Sunday, October 7, 2007

Don't Sit In the Soak Zone If You Don't Want To Get Wet!

Day 2 of our vacation was a trip to Sea World. The weather was perfect: Sunny and warm, but not blistering hot (you know, like Arizona). We got there when the park opened at 10am, got our map and list of showtimes, and saw that the first show was the dolphin show, at 11am. We decided to head first to the dolphin feeding tank, which is neat because you get to see the dolphins very close up. They sometimes swim close enough to the edge that you can put your hand out and touch them, but they didn't seem to be in the mood to be touched when we were there, as they were swimming around the tank a few feet from the edge, just out of reach.

After this, Kylie wanted to go to the tidepools where you can pick up the starfish. Luckily it was near, so we went, and she picked up starfish:

Right next to the tidepools was an indoor aquarium. We walked inside there and saw all manner of sea turtles, small sharks, groupers, etc. When we came out of there, we headed over to the dolphin stadium to get a good seat for the show. My older children, in their infinite wisdom, decided to take their 5 year old sister and sit with her in the third row, which is clearly marked "soak zone."

I've been here before, and is it me, or did those signs used to say "splash zone?" Hmmm. If you look up at the top of the picture, you can see Steve's knees and Dbacks t-shirt a few rows up. That's where he and I were sitting. Still in the "soak zone", but I've been here before and I know that the odds of getting wet up there are slim. (Ha ha) So the show starts, and they have dolphins and pilot whales performing. There is one trick in the show that I think is particularly cool, which is when they have a dolphin jump really high, and I had to mention this just so I could show you my amazing camera work: (Yes, I really did take this picture)

So they do a few dolphin tricks and a couple of pilot whale tricks, and then they set about getting the audience wet. The dolphins swim around, whipping water out of the tank with their tails, and not surprisingly, the people in the first few rows, including my children, got soaked. Kylie didn't think this was fun at all, and quickly ran up to where we were sitting. I was smugly sitting in my seat, holding my wet daughter, because the dolphin splashes didn't reach to where we were sitting. But then, they send the pilot whales around to do the same maneuver. Apparently, pilot whales' tails are a bit stronger than dolphins' tails, because those whales were able to send giant waves of water up where we were sitting, and we got soaked as well. After they went around a couple of times, I was as wet as if I had jumped into a swimming pool. While I didn't really mind being wet, because the sun was right on top of us and I had been kind of hot up until that point, Kylie was NOT happy. She was shaking and shivering and she wanted to get out of that stadium! Luckily that was pretty much the end of the show. I just want to say right here that I was a little disappointed in this show and the Shamu show, which we saw later. It seems that a few years ago, the shows used to be primarily focused on the animals and their neat tricks. The focus now seems to have shifted so that the main point of the shows is to get people wet. I'm not upset that we got wet, because the "soak zone" was clearly marked and we chose to sit there. But, when did the shows become all about getting people wet, and not on the animals themselves? I remember that they used to have a whale that would jump up out of the water with a trainer on its nose and send the guy flying into the air, which was really cool. They don't do that anymore. But, I digress.

After the dolphin show, we headed directly to the sea lion show. We told Kylie we would sit in the sun and she'd dry and it'd be fine. This is Danni and Kylie at the sea lion show:

As you can probably tell, they are both quite wet, and Kylie is not very happy. The sea lion show was funny and cute, and we made sure to sit way up near the top, to alleviate Kylie's fears that she might get wet again. They had two sea lions named Seamore (yes, that's how they spell it, I looked it up, because I'm sort of anal retentive about spelling things correctly, and Seymour didn't look right to me, although that's probably the most conventional spelling) and Clyde, and a little otter. This picture is the otter running out with a can of Pepsi. Nice product placement, Sea World! In fact, I'm convinced that the whole city of San Diego is sponsored by Pepsi. Just saying.

After the sea lion show, the Shipwreck Rapids ride (which didn't open until noon) was finally open, so we headed over there. On the way, we stopped at a gift shop and got Kylie a Sea World t-shirt that she could change into. They didn't sell shorts or anything, so her pants were still really wet, but at least her top half was dry. I was worried that Kylie was going to feel left out at the rapids ride, because there is a 42" height requirement, and she is about 41 1/2". However, she had no desire to go on the ride, saving me from feeling badly, because the rest of us really did want to go. So, Steve and Shannon went first, while Danni and I waited with Kylie at the water cannons where you can shoot people as they go by. Of course, I got some quarters and we nailed their tube when they came by. Here are Steve and Shannon on Shipwreck Rapids:

Steve's in the white hat, and Shannon is next to him on his right. After they got done and gave us the what-for for spraying them with the water cannons (hee, they were really wet, again), Danni and I went. It was great because there was absolutely no line at all. On this ride, what happens is that water splashes into the part where you are sitting, totally soaking your shorts and socks and shoes. Awesome! I was expecting to be blasted by revenge water cannons, but luckily, Steve didn't have any quarters on him. That's ok, because Danni and I were thoroughly drenched by the time the ride was over. At this point, we had a family meeting and decided that maybe it would be best if we went back to the hotel, changed clothes, grabbed some lunch outside of the park (thus saving us from paying $70 for lunch inside the park), and then heading back.

We went back to our room, quickly got everyone dried off and changed into dry clothes, and we were off to find some lunch. We ended up at a little hole-in-the-wall Mexican joint called Rolberto's that Steve remembered from his days of living there. It had no air conditioning, only a few tables, and totally awesome food! It's right up there with Elmer's Taco Shop in my book. Reasonable prices (I think all 5 of us ate for $25) and HUGE portions. So, all dry and stuffed with Mexican food, we headed back to Sea World.

During the afternoon, we visited the Shark Encounter, the Penguin Encounter, and saw a really cute show called Pets Rule!, which has a lot of dogs and cats doing tricks, some ducks and a pig. Kylie LOVED this show, and even Shannon said it was cute. We also rode up the skytower, which gives you a great view of the bay, the city, and the ocean.

We ended the day with the last Shamu show. When we got into the stadium, Kylie kind of freaked because she was really afraid of getting wet again. The stadium has two tiers, and we made sure to sit on the top tier, so there was absolutely no chance of us getting wet. I know she was really tired by this point, because she kept wanting to leave because she didn't want to get wet. I was trying to explain that we were way too high to get wet, and see all those people down there? Those people might get wet, but we won't. I promise. Well, as you probably know, trying to reason with a tired 5 year old is a bit like banging your head against a wall, but heck, that never stops me from trying. She sat in my lap, and every 5 minutes or so she said, "I want to get out of here!" And this was before the show even started. When the show did start, every time Shamu jumped or splashed, I said to her, "Did you get wet that time?" She said, "No.." I was trying to show her that she wasn't going to get wet, but she's no dummy...she knew there'd be a part of the show where Shamu goes around whipping his tail to drench people. After he went around and did that the first time, and she saw the water was nowhere near us, she finally relaxed.

The Shamu show they have now is called "Believe", and it's about this boy who supposedly had an encounter with a killer whale when he was young, and so he grew up dreaming of being a trainer. The main trainer in the show was supposed to be this young boy, grown up now working at Sea World, his dream has been realized. When he was a kid he had carved this whale tail from wood and he wore it as a necklace. During the show they bring up some kid who's about 12 or so, and supposedly this kid came to Sea World today just to meet Shamu and he also has a dream of being a whale trainer. The show ends with the trainer giving the boy this carved wooden whale tail necklace. Awwwww. If you ask me, the whole thing was incredibly staged and corny, but maybe that's just me. Kylie kept asking me if that boy with the necklace was going to grow up and work at Sea World, and I was trying to explain to her that he was just an actor, part of the show. She didn't seem to grasp that, until she said "Oh, an actor, like on Drake and Josh?" Yeah baby...just like that. lol So here's Shamu:

After the Shamu show, we had about an hour until the park closed, but there wasn't anything else we really wanted to do, so we headed toward the exit, buying Kylie some promised cotton candy on the way out. Nobody was really hungry for dinner after that huge late lunch we had, so we went back to the room. Shannon took Kylie to the pool for a little while, but they were back within about 20 minutes. The nice part is that after the busy day we had, there was no fighting with Kylie to go to sleep. We turned on the TV, she laid down on one of the beds and she was out in about a minute and a half. Ah...a bit of peace for the rest of us.

If you want to see all the Sea World pictures, click here:
Sea World
(And believe me, I totally understand if you don't, that's why they're behind a link)

Next up: Mission Beach and a Harbor Cruise
The Joys of Boogie Boarding and Reasonably Priced Wetsuit Rentals


3 boys 1 girl said...

well, now you've done it. I want to take my kids on vacaction. Thanks! :)

Shelley said...

You're welcome! Heh. Hey, didn't you guys just go to Vegas a little while ago? That was a vacation...sorta. :)

Fannie Mae said...

heh - I'd forgotten about the "soak zone". Ahhh, fond memories of melt downs from those who did not want to be damp.

Lish said...

I'm jealous...I took the kids to Sea Worl Aurora here in Ohio when they were littler, but they've been bought out and closed down now, so poor Aidan will never be there...we are NOT traveling cross country for that. ;)

I do have to mention that I am also jealous that there was no line for that ride. They have the same thing at King's Island and we stood in line 2 HOURS for it! UGH!

Sheri said...

I love Sea World - it's probably my favorite "attraction" (besides the beach) in California. I think they stopped doing the trick with Shamu holding the guy on his nose when Shamu tried to eat one of the trainer - but I could be wrong.