We’ve been visiting SeaWorld San Antonio ever since my daughter was old enough to run around in sneakers. As she’s aged, now into her tween years, we’ve been able to ditch most of the “extras” that moms tend to pack during a park visit. But if it’s one thing I’ve learned, there are always tips for visiting SeaWorld San Antonio with kids. I’m going to share my top tips with you today.
So whether it’s your first visit or your tenth, I hope you will find a nugget of information in here that will help make your trip memorable! A huge thanks to SeaWorld San Antonio for sponsoring my most recent trip – it’s been a long-standing relationship I’ve enjoyed immensely.
Tips for Visiting SeaWorld San Antonio With Kids
Enjoy the Sesame Street Theme-ing
While many automatically think of ocean animals when SeaWorld is mentioned, this animal theme park is so much more!
MONSTERS? Yes, monsters, but the very best kind. Monsters like Elmo and Cookie Monster. Let’s not forget Bert, Ernie, Big Bird, and Abby Cadabby. Oh, I could go on, because yes, you see them all (including rare ones like Rosita) at SeaWorld San Antonio.
Even if your kids aren’t attracted to rides. Or even if they aren’t interested in animals. You can spend an entire day just enjoying all the Sesame Street fun in a special kids area called the Sesame Street Bay of Play. It’s in this area where you’ll find rides/attractions for the littlest in your group, a huge playground the likes you’ve never seen (I’ll talk more about that below), and Sesame Street characters galore!
Sometimes you’ll find the characters just roaming the area. Other times you’ll see them performing on an outdoor stage, and sometimes depending on seasonal fun, you can see them in parade complete with song and dance! Oh, and did I mention dining? There’s Rosita’s Cafe which keeps with the Sesame Street theme (but no characters inside) or a character dining experience with Elmo!
Engage in Pin Trading
Alternate Shows, Rides, and Indoor Attractions
SeaWorld San Antonio is a large park, so especially during warm Texas days you’ll want to alternate between activities that are out in the sun, under covered shade, and completely indoors. Yes, you can find all three and it’s best to look at the map and plan out your day so the sun doesn’t wear everyone out.
- Favorite indoor attractions when you need a sun break: Animal Conservation Center; Explorer’s Reef (each of these is on an opposite end of the park)
- Favorite show with covered shade: Ocean Discovery (beluga whale/dolphin/bird show)
Preschoolers Get Free Admission
Now that’s a deal that will put visiting SeaWorld San Antonio with kids on your agenda!
Take Advantage of Family Friendly Rides
Thrill seekers love visiting SeaWorld San Antonio for huge roller coasters like the Steel Eel (which drops 15 vertical stories) and the Great White (with 360 degree flips), but don’t worry if you and your family aren’t quite ready for those experiences. There are plenty of family friendly rides for kids of all ages.
For little ones, the Sesame Street Bay of Play offers so many simple rides like a Sesame Street themed carousel. But little kids can get in on the roller coaster fun too. Kids can try out the pint-sized Shamu Express, which goes around the track twice and pretty much guarantees smiles. I rode it the first time with my daughter, but after that it was a coaster she could feel confidant riding by herself.
What I love is that SeaWorld San Antonio offers so much for tweens and other kids who aren’t quite ready for the big coaster drops. Journey to Atlantis is one quick ride that is sure to get you drenched, but our favorite is the new Wave Breaker! With a backstory of having you launch off on an exciting adventure as you join the SeaWorld Rescue Team in their quest to help an animal in danger, it was FUN. There are plenty of screams and thrills on this ride, but it’s not near as adventurous as the big coasters.
With the Texas sun, this tip is one that I can’t recommend enough. Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water and often. To that end, I did discover something that helped us do just that this summer – the All Day Dining plan.
Note: There are plenty of picnic tables and benches throughout the park for you to sit and sip!
All Day Dining Plan
Yes, I want you to consider upgrading your ticket to include the all-day dining, especially during summer months. This is something you can do once you are inside the park too, so don’t worry, there is a kiosk set up as you walk towards the Bay of Play (no need to wait in the long line at the front of the park, or just inside).
All Day Dining includes food AND drink (non-alcoholic) as often as once per hour. Yes, 1x per hour you can eat and drink!
This is why I highly recommend it during the hot summer months – for the drink every hour!
- Only valid at participating restaurants
- Only good at SeaWorld. Not valid at adjoining park Aquatica unless you add that for an extra cost.
Having experienced All Day Dining firsthand this summer, I tested it out on just about all the participating restaurants and definitely have some tips on which ones to use for a quick drink versus a meal. Stay tuned for a future post on this that will save you time.
Know Where the Play Areas Are
At some point during your day, it might be a great idea to let younger kids run and roam free. There are a couple great places carved out for this that I want you to know about.
The first is an outdoor playground near Alligator Alley (right next to the alligators, near Rosita’s Cafe). What I love about this area is that it is shaded by large trees. A great spot!
The next spot of course is right in the heart of Sesame Street’s Bay of Play.
This is one of the largest play structures I’ve seen with tunnels and netting stretching three stories tall. Note: this structure is huge and you just might not be able to keep an eye on your kiddo, especially while crawling through the tunnels. I tend to want to keep an eye on my child, so I did tell her she had to check in with me every 10 minutes or so. There are chairs underneath so parents can rest in the shade (first come, first served)!
Right next to this play structure is a large Sesame Street ship. And on the other side of that ship is where your kids just might want to cool off. With water spouting in so many directions, kids will be drawn to it in the summer heat, bringing me to my next tip.
In Summer Bring Water Friendly Clothes and Shoes
Even if you aren’t visiting Aquatica next door (SeaWorld’s water park), you just might want to have the kids wear swimsuits underneath their outfits for the day (and maybe pack some water friendly shoes or flip flops). The water play area in Bay of Play is too much fun to pass up on those hot Texas days.
So be prepared – either to join in the wet fun or to tell the kids ahead of time they aren’t getting wet and playing there.
Wear Good Shoes
I would think this goes without saying, but I can’t tell you how many little kids I see walking this huge theme park in the flimsiest shoes. Visiting SeaWorld San Antonio with kids requires good shoes.
This is a park where you will get your steps in. Wear comfortable shoes with good support (and pack the flip flops in your bag).
Don’t Miss the Almost Hidden Dolphin/Shark area
You would expect that a trip to SeaWorld means sharks and dolphins, right? Well, surprisingly, I have found that many miss this very area, and it’s one of my favorites. It includes Explorer’s Reef (with sharks) and the most beautiful dolphin area around, SeaWorld Discovery Point.
Look on the map. It’s to the left as you enter the park, while everything else is completely to the right.
Enjoy Seasonal Activities
No matter the time of year, there is always something extra fun going on at the park.
Always changing and improving with outstanding entertainment, in the Spring you might find Wild Days featuring celebrities like Jack Hanna. In the summer, something we just experienced, look for special entertainment that goes well into the night. This summer had us enjoying extra Sesame Street fun with the Party Parade! So many characters, so little time! This was something I had never experienced before and the parade was incredible. There were dance parties and “IgNite” lit up the sky in a spectacular fireworks finale.
Fall brings new fun during the day and some “horrific” entertainment at night – Howl-O-Scream! Perhaps my favorite season of all is SeaWorld San Antonio at Christmas, with such delights as Candy Cane Forest. I can’t wait to see what they create this year.
Save on Parking with Free Hotel Shuttles
At last glance this summer (2018) I spotted parking prices as follows:
- General Parking: $22
- Preferred Parking: $27
That is a bit pricey and one way to avoid that extra cost is to take advantage of free hotel shuttles that are offered as part of a hotel stay.
Take Advantage of Hotel Packages
SeaWorld San Antonio has partnered with some incredible hotels and resorts to offer packages that you and your family will love.
These packages are offered year-round and are aimed at saving families like yours, time and money. It really is beneficial to book a package with an Official SeaWorld Hotel in San Antonio. You’ll discover an entire range of amenities like location, free shuttle service, complimentary continental breakfast, and more.
These packages can also give you exclusive deals on park admission, dining options, and animal experiences too. I’ve spied “Kids Stay and Play Free” packages and more. Take a look at the current package options.
During our trip this summer, we stayed at the Hilton San Antonio Hill Country, located just minutes away from the park entrance.
It was the perfect location so close to SeaWorld, but the resort was so much fun we almost didn’t want to leave!
Three pool areas caught our interest along with nightly fun. We made so many memories around a fire pit while making s’mores (the hotel sold kits and it was a popular activity).
The hotel rooms themselves were amazing. I have to say that I loved our room as it was a two-room suite (perfect for families) with two televisions (nice!) and a bathroom that one dreams about. Yes, I’m talking about two sinks, a separate room with door for the toilet, and a separate bath and shower! It was huge! Well done Hilton, well done!
I’m already dreaming of our next trip visiting SeaWorld San Antonio with kids. It’s a must for any visit to this Texas area!
More SeaWorld posts:
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Make a SeaWorld Scavenger Hunt for Kids – Tutorial
SeaWorld’s Seven Seas Food and Wine Festival
SeaWorld Discovery Point – Dolphins!
Best place to stay while visiting SeaWorld San Antonio on a Budget
SeaWorld San Antonio at Christmas