SeaWorld is one of the most interactive and fun experiences that you and your family can enjoy in Orlando – plus it’s educational too!
But as well as the entertaining shows, interesting animals, and fun rides, there are many things that people often miss. Here are 10 things that most people who visit SeaWorld don’t know about:
1. The secret Flamingo parade
Get to the park when it first opens and there’ll be a special treat waiting for you! After entering head left towards Manta (the big blue coaster near the park entrance) – and have your camera at the ready because a few SeaWorld employees will walk the flamingos from their behind the scenes home to their in-park exhibit and it is a fantastic opportunity to get some up-close pictures of these beautiful birds.
Tip: Although the flamingo parade does end at their exhibit where they settle in for the day, there will be more photo opportunities if you walk past Manta and catch the parade at the games near the coaster!
2. How to get great pre-show photos of the animals
To get a good seat at the shows, It is good practice to arrive at least 30-45 minutes early. It can be easy to get a little bored while waiting for the shows to start, but often the dolphins and orcas are out and playing before their shows! This is a great opportunity to get your camera out and snap a few awesome photos – plus there are also underwater viewings for these animals so make sure to see them there too!
Photo Tip: If your camera allows, always use the multi-shot setting when taking pictures during the shows. You will have more pictures to choose from and will be less likely to miss an awesome action shot.
3. Getting pictures with the Blue Horizons entertainers
After the Blue Horizons dolphin show the divers will occasionally come out to take a few pictures with guests. This is weather permitting of course! Sometimes it is possible to catch them for a photo-op before the show, but this is rarer. Be sure to use the Photo Tip from above during the show to get the best shots!
4. How to stay dry in the soak zone at the Shamu show
The soak zone is the area in the front of the stadium in which you are almost guaranteed to get wet! Now I know what you’re thinking: not getting wet here sounds impossible and you are crazy but contrary to popular belief it is possible to stay dry while sitting here – the most I have ever gotten wet in these seats was a few droplets on my knees.
The best places to sit in the not so soaked zone are the rows just below the disabled family seating – ie. two rows from the top of the soak zone. Also, if you can get a seat in front of the shallow run-out there will be less chance of getting wet and more chance of getting awesome Shamu pictures! Choose an aisle seat for a quick escape in case there is more water involved than expected. And remember to arrive to the show at least 45 minutes early to grab these seats!
There are just two things to keep in mind when choosing these seats. First: if you sit here, remember that there is still a chance you will get wet. So if you know you want to remain completely dry, please don’t sit here, and if you do, remember I warned you! Second: if more than one larger whale is participating in the wetting of the audience at the end of the show you should probably move before they get your section!
5. You can dive for oysters and pearls!
At SeaWorld you get the unique opportunity to choose and collect a pearl from an oyster! An Oyster Diver will help you pick out the most perfect pearl to bring home with you – the trick is to pick the ugliest oyster out of the cluster, as these are rumored to house the most beautiful pearls.
After choosing your oyster they will perform an oyster opening ceremony – Tap three times and say opa opa oyster – you will then get to be the first person to ever touch the pearl that the oyster has created. This is my favorite thing to participate in and bring home from SeaWorld.
Tip: If you don’t like any of the pearl cages or settings at the gift shop, bring your pearl home and order one on Amazon or Etsy. Often these sites have a lot of options and are a little less expensive.
6. Find the hidden aquarium!
One of my favorite aquariums, Jewels of the Sea, seems to be hidden from most guests. Finding it is easy, but only if you know exactly where it is! Simple enough, right? The easiest way to get to it is to enter through a gift shop. Head to Journey to Atlantis and find the shop called The Golden Seahorse. Once inside walk straight to the back and you will find yourself in the Jewels of the Sea aquarium.
It doesn’t look like much at first but take your time to look above, below, and around you. If you are standing in the middle of the room you will notice that the floor and ceiling have transformed into aquariums that house some very intriguing creatures. My favorite things to photograph are the jellyfish!
7. The street shows
At SeaWorld there are two different areas where you can catch a street show. The waterfront; a boardwalk-esque area with gift shops and restaurants (Note: The shows on the waterfront change seasonally). Meanwhile near Mango Joe’s and Shamu Stadium you can catch a show that features a drumline on stilts and some stunters. If you happen to be in either of these two areas and see a crowd gathering or hear the beat of a drum, drop by and enjoy the show!
8. The fountain show on the lagoon
Occasionally throughout the day you can catch a show on the lagoon. There is music and fountains that dance along. My favorite place to catch this show is sitting in the outside eating area of the Spice Mill Grill (this is also my favorite place to grab lunch when I visit the park). You can see this show from the waterfront as well as anywhere around the lagoon. The best places, besides the Spice Mill, are near Shamu Stadium – anywhere you can see the flamingo boats would be perfect.
Tip: If it is windy, try to watch the show from a spot far back enough that you won’t end up with a face full of water.
9. You can feed the stingrays, sea lions, and sharks
Since there have been some changes to the procedures of the dolphin feeding at SeaWorld, it really isn’t worth the money anymore. To enter the dolphin feeding area you must purchase a tray of fish and at $7 per tray it can get expensive.
The good news is that there are three other animal feedings that are even more fun! Unlike the dolphin feeding, there are no time limits on your stay at these animal exhibits, so if you run out of food you are more than welcome to stay and hang out with your new friends. The pricing for each of these animal feedings does change seasonally. I would make a note on my map where each animal exhibit is located and make your way over when you happen to be in the area. My favorite of the three to feed are the stingrays – this is by far the most interactive feeding because you also get to pet them!
Tip: Be aware of the birds around you. They have no issue with stealing the fish whether it’s in your tray or in your hand. These are wild birds that have learned they can sometimes score a fish from an unsuspecting person.
10. See the best pre-show of any Orlando parks
Ok, so not only is ‘Clyde and Seamore: Take Pirate Island’ my absolute favorite show to see at SeaWorld, it also has the most entertaining pre-show around (at least in my opinion). Arrive about 30-45 minutes early for the show and get a good seat. 10 minutes before the show a pirate mime will come out for your entertainment. The best part about the mime is that he interacts with the guests that are straggling into the stadium and will make you chuckle while you wait for the show to begin.
BONUS: Animal Interactions and up-close tours
There are so many opportunities available at SeaWorld to be up-close to your favorite animals. You can be even more immersed into the worlds of these animals at SeaWorld with an exclusive animal interaction or an up-close tour. Each animal interaction and tour is relatively reasonably priced, and it is guaranteed that you will have an amazing time! Not to mention that you will meet some of the most inspiring and motivated staff members that take part in the care of the animals.