Updated: May 21, 2015
San Diego Seaworld:SeaWorld in San Diego, California is a wonderful theme/adventure park that is perfect for those of us with families. There are lots of fun activities to do for kids with animal shows, rides, and attractions. All the animal shows (killer whales/orcas, dolphins, pets, sea lions, etc) have specified times that they are shown each day. See the section below on show times and how to find out the schedule online. One of the tricky parts of visiting SeaWorld Adventure Park is that you should try to plan out a schedule ahead of time in order to see the most shows within the time you will be at the park. Don't forget to leave some time for the rides or other attractions and play areas as well as lunch or dinner. The Shamu Believe orca show is something everyone should see at least once. Kids will like watching the huge killer whales leap from the water and splash the audience. The dolphins are another all-time favorite show with acrobatic leaps and speedy turns. The shows are spaced out with enough time to walk to the next showing if you plan accordingly.
We highly recommend visiting the official website for SeaWorld of San Diego HERE before you leave on your vacation. Get an idea of the layout of the park, review a timetable for the schedule of shows and where they are located in the park, and then decide on a tentative schedule you want your family to try and adhere to. The shows at SeaWorld start every hour or 2 and last for roughly 45 minutes to an hour. A good itinerary to stick to is: see 1 show before lunch, grab some lunch, then see another show or 2 and ride some of the rides or visit the attractions. Weather in San Diego is usually pretty good year round, but I have been trapped in the park when sudden rain started to fall in October, so be prepared on days where it may shower on you. Crowds can get pretty big in the summer months or during spring break so going in the off-season (early October through March) is a good idea if you can swing it. Down below we provide driving directions to SeaWorld along with maps of it's location.
Park Directions - Location:San Diego SeaWorld is located just north of the Airport and downtown San Diego right off of I-5. You take the Sea World Drive exit from I-5 and go west towards the park. It's about 1 mile from the freeway exit and you can't miss the entrance. If you are approaching from I-8, get on the I-5 going north and then exit on SeaWorld Dr. Follow SeaWorld drive to the park entrance. A general map of Seaworld's location in San Diego is listed below.
City trolley and buses have routes and schedules that take passengers out to SeaWorld. Check with your hotel once you have checked in. Also, many of the local hotels and motels around the Mission Bay and SeaWorld area provide complimentary shuttle rides to SeaWorld. That's the easiest way to go since you can avoid having to park your car for the $10 fee. If you are going to get a detailed driving map from Yahoo or Google, the address for SeaWorld of California is 500 SeaWorld Drive, San Diego, CA 92109. The main phone number for Seaworld in San Diego, CA is 800-25-SHAMU.
Seaworld Hours - Maps:The park hours and show schedules change with the seasons and months of the year. The shorter winter months call for 10AM opening and 5 PM closing times while the peak summer months have SeaWorld opening at 9AM and not closing until 11PM. You can view the current schedule HERE. On this page you can pull up any day on the calendar and find out show times so that you can coordinate your schedule throughout the day to maximize your viewing hours. There is an excellent interactive SeaWorld park map listed HERE with the ability to scroll and zoom into any area of the park to get a closer look. Find the location of restaurants, shows, rides, and attractions before you actually enter the park. It's a good idea to print out the show schedule for the day(s) you will be visiting SeaWorld and take a look at a map of the park so you can get an idea if you can get to the next show in time. The park is large enough you are not going to be able to walk across it in 5 minutes. Give yourself plenty of time to go from one show or attraction to the next.
Rides, Shows and Attractions:SeaWorld Adventure Park will surely entertain you so be prepared for rides, shows, attractions, and special events.
SeaWorld Rides - require that guests be over 42" tall to be on them. For kids under 56", they must be accompanied by an adult on SeaWorld Skytower.
- Journey to Atlantis - this water coaster ride is fun in the sun with some serious drops and plunges
- Shipwreck Rapids - go down river rapids in a "raft like inner tube" on this 5 minute journey
- Seaworld Skyride - 6 minute roundtrip ride across Mission Bay
- Wild Arctic - a motion based simulated jet helicopter ride with the feeling of real bumps and jumps
- SeaWorld Skytower - Go up more than 256 feet for an incredible view of the park and surrounding area
SeaWorld Shows - there are 6 shows to choose from and times vary on month and day.
- Believe - Shamu Show: incredible killer whale show that will show off the intelligence and acrobatic ability of these mammals
- Dolphin Discovery - one of the funnest shows to watch with bottlenose dolphins and pilot whales leaping from the water to extreme heights. You may get wet in the first 10 rows
- Clyde and Seamore's Risky Rescue - a comedy of sorts with sea lions
- Pet's Rule - a more down home feel with dogs, cats, birds, and a potbellied pig
- R.L. Stine's Haunted Lighthouse - a cool new 4-D movie based around a haunted house
- Cirque de la Mer (Summer Show) - shown from Memorial Day through Labor Day, this show features acrobatics and music
SeaWorld Attractions - there are 11 to choose from.
- Rocky Point Preserve - learn about bottlenose dolphins and sea otters
- Wild Arctic - see polar bears, beluga whales, walruses, arctic foxes and seals
- Shark Encounter - walk through a tube inside a shark tank
- Forbidden Reef - touch and feed California bat rays
- Manatee Rescue - underwater viewing area for manatees
- Shamu's Happy Harbor - play area for kids with structures and nets
- Coco Loco Arcade and Games - video games, skeeball, win prizes
- California Tide Pool - touch starfish, sea urchins and hermit crabs
- Freshwater Aquarium - see four-eyed fish, electric eel and freshwater stingrays
- Aquarium de la Mer - lionfish, swell sharks and moon jellyfish
- World of the Sea Aquarium - tropical warm water fish
Discount Seaworld Tickets and San Diego SeaWorld Coupons:Tickets to SeaWorld Adventure park are not cheap, adults and kids 10+ are $73 and kids ages 3 to 9 are $65. You are looking at over $200 for a family of 4 and that is not including food or souvenirs. One of the nice features of the official website (listed above) is that you can print your tickets right online after you purchase them and not have to wait in lines at the entrance when you go. BEST DISCOUNT - Buy online and save $20 per adult ticket and up to $12 per child. As for discount tickets to Seaworld in San Diego, there is good news on reduced rates. The biggest coupon we know of is your Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards (frequent flyer) card which will save you 20% off a one-day admission ticket for up to 4 admissions per card. If you are not a member of Rapid Rewards, then perhaps you can get a discount at Costco. I recently saw a Souther California City Pass that was discounted which covers Disneyland, SeaWorld, the San Diego Zoo, etc. Great deal if you plan on seeing all those places. For a coupon to SeaWorld you can print out online go HERE. There are other promotion codes and discount codes you may read about online or in your travel section of the newspaper. When you order tickets online, there is a spot to put in your promotional discount code to get your savings. Some hotels offer room rates that include a ticket to SeaWorld, not bad if you can find a spot you like.
Hotels Near Seaworld in San Diego:Ideally you want to stay near SeaWorld when visiting San Diego if you plan on spending the day at the park. There are dozens of hotels within a mile or so of SeaWorld California so don't be pressured to take the first one you find. Look around and review our list below to try and find the best fit for your family. Most rates will be $100+/night but each hotel offers different amenities. Also, be sure to check with the hotel to see if they offer a free or complimentary shuttle back and forth to SeaWorld. It will save you at least 1 day of having to have a rental car ($40 or so).
- Hyatt Regency Islandia - 1441 Quivira Road, San Diego, CA, USA 92109 . Just a little mover 1/2 mile from Seaworld, Phone # (619)224-1234, Website located HERE
- Holiday Inn Express San Diego-Sea World - 3950 Jupiter St, San Diego, CA 92110. 3/4 miles from Seaworld. Phone # (619)226-8000, Website located HERE
- Paradise Point Resort & Spa - 1404 Vacation Road, San Diego, CA 92109. Phone number is (858)274-4630. 1 mile from Seaworld entrance. Reserve online HERE
- Ramada Limited SeaWorld - 3747 Midway Drive, San Diego, CA 92110. Located 1 mile from Seaworld. Phone # (619)225-1295, Website located HERE
- Bahia Resort Hotel - 998 West Mission Bay Drive, San Diego, CA 92109. Just over mile from Seaworld Adventure Park in San Diego. Phone # (800)576-4229, Website located HERE