Wow, I have a new favorite place to visit when we're in Florida in the future! I am ashamed to admit, even though I spent quite a few years in Florida as a child/teenager, I never visited SeaWorld. So when C and I were given a media pass for our visit last week, I was excited and curious as to what it would be like. We arrived early on Tuesday morning, and after getting our tickets and a map, started out on our journey.
The first stop was at Stingray Lagoon. To my amazement, we were actually able to touch (and feed) the stingrays. The pool is a little below waist-height, and the stingrays just swim around the circle. I was a little nervous, because after all, we're talking stingrays-they sting! However, I did touch one, and was surprised-they actually feel slimy, and almost like a soft, gooey rubber. Pretty neat! They kept slapping against the side of the pool, looking for food. We spent a while just watching the action.
|A stingray pup!|
Next up, we passed Dolphin Cove. Again, we spent time just watching the dolphins, and laughing at their antics. Some of the employees were feeding them, and making the dolphins perform. Very neat to watch!! Later on, we also learned we could get close to the pool, and I was able to pet a dolphin as well. One of them stayed right in front of me and kept blowing water, then laying on the ledge of the pool. They are so friendly, and so gorgeous!
|This was probably THE highlight of my day at SeaWorld!|
As we followed the path around, we decided to visit Turtle Trek later in the afternoon, and continued on until reaching Journey To Atlantis. This is an exciting ride that is half flume, half roller coaster. It starts out with a ride through beautiful scenery, until you reach a point of no return. You're hauled up and promptly dropped down, like a typical flume-and it feels really good on a warm day in Florida! However, the ride doesn't end there. As you round the corner and think it's over, you are brought back up, and then flung down and around a corner, more like a roller coaster than a normal flume! Add to that the pitch black surrounding you, and you're in for a thrilling ride!
Next up was Kraken-from what I have heard, one of the top-rated roller coasters in the world. C doesn't care for roller coasters, so I did this one alone. One of the unique aspects to Kraken, is that after getting seated and buckled in, the floor drops out from beneath your feet. You are left sitting, with legs dangling during the ride. It starts out with the normal uphill climb, but after that nothing about Kraken is normal! The first drop is not straight down like most coasters, but includes a sharp curve as well. From there it's a wild and thrilling ride as you are jerked around curves, dropped down into a tunnel, flung upside down multiple times, and of course, all the great drops that leave you gasping for breath. I have ridden many roller coasters at many different theme/amusement parks, and I have to say that Kraken is honestly the BEST roller coaster I've ever been on! You have not experienced a roller coaster till you've been on Kraken! I rode 3 times in a row, and went back for more before leaving the park that evening.
We made a detour to Captain Pete's Island Eats for lunch, where C and I shared a large nacho platter. These were delicious, and very filling for us. We also purchased one of the souvenir cups, which can be refilled for only 99 cents throughout the day. And, if you visit SeaWorld throughout the year, you can bring your cup along for more 99 cent refills! You can not beat that deal.
If I shared all the highlights and events in our day, this post would be several chapters long. So, let me just share a couple other areas that you need to visit if you're ever at SeaWorld. First, the Wild Arctic Ride. C and I took the "helicopter ride" to the Arctic base camp, which is basically a simulator. You will experience a helicopter ride through the arctic, with many thrilling aspects-an avalanche, a winter storm, and even dropping down under the water to view the Beluga Whales! After your arrival at the base camp, you can walk through the "Wild Arctic" and see Beluga Whales, Polar Bears, and a Walrus up close. The Beluga Whales are absolutely gorgeous, and the Walrus is simply HUGE!
On our way out, we stopped at the Turtle Trek. This is a 3-part journey that starts with a stop in the underwater manatee viewing room. You are introduced to SeaWorld's manatee, and then move into the next room, where you can see the Sea Turtles. Other fish also swim in this area; the Alligator Garfish were really neat! The last leg of your trek is at the 3D, 360 journey through a Sea Turtle's eyes. This was amazing, and so neat! We loved watching the Sea Turtle craw out of her shell, make the trek out to the water, and then avoid danger, see the beauty that abounds underwater, and then return to the site of her birth to lay her own eggs. The 3D effect combined with the 360-degree view, makes Turtle Trek a must-see for anyone visiting SeaWorld!
One other thing I have to mention about our visit-I was very impressed by how quickly the lines moved, and how fast I was seated on the rides and attractions. Even in the middle of the afternoon, when lines are usually really long, for the big rides like Kraken and Journey to Atlantis, I only waited for about 5 minutes. Sooo much nicer than the parks where you have to wait for up to an hour or more for one ride on the roller coaster! I highly recommend SeaWorld for any family (or individual) visiting Florida. It's so much fun, and you will remember the trip for years to come!
|Finished off the day with a delicious funnel cake!|
Disclaimer: I was not monetarily compensated in any way for this review. I did receive complimentary tickets for my review. I was not required to post favorably about SeaWorld; all thoughts and opinions are mine.