Day Seven----SeaWorld

San Diego Travel Blog

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Jolene and Shamu

When you are in San Diego there are two attractions on everyone’s list; The San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld. We went to both last time, in 1987, and would have liked to do both again this year, but we decided it was best to see one of them very well instead of both half assed. So the Zoo was out, because when you get down to it, if you’ve seen one zoo you have pretty much seen them all. The Denver Zoo, back home, would just have to do. But, Denver doesn’t have Shamu, so SeaWorld was going to be it.

We got there soon after it opened and there in the courtyard as you walked in was Shamu himself to greet the kids.

Jessi and Me (Dennis' head is just visible at the top)
That has got to be the job to have, wearing a six-foot tall fur costume in the August heat and humidity of San Diego. But, Jolene thought it was neat and got went and got her Shamu hug. From there we headed to the dolphin area. It was a kind of petting area where about a million kids gathered around the perimeter of a pool, and could try to entice one of the swimming dolphins to come close enough to be touched. Jolene and Jessi both splashed the water, but I don’t think they got to touch one. But they did enjoy watching them swim by. It was pretty cool to see them that close.

Nearby it was feeding time for the sea lions. Here you were able to buy small cardboard containers of fish to drop to the sea lions below. I thought this would be very interesting and my daughters shared my excitement.

The "set" for "Pirates of the Pinniped". We liked the sea lions!
So we went and got some fish to dangle over the side. You had no trouble finding a sea lion who wanted your offering. They were well below you, so there was no way they could leap up and take it, but competition was fierce down with animals. There was no guarantee that the sea lion, who was barking at you for your fish, would be the one that got it. They didn’t fight, but if your aim was bad, or your lion was too slow or clumsy the opportunity was lost. As it turned out there were other animals that had their eye on your fish. The resident sea gulls loved fish too. And not only were they constantly looking for a dropped fish, we had the experience of having one ambitious bird swoop down, and hit our container has he passed. That knocked it onto the ground, and startled us too. We went through are fish pretty quick and then it was off to our next adventure.

We decided to sit down and watch a show next. SeaWorld always has some sort of sea lion show. In 1987 it was called “Pirates of the Pinniped” Sea lions are pinnipeds. This year they had the same show title, but the show was different enough to be fresh to me. Jessi and never seen it, and Jolene if she remembered, didn’t care. But the trainers put the animals through their paces, with plenty of sight gags, and humor. The walrus got into the act towards the end and squirted the crowd. And there were river otters that would appear at times. In the show they were “bilge rats”. It was all good fun, and we all enjoyed it.

We ate not long after that and then went to Penguin Encounter. Here you got on a moving walkway, like at the airport and it took you through the very air conditioned building to view tons of penguins. It was interesting to see the various species and in different area, but it was over pretty quick. The part that everyone commented on was the temperature. It was down right cold in there. But, as it was to keep the penguins comfortable and not us, what could we complain about. Plus after walking around in the sun for a few minutes we started to miss it.

Next it was off to the dolphin show. This one is my least favorite. The dolphins are beautiful and majestic looking, but they seem less entertaining. I guess sea lions are more pet-like, (which is probably sacrilegious to environmentalists) but their interaction with their trainers is just more fun. Even when they don’t do what they are supposed to in the show, it is funny. But the dolphins swam and jumped, and jumped and swam, and their trainers played, and then two of them did high jumps. The second one was very impressive. He was easily 15 ft out of the water, maybe as much as 25. It was hard to tell. Then it was done.

We had not seen Shamu yet. Not the real one anyway, so that is where we headed, Shamu Stadium to see the headliner. Shamu, as everyone knows is a killer whale. Yes, I know people call them orcas now, but I gave up PC for lent. I grew up calling them killer whales, so sue me. Anyway, Shamu isn’t like watching the dolphins, because he is so big. You just see so much power in what he/she does. They had him swim very fast around the perimeter of the pool, and he just churned the water everywhere. And then, of course there is the part where Shamu does the killer whale belly flop and splashes the crowd. We got seats in the upper rows of the Splash Zone, so we all got wet, but no one got soaked. It was entertaining and we had a good time.

We had about done everything. The kids got to play a little at some of the rides, and then we went up on the Sky Tower. That is essentially a tall tower with an enclosed, revolving disk around it. You get inside the disk, and it travels up the tower, slowly spinning as it goes. You get a nice 360 degree view of the park, and then down you go.

That was pretty much it for the day. Then it was back to Dennis’ to unwind a bit, and then back to the hotel for a good night's sleep. Tomorrow we would be going home.

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Jolene and Shamu
Jolene and Shamu
Jessi and Me (Dennis head is just…
Jessi and Me (Dennis' head is jus…
The set for Pirates of the Pinn…
The "set" for "Pirates of the Pin…
San Diego
photo by: Sunflower300