SeaWorld Orlando Florida is one of three SeaWorld marine sea life theme parks (or adventure parks as they are now called) in the US, the others being in San Diego, California and San Antonio, Texas. The SeaWorld park at Aurora, Ohio has been sold to Six Flags.
SeaWorld Orlando opened in 1973 just off International Drive, combining a marine wildlife park with very entertaining shows and a few thrill rides. It can easily provide a full days fun and if you have a multi-day pass, then it is well worth a return visit.
The new Manta roller coaster ride opened on May 22, 2009.
The park is spread over around 200 acres and is effectively split in two by a large lagoon. Most of the attractions are in one area by the main entrance, with the Shamu Stadium® and Happy Harbor, Atlantis Bayside Stadium where the water ski shows are performed and Wild Arctic® on the other side of the lagoon.
The park never seems overcrowded and as you walk around, music is piped out of the lush vegetation alongside the pathways which adds to the relaxing atmosphere.
The Waterfront at SeaWorld
The latest development at SeaWorld Orlando is a 5 acre Mediterranean styled seaport area called The Waterfront at SeaWorld containing a mixture of shops and restaurants. Look out for the street performers, they put on a very fun show. In fact SeaWorld do very well at entertaining their guests, with special pre-show entertainment at most of the main shows to keep you amused while you sit and wait for the show to start.
Shamu Happy Harbor
The Shamu Happy Harbor near the Shamu Stadium is a just-for-kids giant adventure playground where you can allow them to let off steam if they begin to get bored with the rest of the park.
There are a number of marine animal themed exhibits including:
Here you are transported on a 120 ft moving walkway past an Antarctic landscape containing around 200 penguins including king, gentoo, rockhopper and chinstrap. The temperature is kept just below freezing at 30 degrees and over 6000 lbs of snow falls every day.
Pacific Point Preserve
Recreates the rugged Pacific coastline where you can watch California sea lions and harbour seals and see them being fed.
Manatees, the Last Generation
The manatee (or sea cow) is native to the Florida waters and has suffered as a result of damage to its environment and accidents with speed boats. SeaWorld Orlando is proud of its involvement with the rescuing and care for manatees.
SeaWorld Orlando boasts the world's largest underwater acrylic tunnel which allows you to pass through a massive aquarium containing many large sharks including hammerheads. Other aquariums contain barracuda, venomous lion fish and moray eels.
Stingray Lagoon & Turtle Point
At the Stingray Lagoon you can feed and touch the stingrays as they glide around a shallow lagoon. Nearby you will find a pool containing large leatherback sea turtles.
The Clydesdale Hamlet was home to the world famous Budweiser Clydesdale shire horses but with the sell-off of the Anhauser-Busch theme parks, the horses are being moved back to Budweiser themselves.
Pick up a combined map and entertainment guide when you first enter the park so you can plan out your day and fit meal breaks and rides etc. around the show times.