An end-of-summer family trip to San Diego: the walrus is gross but cool

We’re in San Diego this weekend, soaking up the last bits of Indian summer here in California. While this vacation has been fantastic so far (today), I’m still a little nervous about the next couple of days because of our near-disastrous Seattle weekend in August. However, being the intrepid traveler that I am, I put my therapist on high alert/speed-dial and threw caution to the wind…and here we are, having a great time.

We spent several hours at Sea World today, so I’ve got some tips and thoughts to share. They are totally opinionated as usual, but they also contain some factual information.

October is a great time to visit

First of all, October is “Kids Free San Diego” month. Awesome! So while adult tickets to Sea World are pricey ($80!), our kids were totally free.

The park was not crowded at all today. Granted, we were there on a random Thursday, but I suspect that crowds are much lighter every day at this time of year.

It is REALLY expensive

Seriously, know this. Several people mentioned this to us before we went, but we didn’t really heed their warnings. (I think it must be like having kids – people will tell you everything they think you should know, in order to prepare/scare you, but since you have no idea what it’s really like, you just have to experience it for yourself. And then once you have a kid, you wonder why no one told you what to expect.)

Anyway, prices are out-of-control expensive. We spent $22 for 2 lemonades!! After that, we bribed our kids with the promise of sushi for dinner, so we didn’t buy anything else at the park. (I know, I know, eating sushi after visiting Sea World seems very wrong. We did it anyway.)

The Animal Encounters are amazing

We all agreed that this was the best part of the day. We saw penguins, sharks, polar bears, beluga whales, sea lions, and dolphins…really up close.

belugas at sea world

Bird and Bear and a Beluga

The bat ray feeding zone was our ultimate favorite. We bought (really expensive) cartons of fish, and got to stick our hands in the water to feed the bat rays. The rays would swim up and kind of suction the fish out of our hands. They were silky smooth to the touch, and so beautiful to watch as they glided by.

Bird and a Bat Ray

Bird and a Bat Ray

The shows weren’t great

Last time I went to Sea World, I remember being wowed by the shows. This time, not so much. They were kinda boring. Also they took up a REALLY LONG TIME because you have to go early if you want to get any kind of a good seat.

So I would recommend choosing one show, then bailing on the rest. We all wish we had spent more time at the Animal Encounters instead.

The walrus is gross but cool

Have you ever seen a walrus eat? You don’t want to.


The rides aren’t worth the wait

The roller coasters were a little janky. Plus we had to wait forever. Just be forewarned.


It’s fun. We had a wonderful time.



  1. Love the pic of kids and beluga – one of my favorite sea animals. I got to swim w/them at Atlanta aquarium.
    looks like a lot of fun! No idea sea world had roller coasters. I wonder if that’s relatively new. Kinda like marine world africa usa/six flags.

  2. I’m so glad you and your family had a good time!!

  3. Next time your at a “overpriced for everything park” ask for ice water at the counter (anywhere that has a soda fountain) then pour in a lemonade mix packet. We did just that at Disney Orlando last week and saved a ton of mulah! Spent it all on deserts but, hey, otherwise…


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