I haven’t been on a roller coaster since I was a teenager! I honestly forgot what they felt like. Lisa was really scared and didn’t want to go on it, but I said I’d sit next to her. I felt bad leaving Alison to sit all by herself in the row behind us, but there were three of us, and only two seats next to each other. Alison was more excited about riding it though!

However, as we went along, and we all screamed, held tight to mom, or cowered down low in our seats, closing our eyes, it was clear that one of my daughters was actually enjoying it, and the other not so much! I made sure to capture their experience by making them tell me all about it on video, right after we got off the ride:

It’s so funny because they flip flopped! Alison hated it and doesn’t want to ride again (though yesterday she said the next time she goes on one, she wants to sit next to me, so I think her stance is changing a little from the one she had in the video!), and Lisa loved it though she was more hesitant and scared beforehand! Oh, my twins!

We then headed to the next show, Ocean Discovery: Dolphins and Beluga Whales. It was super cool, as I have never seen a beluga whale before! The girls kept telling me that it’s like the whale in Finding Dory. Ha.sea world beluga whale showI love that the shows are very educational and I learned all about the whales and dolphins and how they are taken care of here at the park too. And, seriously, they rode on the backs of the whales! How cool is that?! Both my kids and I were very impressed!

The last show we hit up was by far my favorite – the Shamu Killer Whale Show! You guys, I had no idea how HUGE killer whales are until I was sitting there watching these massive, intelligent creatures swim next to us, and pop several feet up into the air. It literally took my breath away!sea world killer whales orcas shamu show

The whole show is incredible and dramatic and amazing!! I L-O-V-E-D it!

At the end of the show, a person that worked at Sea World told all the kids to come forward if they wanted to get wet! So, of course, my girls, who were now dry from the first drenching they got when got to Sea World, moved down. I stayed away so as to protect my phone and expensive camera from water. It also allowed me to get this great footage. 🙂

Of course, the Killer Whale show was right before the park closed, so we didn’t have time to dry off in the sun this time, and I came ill-prepared for the day, with no swimsuits for us, no change of clothes, and no towels. So, how thankful I was when a random park visitor stopped us during our walk back to our car to leave for home and asked if we would like his towel! He said that they had flown in and didn’t have room in their suitcases to bring it home with them, so we could have it, especially because we needed it! How thankful I, and my girls, are to that stranger! Thank you! 

We drove home happy, contented from our great day of beautiful weather, fun adventures, and getting soaked. After all, it’s not every day you see giant killer whales in person, let alone got soaked wet by one! Or get to see a sea lion dance, a person riding a beluga whale, or get to ride on a roller coaster for the first time.

And while I know that this day was about giving them an amazing experience for their birthday, it was so so good for me too. And for our relationship. Which is why I think every mom should take their (big) kids to Sea World. Not for your kids, per say, but for your own health, fun, and sense of adventure.

I loved our little “Girls Getaway.” I found my true self again as I didn’t care what anyone thought of me. I talked loud. Applauded. Cheered. Laughed.  We took pictures and videos together, held hands, and smiled. A lot.

Other than me not being fully prepared for our adventures there, and not being able to get to Sea World until the afternoon, thereby not seeing everything at the park (including missing out on seeing the sharks!), and overpriced pizza, it was an epic day. And I think we’ll just have to go back again soon.

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  1. Becca says

    The Sea World in Australia has joint passes with a couple of other amusement parks. You can buy an annual pass and get unlimited entrance to three different parks. Last year when my parents came we spent a week on the Gold Coast and checked them out. Sea World was my kids’ favourite too. We went 3 times.

    We’ve also taken our kids to Disneyland in Anaheim and Universal Studios in Osaka. My advice – Wait until your youngest is at least school-aged. It’s partially about being able to remember it (although the first time we went to Disneyland, I was 8 and my older sister was 14 – she joined us again a couple of years ago and couldn’t remember much from her first visit, either) but it’s also because it’s just easier with older kids. They don’t melt down as easily as toddlers, they aren’t as demanding, you can make it into a longer day (we were at Disneyland until 10 PM, there’s no way we could’ve stayed that long with a 2 year old!)

    And Happy Birthday to your twins!

    • says

      Yes! I agree with the taking older kids, that’s part of why our trip to Sea World was so great! ha. And I also don’t understand the take your babies or toddlers to Disney, and spend a ridiculous amount of money when they will not remember it, other than the pictures and videos you take. I’m too practical and frugal for that. Ha. So, it’s fun my oldest are getting older. 🙂

      I’m glad you enjoyed Sea World in Austrailia!!

  2. Cat says

    I don’t suppose that, as a Christian who is meant to take care of the world around her, you could have found a less exploitative and ABUSIVE place to bring your young, impressionable children? What do you think they learned about the place of wildlife and the beautiful creatures of the world by watching them do tricks in a tiny pool? What do you think that taught them about the value of the world around them? What a shallow view of the world around you. I am shocked, sickened and DISGUSTED.

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