It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at SeaWorld. Everywhere you turn there are Christmas trees, snowmen and lots and lots of lights! On a magical Friday evening, we surprised K with a trip to SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration.
While SeaWorld used to be a regular spot for us, we had passes when K was two, it’s been a while since we’ve back, so on the way there were a lot of questions about what we would see. We told our animal lover there would be animals, and she immediately wanted to see giraffes (oopse!). So we explained that we would see water animals, and she replied, “Like hippos?” Ha! No hippos. “How about alligators and flamingos.” Well maybe… Finally we were able to explain that we would see underwater animals, and she settled on dolphins. (Whew!)
The evening began with hot coco and cookies overlooking the lighting of the Sea of Trees. This breathtaking seasonal event features more than 100 trees floating in the lagoon feature more than 159,000 LEDs perfectly choreographed to Christmas music. It is really beautiful. Don’t believe me, check out my short video.
Following the dancing lights, SeaWorld treated our kids to a one-on-one meeting with a few of its residents – a sloth, a parrot and a sea lion, named Clyde. K was thrilled and a little terrified all at the same time. But K has a one track mind, and all she wanted to do was see the dolphins.
Unfortunately for her, mom had other plans first. Off we went to visit Santa at the North Pole. During the holidays, the Wild Arctic ride is transformed into the Polar Express Experience where riders are transported to the North Pole aboard the Polar Express while enjoying s snip from the movie. Even though we were unable to ride the train (due to height requirements), K was convinced we were at the North Pole. She was so confused she kept asking over and over if we were in Florida and if we would be going back to the movie room to get back to Florida, it was adorable. After visiting Santa and taking an impossibly good family photo with the big guy, we ultimately had to tell her that the ramp we walked down took us back to Florida. (Apparently, that logic made sense to her.)
Next we stopped by Shamu’s Happy Harbor. The goal was to ride the Holly Jolly Railway, but we spied a few other rides that looked like fun along the way. And here mom learned a VERY important lesson. *** Watch any and all rides before putting your child onboard, even kiddie rides. *** At first glance, I thought Ocean Commotion was a tame ride that just went back and forth – it is in the kiddie area after all… So we let K hop on board without a second thought. Then the ride began! OOPSE! Smiles gave way to a petrified look, so mom had the ride operator shut it down… Of course, the moment the ride was over she begged to do it again! And so she did. The video is from her second go around. As you can see, she was happy as can be, but I would have never put her on the ride if I had watched it first. Oh well, it worked out and she was a happy girl.
After the rides (yes, the Christmas train was a hit too), she started back up with her requests to see the dolphins. Even vetoing mom’s attempt to see the Shamu show! So off we went in search of the dolphins. After satisfying her dolphin search with two dolphin pools, we visited sharks, penguins, mantas and yes even flamingos.
Christmas at SeaWorld is celebrated with seven seasonal shows:
- O Wondrous Night
- Sea of Trees
- Shamu Christmas – Miracles
- A Sesame Street Christmas
- Clyde and Seamore’s Countdown to Christmas
- Winter Wonderland on Ice
- Holiday Reflections: Fireworks and Fountain Finale
In addition to the Christmas decor and shows, visitors can even have dinner with Santa and the Mrs. at Santa’s Fireside Feast. (Next time, that will be on our to do list.)
Christmas at SeaWorld is a joyful event that runs Fridays through Sundays, November 25 to December 11 from 5:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. and then every night, December 16 to 31 from 5:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. The best way to experience this event is with a Kids Free card – one kid (ages 3-9) gets in free with a paying adult ($81.99). The Kids Free card is also eligible for a second day free, so you can enjoy the fun a second time before the end of 2011.
Disclosure – I was invited to attend a media event, however, all thoughts and opinions are my own.