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At Seaworld, you can become mesmerized just looking at the aquariums, let alone enjoying the exciting acrobat show and thrilling rollercoaster rides! The park is beautiful and large, with plenty of open space and landscaping. The highlight for me was seeing the animals: the seals, sea dragons, and manta rays. The only imagination ride is Antartica, and the best show was Allure Call of The Ocean, a beautiful acrobatic show. The animal exhibits (most of them) are really top notch. At Pacific Point Preserve, the seals are surrounded by California-style rocks in a beautiful lagoon. They make the best noises! Visitors can buy fish to feed them, and it's fun to interact with them as they call out for food. The huge seal is wonderful, as are the tiny babies. It really inspires you to see animals up so close and in such a nice habitat. At the Stingray Lagoon, rays glide over your head. It's so great to see a whole swarm of them swim over you and enjoy their cute faces! This exhibit is gorgeous, and also features a tank with sea dragons that look like seaweed. They are amazing. At Dolphin Cove, the scenery is tropical, like the resorts on the Big Island of Hawaii! It's wonderful to stand at the top of the cove amongst the palm tree clusters and look down at the waves crashing on the black rocks. The dolphins here can ride on the waves and have a lot of fun. You can feed them at certain times. This is a very nice enclosure, though the dolphins seem crowded as they experience near-collisions as they swim around at full speed. One also wonders whether they are happy because they are covered in scars where they have ripped each other's skin with their teeth. You can see these dolphins underwater across from the Turtle Trek entrance. It's amazing how close they are to you and they look like they have smiles on their faces! At Shark Encounter, sharks of all shapes and sizes swim above you in a curved clear tunnel and there are informative plaques about sharks.
Some of the shows are exciting and some are sad. Blue Horizons, the dolphin show, feels sad because dolphins are sensitive to sound, and the speakers are turned extremely loud. The "humans" perform some acts at the end, including acrobatics and some amazing diving, which makes you kind of happy that it's not just the dolphins that have to perform! The costumes and backdrops are gorgeous. I do kind of wonder if this is very sad though to have the dolphins caught in this kind of life, unable to choose to go free. Also, are they forced to perform because they would starve otherwise?- I would prefer to see this show with just the acrobats and without dolphins. One Ocean, the whale show, isn't nice because the music is very irritating, and you feel sad to see such large animals in captivity- it feels almost unreal that this could be allowed when you see how huge the animals are. If you visit Seaworld, skip the One Ocean show. Lower attendance at this show will tell the theme park how people feel about killer whales in captivity. A killer whale at the Miami Seaquarium, Hugo, committed suicide by repeatedly bashing his head against the tank wall. Killer whales in captivity die in their teens (Hugo's mate's free mother is 85 years old, in comparison), like Sumar, the killer whale at SeaWorld San Diego that recently died at 12 years old.
Clyde and Seamore Take Pirate Island, a comedy show with seals, wasn't very interesting as the humor was dull and the actors didn't perform any amazing sword-fighting or anything. The seal and walrus did little spins at the end, and that was the only thrilling part. Skip it. Allure The Call of the Ocean is an indoor, acrobatic show that is my favorite- ballerinas dressed as jellyfish tiptoe around as acrobats do incredible leaps through hoops and across a giant trampoline up onto poles. The music is nice in this one and you really get swept up in the beauty of it. Pets Ahoy is a show with dogs, cars, and a pig. The two nighttime shows are Sea Lions Tonight, at 8pm, and Shamu Rocks, at 9pm. Allure Call of The Ocean is the best show and it is only once a day so don't miss it!Antartica is a magical imaginative ride. If your child loves imagination rides, a la Disney, they will love this one! You can choose the mild or the wild car, but the wild one is very smooth and doesn't have jerky motions so you can choose it. Here, you learn about Puck, a baby penguin and travel around Antartica with him. There are beautiful colored lights on the fake snow and ice. The exterior of this ride is also beautiful, with cliffs of ice. AVOID Wild Arctic unless you like extreme jerky motions- this hurt my whole body. You can choose to walk through it rather than go in the simulator, to spare your body. This ride also makes you dizzy. It is HORRIBLE! Also, the exhibits at the end are so depressing. How can people who love animals bear to see animals in enclosures like these? There is a gigantic walrus in an enclosure so small he can't even swim around. There are beautiful belugas in a tiny depressing air-conditioned enclosure. They will never experience fresh air. And there is a panda bear that looks so depressed in a small air-conditioned enclosure. He will never feel the wind. The two rollercoasters are the best of all the theme parks' coasters (must be 54" to ride): Manta is a real thrill, taking you so close to objects that it feels like you're going to hit them, and Kraken, also large and winding, is a smoother ride with extremely high heights! Go on these early in the day in spring and summer, before the afternoon thunderstorms close them down. Journey to Atlantis (must be 42" to ride) is a themed imaginative rollercoaster through a mermaid paradise with a vertical drop and huge splash (you will get wet) at the end- my six-year-old could not get enough of this ride! Turtletrek is a pleasant 3-D dome movie, where you see from the eyes of a newborn turtle- very cute! You stand up for this one. Beforehand, while waiting in line, you can see lovely tropical tanks with fish and turtles. And you can see manatees underwater. There is a kid's section called Shamu's Happy Harbor with a rollercoaster called Shamu Express (must be 38" to ride) that is fun. The Jazzy Jellies ride takes you up in the air like an airplane (yuck, the spinner handles stink). And there are several other small rides. The food isn't delicious, but bearable. Mango Joe's has burritoes with fresh ingredients. Lakeside Panini has fast sandwiches and salads. Wear your sneakers FOR SURE- there is a ton of walking required. Bring or rent a stroller there, for little kids. If you can, come on a weekday and not in summer, so you don't have to wait in line as much. November is a GREAT time to come- lines are short and there are dazzling Christmas decorations and flowers everywhere.If Seaworld were to have more imagination rides, street musicians playing (replacing some of the truly awful piped-in elevator music) and sea animal character greeters placed throughout the park, and no more large mammals (whales and dolphins) in captivity, it would be a world-class theme park. For now, it's usually last on people's list of theme parks to visit.
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SeaWorld is located at 7007 SeaWorld Dr, Orlando FL 32821, call (888) 800-5447. Park is open 9am-10pm daily during summer and peak times, 9-6 at other times.Cost is $82 for adults and $74 for children aged 3-9, when tickets are purchased in advance online. Right now (Aug-Dec 2013) weekday tickets for US residents are only $50!
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Overall Visitor Rating: Unrated.