SeaWorld and Aquatica: A Great Getaway Any Time of the Year


Aquatica™, SeaWorld’s Waterpark, is a whimsical waterpark with up-close animal experiences, high-speed thrills and relaxing, sandy beaches. It’s a one-of-a-kind waterpark only SeaWorld® could create. Come face-to-fin with stingrays and tropical fish on the only ride of its kind in the world, Stingray Falls®.

Aquatica™, SeaWorld’s Waterpark, is a whimsical waterpark with up-close animal experiences, high-speed thrills and relaxing, sandy beaches. It’s a one-of-a-kind waterpark only SeaWorld® could create. Come face-to-fin with stingrays and tropical fish on the only ride of its kind in the world, Stingray Falls®.

By Jennifer L. Evans – 

Depressed about the end of summer break, while we suffer through the intense heat that lingers? Texans love to say that we can be outside 365 days out of the year. I know, sometimes we don’t want to, but it’s still what we say. Regardless of whether you have kids or not, summer is always a little lighter and fun. Transitioning to the fall schedule can be a bit of a downer, so I like to plan little overnights or day trips that can be accomplished on a Saturday or Sunday. One of our favorite nearby destinations is perfect any time of the year, and it’s open on most weekends and many weekdays. SeaWorld!

There are three SeaWorld parks in the United States, and we are fortunate to have one in San Antonio, a mere three hours away from Katy. SeaWorld hosts a trifecta of family fun: animals, nature and water park. Voted Best Marine Life Park for many consecutive years, SeaWorld is a great destination for all ages. And, unlike Disney World, SeaWorld doesn’t require a weeklong commitment or a big check to have a good time. Highlights at SeaWorld start with the Shamu show experience and extend to so many opportunities – Journey to Atlantis ride, the penguin encounter, the Shamu Express ride and I could go on and on.

A big bonus for thrill seekers at San Antonio’s SeaWorld is the recent addition of the Aquatica water park. With more than 42,000 square feet of beach, plus rivers, slides, lagoons and rides set in a gorgeous backdrop in the hills of San Antonio, Aquatica is a beautiful enhancement to the SeaWorld experience. Island Nights, a series of evening soirees set with live tropical music and Polynesian style dancing, adds something fun that a grown-ups only group would love. Aquatica closes the 2013 season in late September, so check the web site for details.

Katy mom Sarah Hubbell considers SeaWorld a year-round option for her family. “Our family loves spending time at SeaWorld and Aquatica. My boys love the thrill rides, but I think it’s the spectacular shows and the animals that set SeaWorld apart as a unique and superior family destination. The addition of the beautiful water park, Aquatica, has made SeaWorld a great weekend getaway. We even love going over the winter holidays.”

Want to do SeaWorld and Aquatica in a day? It’s completely doable to enjoy a great experience at both SeaWorld and Aquatica in only one day. All it takes is a little planning. Below are some tips and a sample itinerary, courtesy of our friends at SeaWorld.

Helpful Tips:

• Visit the park web site; it’s full of helpful and useful information: www.seaworldparks.com/en/seaworld-sanantonio. You can plan your visit, including buying tickets, in advance.
• Check out the park hours and show schedules in advance online, and build your day around the set times.
• Print out a copy of the park map, and mark your “targets” in order. Make sure to include show times!
• Consider the All Day Dine to plan a budget for the day, and make dining simple. Definitely consider the Quick Queue card, which lets you jump to the front of the line and save lots of time.
• Make sure to bring towels and also waterproof storage for important things such as phones, cameras and wallets while in Aquatica. You can also use Discovery Dollars instead of carrying your wallet. Just pre-load an amount, and then anyone in the family has the payment they need in a waterproof bracelet!
• Book in advance any special animal interactions you plan to do.

One Day Itinerary:

1) Start with a best of SeaWorld in the morning. The newest show is Pets Ahoy!, and it features the talents of a menagerie of rescued dogs, cats, birds, rats, pot-belly pigs and other animals performing a series of uproarious and amazing skits.

2) Hit your top rides. Rio Loco is a fun one for the entire family to do together, good for a span of ages, and the Steel Eel is very popular with thrill seekers! For little ones, there’s the Bay of Play and gentler rides such as Shamu and Abby Cadabby’s Rocking Wave.

3) Don’t miss the animal exhibits! Feeding the dolphins is a great first activity. The dolphins are very happy to see everyone in the morning, and tend to show off. It’s a fun and a great way to start the day. Not too far from the dolphins is the Shark Coral Reef Exhibit. Or, consider the Animal Connections and Conservation Center. Then, stop by the Penguin Exhibit and see the new penguin chicks.

4) Grab lunch and rehydrate, then onto Aquatica!

5) By now it’s good and warm, and you are ready for some cool fun. Head over to the side-by-side locker rooms for a quick change, and rent a locker to store your stuff.

6) The stingray interaction is a great  way to start your time in Aquatica. Walk with these graceful creatures, and learn all about them.

7) Head to the wave pool, then enjoysome of the water slides, such as Stingray Falls and Tassie’s Twisters. Most rides are kid friendly and ones that family members can enjoy together. Slippity Dippity and its slides Zippity Zappity are very popular among the young crowd.

8) In case this makes you hungry and thirsty, look for the Mango Market and take a break.

9) At the end of your day, leave a little time for a slow exit to say hello to the animals on the walkways of Aquatica.

What are you waiting for? Hit the road, and say hello to Shamu for me!