If you love animals...
Make time for feeding times: Meal time is the best time to meet some bat rays and sea lions who you can even feed by hand at Pacific Point and Manta—but only at designated times throughout the day. Stop by in the morning to check the day's schedule, then give yourself some extra time to get a great spot right at the water's edge.
Meet an animal trainer in person: It's hard to ask animal trainers about their job when they're focused on getting our killer whales ready for a show. But here's something most guests don't know. Our Dine With Shamu programs are the only time guests get back stage access to our killer whale habitat, where whales and their trainers share an inside look at their remarkable bond and what makes it possible. Reservations are required as seating is limited.
See what goes on behind the scenes: Tours like our Animal Spotlight or Penguins Up-Close aren't listed on the park map, so they're easy to miss out on once you're here. An insider's tip? Book online ahead of time, or stop by the Reservation Center just inside the front gate.
If you're bringing young kids...
Bring a disposable waterproof camera: There's wet, and there's Shamu wet. If you're in the Soak Zone at Shamu stadium, you'll have a lot more fun watching kids' reactions if you don't have to watch out for an expensive camera. A little tip for parents? Pack a poncho—or pick one up at the gift shop. It's a great way to keep yourself and a towel or two dry, and still get in on the fun.
Sesame Street Bay of Play: Watch your kids play at Sesame Streets Bay of Play. The three new rides require children under 48 inches to be accompanied by a Supervising Companion (a Supervising Companion is a person over 14 years of age). Hand held infants may not ride these rides. Some of the Play Area elements have no height restrictions, but the ones that do vary according to the individual characteristics of that element.
Make an autograph book: Put together an autograph book with kids ahead of time, then catch the Shamu and Crew characters from 9 a.m. to noon near the front gate.
Catch the show before the show: Take your seat for the Sea Lions Live show at least 30 minutes ahead of time. Late-comers miss out on their zany pre-show antics.
Once you've worked up an appetite...
Beat the crowd: Plan to have lunch during show performances and you'll get ahead of the crowd.
Don't skip breakfast: Start your day with a bite to eat from the Seaside Coffee and Bakery, located near the front entrance. Fresh baked goods, including cinnamon rolls, bagels, muffins, and seasonal fresh fruit, paired with an espresso or latte brewed with Starbucks coffee will get your day started right.
A few last tips from those in the know...
Choose your seats wisely: You will get drenched if you sit in the front seat of Journey to Atlantis—and we mean drenched.
Beat the heat: Temperatures can get quite high—especially in the middle of the day. Plan to take in these "cool places" when the thermometer rises: Wild Arctic, Penguin Encounter, Turtle Reef, Shark Encounter or any one of three Aquariums.
Remember the kid in you: Don't be surprised if you find yourself choked up in the presence of Shamu. Or your arms covered with goose bumps in 85° weather as your hand touches a dolphin. There's an incredible connection between humans and animals, one we celebrate here every day. Take a few deep breaths and drink in the feeling that moves through you, and you'll carry that feeling home.
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