Go Behind the Scenes of New Attractions at SeaWorld & Family Four Pack Tickets Giveaway!
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Go Behind the Scenes of New Attractions at SeaWorld & Family Four Pack Tickets Giveaway!

One of the advantages of living in San Diego is that we get to visit SeaWorld often without having to worry about travel or lodging costs. But none of our previous visits can be compared with the most recent one we had together with the amazing folks from The Moms and some of my fellow bloggers. It is the most exciting, most unforgettable, and most special of all! Not only were we offered the opportunity to experience most of the new attractions opening at SeaWorld San Diego this summer, but we also had fun, close-up encounters with some of SeaWorld's adorable animal ambassadors!

Our exclusive behind the scenes tour of SeaWorld started at the all new Orca Encounter, which features a three-story, first-of-its-kind infinity screen and a rugged coastline backdrop complete with towering pines and picturesque waterfalls. Unlike the theatrical shows that SeaWorld visitors are familiar with, Orca Encounter combines a live orca presentation with a documentary-style digital presentation. You can learn a lot about what killer whales do in the wild on the 140-foot-wide screen while observing their natural behaviors up close.

I was surprised to learn that the whales can actually see what's playing on the screen and make relevant responses.

See how beautiful the whales blend in their digital environment? I have to admit that my mind got a bit too busy trying to follow the whales in the water and to fully process all the information provided by the narrator at the same time. I'd definitely want to watch the presentation again, in order to gain better knowledge about these amazing creatures. Orca Encounter is now only available at SeaWorld San Diego. SeaWorld parks in Orlando and San Antonio will move to this new presentation by 2019.

Another new addition to SeaWorld San Diego this summer is the Ocean Explorer, which consists of five fun-filled rides and three unique animal encounters.

The signature ride of the newly opened section of the park is Submarine Quest, featuring seven mini submarines, each with its own nautical-themed name and interactive touch screens using “smart play” technology. Young adventurers may follow on-screen prompts to complete their mission of deep sea exploration, and collect data to help some of the ocean’s most mysterious creatures. I was very much impressed by how well the on-screen images are timed to match the physical decorations alongside the rails for the ride.

My personal favorite inside the Ocean Explorer has to be Tentacle Twirl, a wave swinger ride featuring flying chairs that are suspended from the tentacles of a colorful giant jelly. The ride is very thrilling and invigorating, perfect for adults and older kids!

The other three rides include OctaRock, a double-sided happy swing with acceleration and air time; Sea Dragon Drop, a family free-fall tower; and Aqua Scout, a jump around mini submarine ride that is gentle enough for younger children.

Instead of the traditional window displays, the three specially designed aquariums inside Ocean Explorer offer a more immersive and interactive experience. Be prepared to have a giant Pacific octopus crawling right over your head, or get up close with a giant Japanese spider crab and California moray eels. Oh, keep an eye out for kids crawling around too!

After checking out the technologically advanced new attractions, we reserved some time for those keepers like the amusing Sea Lions Live and the magnificent Dolphin Days.

The sea lions never fail to impress us with their great sense of humor.

And of course, no sea lion's show is complete without the mischievous sea otter messing things up.

I've watched various versions of dolphin shows at SeaWorld over the years, but these intelligent sea creatures are still able to surprise me each time with cool acrobatic tricks, incredible physical agility, and adorable interaction with their trainers as well as the audience.

This time, I was awed by the sheer number of dolphins performing at the same time!

While all the shows and rides were exhilarating, I have yet to tell you my favorite part of the day - lunchtime - not just because of the delicious food being served, but also because of the unusual opportunity to meet and greet with several precious animals, including a handsome eagle owl, a carefree sloth, a friendly porcupine, a cute beaver busy chewing frozen coconut water, and a curious penguin fearlessly exploring the world around it.
Our tour was concluded with a sweet intimate encounter with ... dolphins. Not only did we get to touch and feed a dolphin, but we also learned from the trainer a few hand signals she used to communicate with the dolphin, who spun, waved, splashed, and even laughed in response. My dream of petting a dolphin finally came true :)

What I didn't know before about SeaWorld San Diego is that they run a wonderful rescue program which, on average, comes to the aid of 300-400 marine animals every year (sea lions, seals, dolphins, whales, sea turtles and sea birds). To date, SeaWorld San Diego has rescued more than 17,000 animals over the history of the park, while all the SeaWorld parks have rescued more than 30,000 animals in the last 50 years. With the goal of medically rehabilitating ill, injured and orphaned animals and returning them to the wild, the SeaWorld Rescue Team also helps resource managers with agencies like the National Marine Fisheries Service better understand the health of the ocean ecosystem. Every visitor to the park helps fund one of the most robust rescue programs in the world!

Ready for a fun visit to SeaWorld this summer? Well, I have the pleasure of giving away a family four pack of tickets to SeaWorld! To enter, simply complete the entries below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: Many thanks to SeaWorld San Diego & The Moms for providing tickets, meals and souvenirs for our visit. All views and opinions expressed are my own.

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