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When planning a family vacation it’s nice to consider some exciting things to do. You may be concerned, however, about the energy level or interest of different members of your group. Not everyone is interested in adventurous activities, so it’s nice to know of at least one place that family members of different generations can all enjoy!
You especially want activities that grandparents and young children can both enjoy which will also help them bond.
After visiting theme parks around the country, I can say with a fair amount of certainty that SeaWorld is the best theme park for grandparents!
And here are 5 reasons why.
1. Incredible Animals
The focus of SeaWorld’s main attractions, animal demonstrations, has shifted in recent years from acrobatics to conservation and education. In addition to some tricks, the trainers on stage also talk about their animal’s life in the wild, how they were found and cared for by SeaWorld, and how SeaWorld is using experience with them to learn and help other animals in the ocean.
Despite the difference in themes people from all generations can relate to the familiarity and awe of seeing majestic creatures up close and personal. It’s fun to compare and contrast their experience when someone else saw a different sort of animal show years ago!
Waiting for a demonstration to start or walking around after it’s over is a great opportunity to bond over the incredible animals, even when it feels like there’s not much else you have in common with a 4-year-old.
2. Playgrounds with Lots of Seating
Let’s face it: children want to run, adults would (probably) rather sit. SeaWorld was designed with this multi-generational mindset.
There are many small play places, splash pads, and underwater petting zoos around the park with plenty of seating and shade-offering trees so anyone inclined to relax can do so while still watching the kids! Perfect.
While we’re on the topic of the play spaces, I also have to mention that they are the best I think I’ve ever seen from a theme park. Children of all ages, heights, and abilities will have fun climbing long nets, bouncing on a giant ground balloon thingy, running between dangling foam punching bags, etc. It’s seriously awesome.
3. Sit-Down Rides
SeaWorld isn’t known for it’s thrill rides, but it does still feature a handful of fun rides. Many are bench-style and not too crazy, so kids and grandparents could both sit comfortably and enjoy riding together!
Our favorite was the Skytower. The Skytower is a tall tower with two rows of comfortable seats in the shape of a circle. The circular passenger compartment slowly rotates as it rises then falls, giving riders a 360-degree view of the entire park and surrounding area (including the Pacific Ocean!).
It was gorgeous, free, has a short wait, and is a nice, comfortable break from the sun and walking of the rest of the park!
4. Smaller and Less Crowded
SeaWorld is a smaller theme park than most others in Southern California, so it’s easier to navigate on foot. Even if someone in your party does get tired from walking, the main attractions are sit down shows where you can easily regain your energy!
Because it caters to such a niche crowd (ocean animal lovers) SeaWorld tends to be less crowded than other theme parks. If someone in your party uses a cane, walker, wheelchair, or scooter this is definitely the best place to move around without stepping on someone else’s toes!
5. Nostalgic Animal Show Entertainment
Since the main attractions at SeaWorld are the animal shows, the 1000+ seat outdoor arenas fill up early before each show. Instead of making crowds sit around for 30 minutes waiting for the fun to begin, SeaWorld has trained entertainers to keep the crowd alive in a pre-show.
The dolphin demonstration featured a pre-show musician who led the crows in singing nostalgic songs together, the orca demonstration featured a fun true or false game, and the sea lion/ seal show featured a comedic dancer who interpreted some of the most classic scenes from decades of popular movies.
Older generations will recognize the pre-show songs and younger audiences will appreciate the humor- even if they have no idea where it originally comes from!
What We Loved About SeaWorld:
Grandpa (60+): The sea lion/ seal pre-show entertainment. The dancer was really funny with great comedic timing. I was laughing the whole time!
Grandma (60+): I loved the dolphin demonstration and also riding the Skytower. The views were beautiful and it was nice to sit down with everyone and take pictures. We expected to pay extra for that ride, and it was a nice surprise that it was included!
Mom (31): My favorite part of the day was learning about aquatic animals during the demonstrations. I have always loved orcas so it was great to see these whales in person, but the show itself was kind of boring to me. I think the dolphin show was better, due to the incredible energy they had.
Dad (34): All of the animal demonstrations. We had great seats and it was awesome to see such different animals all on the same day.
Son (5): The playground! It was so fun to climb on the giant net.
* Entrance to SeaWorld San Diego was provided in exchange for promotional consideration. All opinions are my own. *
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