Sunday, July 23, 2017

SeaWorld San Antonio showcases animal experiences and water play

In addition to thrill rides covered in a recent post, SeaWorld San Antonio offers multiple opportunities for close encounters with a variety of animals.
Entrance to SeaWorld San Antonio
Discovery Point

A highlight of our day spent at the park was visiting Discovery Point where an expansive 600,000-gallon lagoon (twice the size of the previous dolphin habitat) is home to a pod of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins. You can watch them swim and play from sandy shores of the lagoon or see dolphins in a new way at the park’s first underwater viewing area, opened last year. Not only does the underground viewing spot provide a different look at the activities of these awesome creatures, it’s also a fine place to get out of the hot summer sun Texas for awhile.
The underwater viewing area is great for watching dolphins at play.
Want to come nose-to-nose with SeaWorld’s stars? Book a swim with dolphins, belugas, or sea lions in advance. Discovery Point is the only place in Texas where you can actually get in the water and swim with these animals that inhabit our seas. It’s a unique experience where you’ll get to interact with the animals through touch, feeding, and hand gestures.

Discovery Point also includes Explorer’s Reef, home to more than 350 species of fish, invertebrates, and amphibians as well as a living Caribbean coral reef grown almost entirely by SeaWorld San Antonio’s Aquarium Department. Learn about the importance of coral reefs in the ocean’s ecosystem.
Splash into Aquatica

Purchase a combo ticket for SeaWorld and the adjacent water park called Aquatica, and you’ll get the best of an active water park and beach activities including a splash pad for little tykes . Have a cool time imagining you’re at the beach--kiddos building sand castles, and everyone romping in crashing surf in the wave pool. On a hot Texas summer day, there’s no better place to be than getting drenched  on water rides that go from serene to extreme. Add to that the opportunity to touch sting rays, see tropical birds, or just relax awhile.
New whale calf and other animals

Dine with Shamu gives guests a close-up look at how orcas are trained.
Who doesn’t love a baby? SeaWorld guests can observe the whale calf, born on April 19, 2017 to Takara, the 25-year-old matriarch of the park’s orca pod. This is special because Takara’s calf will be the last killer whale birth at a SeaWorld park. It’s also the last chance for researchers to study orca development in ways that can’t be done in the wild. The knowledge gained will benefit wild whales as well as those at SeaWorld.
One of the best opportunities to see the calf is during Dine with Shamu, an additional activity that provides guests with a generous barbeque buffet right next to the training pool for the orcas. Trainers wander among the diners answering questions and then demonstrate some of their techniques for teaching specific behaviors to the whales. It’s a great close-up view of these magnificent animals performing for a small group of people.

Orcas put on a thrilling show which guests enjoy after dining
on a generous barbeque buffet.
And there’s more: SeaWorld is home to many beautiful birds including flamingos, penguins, and an array of exotic birds. Alligator Alley provides an opportunity to feed and learn about American alligators and red-eared slider turtles. Don’t overlook the Animal Connections Conservation Center where you’ll see pythons, birds, and other animals.
Flamingoes are favorites among many bird varieties at SeaWorld.
In addition to allowing visitors to enjoy and learn about a variety of animals, visitors should know that SeaWorld rescues and rehabilitates marine and terrestrial animals that are ill, injured, orphaned, or abandoned, with the goal of returning them to the wild. The park is proud of its leadership efforts in animal welfare, training, and veterinary care of one of the largest zoological collections in the world.

For our granddaughter—and us—the day spent at SeaWorld was fun and filled with special memories we all cherish.
Photos by Larry and Beverly Burmeier

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