SeaWorld San Diego sign
SeaWorld San Diego

SeaWorld San Diego Guide – Everything You Need to Know

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Our Insider SeaWorld San Diego Guide

No matter if you’re an animal lover or a thrill seeker, there’s no better place to make a splash while visiting Southern California than SeaWorld San Diego. Boasting an oceanful of marine creatures, a surprising number of heart-pounding roller coasters and some more family-friendly attractions, too, this animal-inspired theme park offers something for everyone. Are you planning on going to SeaWorld San Diego on your next trip to the Golden State? Then, pull on a Splash Zone poncho as we break down everything you need to know.

Visiting SeaWorld San Diego

Want to make a splash at SeaWorld San Diego? Here are some things to keep in mind when planning your visit.

Seaworld San Diego
Seaworld San Diego 2006 by jondoeforty1 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

SeaWorld San Diego Hours

SeaWorld San Diego hours of operation largely depend on when you decide to visit. For example, the park tends to close later during the summer months, as well as on the weekends. It might also close early if there happens to be a special, separately ticketed event going on, like Howl-O-Scream during spooky season.

The one thing that is usually consistent, however, is the opening time. In general, SeaWorld San Diego typically opens at 10 AM, while closing time can range anywhere from 5 PM to 10 PM. For the most up-to-date SeaWorld San Diego hours, make sure you check the calendar on the website or the SeaWorld San Diego app prior to your visit. This is also where you’ll find the schedule for the park’s showtimes and presentations like animal talks and feedings.

SeaWorld San Diego Parking

For those planning to drive to the park, please be aware that SeaWorld San Diego parking is only free for those with a Silver, Gold or Platinum annual pass. For everyone else, the San Diego parking fee is $30 per vehicle for general parking. If desired and available, visitors can also choose to pay extra for a closer parking spot. Up-Close Parking starts at $50 per vehicle and is located in the six rows closest to the park entrance, while VIP Parking starts at $70 and includes an up-close spot and unlimited in-and-out privileges all day long.

Calendar on SeaWorld San Diego App

SeaWorld San Diego Tickets, Annual Passes & Add-Ons

Wondering how much SeaWorld San Diego tickets cost or what kind of tickets are right for you? Or maybe you’re hoping to score some SeaWorld San Diego discounts. Whatever you’re looking for, we’ve got the answers.

In general, visitors have a few different admission options, from single-day and multi-park San Diego SeaWorld tickets to annual passes and the Fun Card. Each of these ticket options can be purchased directly through the SeaWorld San Diego website. For those hoping to score a deal, discount SeaWorld San Diego tickets are available through an authorized seller, like our ticket partner Undercover Tourist.

San Diego SeaWorld Tickets

San Diego SeaWorld has a few options available for those who are only planning to visit the park one or two days at a time, as well as for those who are hoping to check out SeaWorld along with other San Diego parks around the same time.

As long as you’re only planning for one day at SeaWorld San Diego, cheap tickets can be had by purchasing the date-specific option. Since these utilize dynamic ticket prices that decrease during slow periods and increase over the busy season, it is possible to save a bit if you have some wiggle room with your visit dates.

Contrastingly, while an Any Day Ticket will cost more, it does give you more flexibility with your visit at one flat rate. No matter which San Diego SeaWorld ticket option you choose, you can also opt to upgrade your day with the All-Day Dining deal (we’ll dig into that more in a bit). Currently, prices for single-day tickets purchased through SeaWorld San Diego (not including taxes or fees) are:

  • Date-Specific Ticket – As low as $64.99
  • Date-Specific Ticket + All-Day Dining Bundle – As low as $94.99
  • 2-Day Ticket – As low as $109.99
  • 2-Day Ticket + All-Day Dining Bundle – As low as $164.99
  • Any Day Ticket – $109.99
  • Any Day Ticket + All-Day Dining – $154.99
Sea lion at SeaWorld San Diego
SeaWorld San Diego by Roller Coaster Philosophy is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Multi-Park SeaWorld Tickets San Diego

SeaWorld might be one of the most famous parks in San Diego, but it certainly isn’t the only one. Along with SeaWorld San Diego, folks looking for some family-friendly fun can also check out SeaWorld’s sister park, Sesame Place, or the city’s two other awesome animal attractions, the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Fortunately, thanks to SeaWorld San Diego’s multi-park ticket options, you don’t have to pick just one.

Prices for multi-park adult tickets purchased through SeaWorld San Diego (not including taxes or fees) are:

  • 2-Park Ticket (SeaWorld and Sesame Place) – $129.99
  • San Diego 3-For-1 Ticket (San Diego Zoo Safari Park, San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld) – $190.00

San Diego SeaWorld Annual Passes & Fun Card

Are you a huge SeaWorld fan? If you live in or travel often to Southern California and are planning to visit SeaWorld more than once a year, then a SeaWorld Fun Card or annual pass might be for you. So, what’s the difference between the two? Well, think of a SeaWorld San Diego Fun Card as an annual pass without all the extra stuff.

In general, a Fun Card lets you visit as many times as you want (except for on blockout dates). A SeaWorld annual pass, meanwhile, also comes with unlimited admission. Unlike the Fun Card, however, there are no blockout dates.

Plus, depending on which annual pass option you choose, you’ll also enjoy an array of benefits, like complimentary parking, free guest tickets and discounts on things like dining, merchandise, animal interactions and more. (Check out the complete list of SeaWorld San Diego annual pass extras on the park’s website.)

Manta roller coaster at SeaWorld San Diego
SeaWorld San Diego by Roller Coaster Philosophy is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Options, before taxes and fees, are priced at:

  • SeaWorld San Diego 2024 Fun Card – $114.99
  • Silver Pass – $159.00 or $13.25/month + tax
  • Gold Pass – $189.00 or $15.75/month + tax
  • 2-Park Season Pass (SeaWorld and Sesame Place San Diego) – $199.99
  • Platinum Pass (Covers unlimited admission to 11 parks, including SeaWorld [San Diego, Orlando and San Antonio], Sesame Place [San Diego and Philadelphia], Busch Gardens [Tampa Bay and Williamsburg], Aquatica [Orlando and San Antonio], Adventure Island and Water Country USA) – $282.00 or $23.50/month + tax

San Diego SeaWorld Discount Tickets

San Diego SeaWorld tickets don’t always come cheap, especially if you happen to be traveling during a popular time or as a family with kids. On the bright side, as long as you know where to look, there’s no need to pay full price for SeaWorld admission. That’s where we come in!

As you can probably tell from our name, we here at Park Savers are all about, well, saving both time and money. That’s why we’ve partnered with authorized ticket seller Undercover Tourist to score you savings with SeaWorld San Diego discount tickets. We know what you’re thinking. “Just how much of a savings are we talking about here?” Potentially, quite a bit, depending on which ticket option you go with!

For a single-day SeaWorld San Diego ticket, you could save $30 per person or more by buying through us and Undercover Tourist instead of directly through the park at the gate. Cha-ching! Best of all, there is no difference between the discount SeaWorld San Diego tickets you buy through Park Savers and Undercover Tourist and the ones you get directly through SeaWorld—other than the price, of course.

Journey to Atlantis at SeaWorld San Diego
Atlantis SeaWorld San Diego by Leon7 is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

SeaWorld Ticket Add-ons

Want to take your trip to SeaWorld up a notch? Whether you want to skip the standby line at SeaWorld rides, enjoy reserved seating at animal shows or stuff yourself silly all day long, these ticket add-ons are for you.

SeaWorld Quick Queue & Reserved Seating

Just like the Lightning Lanes at Disneyland or the Express Pass at Universal Studios Hollywood, Quick Queue lets you spend less time in line and more time having fun by giving you priority boarding on select SeaWorld San Diego rides. There is also an option to upgrade to Reserved Seating, which, as the name implies, entitles you to saved seats during SeaWorld San Diego shows at certain park venues.

Several different options are available, depending on what your priorities are and how much room you have in your travel budget. For example, Quick Queue and Reserved Seating can both be purchased individually, starting at $19.99 and $9.99 per person, respectively. Alternatively, you can also enjoy both perks with Quick Queue Premier, which starts at $29.99 per person per visit or costs $299.99 for the year.

Quick Queue attractions include:

  • Arctic Rescue (single-use express entry not available with all SeaWorld San Diego Quick Queue options)
  • Electric Eel
  • Emperor
  • Journey to Atlantis
  • Manta
  • Shipwreck Rapids

Animal presentations with Reserved Seating include:

  • Dolphin Amphitheater
  • Orca Encounter
  • Sea Lion & Otter Stadium
Seaworld San Diego
Seaworld San Diego 2006 by jondoeforty1 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

San Diego SeaWorld All-Day Dining

As anyone who has ever hung out at a theme park all day can attest, waiting in line under the hot SoCal sun can really work up an appetite. So, if you have a big appetite or are the kind of person who gets hangry easily and needs to snack throughout the day, you might want to splurge on the SeaWorld All-Day Dining Deal.

As you can probably guess from the name, the All-Day Dining Deal at SeaWorld San Diego basically lets you eat as much as you want. The only restrictions are that you have to wait 90 minutes in between visits, and the deal is only valid at select SeaWorld restaurants. For each visit, you’re entitled to one entrée and one beverage (soda or iced tea only; bottled water or alcoholic beverages aren’t included), as well as either a side or a dessert.

Considering how much theme park dining typically costs, we think that’s a steal—as long as you intend on eating multiple times during your visit, anyway. When purchased through the SeaWorld website, All-Day Dining costs $49.99 for adults and $24.99 for kids ages 3 to 9. To determine if All-Day Dining at SeaWorld San Diego is right for you and your group, we suggest you take a look at the restaurant menus and prices in the app ahead of time to estimate your potential food costs throughout the day.

Screenshot of SeaWorld San Diego App

SeaWorld San Diego Rides, Shows & Animal Experiences

When we call SeaWorld San Diego an animal-inspired theme park, we mean it! Sure, there are plenty of attractions (tons of them, actually!) that give you excellent views of all sorts of sea creatures. However, there are also almost as many rides that take inspiration from Mother Nature and the incredible wildlife that call our planet home. In short, there truly is something at SeaWorld San Diego for everyone, no matter if you’re a group of adults looking for an adrenaline rush or an animal-loving family with small children.

SeaWorld San Diego Rides

Contrary to what you might think, SeaWorld San Diego is more than just animals, although that is, admittedly, a large chunk of it. Believe it or not, you can also have a whale of a time enjoying a huge variety of awesome SeaWorld San Diego rides, many of which are inspired by the animals that live there. From thrilling roller coasters to kid-friendly attractions similar to what you might find in an amusement park, this ocean-inspired theme park has it all.

Attention, adrenaline junkies! If you’re looking for a thrill ride to get your blood pumping, there’s a good chance you’ll find it at the park. In fact, this wild theme park is actually home to some of the most intense attractions on the West Coast, including the all-new Arctic Rescue roller coaster.

Emperor roller coaster at SeaWorld San Diego
Emperor (SeaWorld San Diego) 1 by Jeremy Thompson is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
  • Arctic Rescue – At least 48”; a record-breaking straddle coaster (the fastest and longest on the West Coast, with a max speed of 40 miles per hour and 2,800 feet of track) inspired by the SeaWorld Rescue Team with three high-speed launches and ride vehicles that look like snowmobiles
  • Electric Eel – At least 54”; a pulse-racing 853-foot roller coaster boasting a 150-foot drop, multiple launches, twists, inversions, and a high speed of 60 miles per hour
  • Emperor – At least 52”; the first floorless dive coaster in California (as well as its tallest, fastest and longest), with a 14-story 90-degree drop, several exhilarating loops and a max speed of 60 miles per hour
  • Journey to Atlantis – At least 42”; a log-flume ride inspired by the legendary lost city that is sure to make a splash (or several of them)
  • Manta – At least 48”; a multiple-launch family coaster that sees you swoop and soar through the air like a graceful manta ray
Manta roller coaster at SeaWorld San Diego
SeaWorld San Diego by Roller Coaster Philosophy is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Looking for something a little more mellow? These easy-going attractions offer laid-back fun the whole family can enjoy.

  • Aqua Scout – At least 36”; a carnival-like spinner attraction with submarines for ride vehicles
  • Bayside Skyride – No height requirement; a relaxing gondola ride with breathtaking bird’s-eye views over the park and Mission Bay (priced at $6 per guest)
  • Octarock – At least 31”; a giant swing that rocks backward and forward
  • Rescue Rafter – At least 42”; a boat-like ride that mimics the swaying feeling of cruising through waves, complete with some surprising spins
  • Rescue Riders – At least 48”; a carnival-like spinner ride with ride vehicles styled after jet skis
  • Riptide Rescue – At least 45”; a thrilling, multi-armed spinner ride that takes inspiration from SeaWorld’s sea turtle rescue missions
  • Sea Dragon Drop – At least 42”; a pint-sized drop tower
  • Shipwreck Rapids – At least 42”; a whitewater raft ride with a waterfall finale that is sure to get you drenched
  • SkyTower – At least 48”; a soaring sky tower with panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and San Diego skyline (priced at $6 per guest)
  • Tentacle Twirl – At least 48”; a jellyfish-themed swing ride
  • Tidepool Twist – At least 42”; an edutaining teacup-style ride with fun facts about the kinds of creatures found in tide pools
Orca show at Seaworld San Diego
Seaworld San Diego 2006 by jondoeforty1 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

SeaWorld San Diego Shows

Take a break from all that standing in line and watch the animals put on a show during one of the fascinating animal presentations. During shows, these incredible creatures show off their various behaviors, all under the guidance of their trainers. Be aware that certain sections of the amphitheaters are prone to splashing. So, be careful where you sit or risk getting wet.

  • Dolphin Adventures – Be awed by the athleticism and charmed by the playfulness of SeaWorld San Diego’s pod of bottlenose dolphins
  • Orca Encounter – Discover the communication and hunting techniques, as well as the roles of family and play, of the majestic and powerful killer whales
  • Sea Lion & Otter Spotlight – Laugh and learn during this entertaining show that discusses the habitat of and challenges faced by California sea lions and Asian small-clawed otters, as well as what you can do to help keep them safe

SeaWorld San Diego Animal Experiences

When you aren’t screaming on the roller coasters or checking out the park’s other fun rides, make sure to slow things down to appreciate and learn about the menagerie of marine mammals that call it home. Since the animal exhibits are peppered throughout the park, we recommend you sprinkle them in between attractions so you can keep the edutainment going all day long.

During your aquatic explorations, you can even get hands-on with starfish at the tide pools, high-five a velvety bat ray or toss a seal or sea lion a tasty treat. You’ll also want to keep an eye on the in-app schedule for fascinating presentations like trainer talks, animal feedings and more.

Daily Schedule on SeaWorld San Diego App

Upgraded Animal Encounters

Not only can you spend some time observing the various animals in their habitats, but for an additional cost, you can also get up close and personal with them and possibly even try your hand at being a trainer yourself. In general, these enhanced animal interactions are offered as either up-close encounters or in-the-water experiences, with in-water encounters being priced higher.

Whichever option you choose, however, you’re sure to come away with fascinating insights into their behaviors and daily care, as well as a newfound appreciation that will continue long after you’ve returned home.

Animals with up-close encounters include:

  • Beluga Whale – Starting at $84
  • Bottlenose Dolphin – Starting at $79
  • Flamingo – Starting at $24
  • Killer Whale – Starting at $69
  • Penguins – Starting at $94
  • Sea Lion – Starting at $49
  • Sea Otter – Starting at $69
  • Sloth – Starting at $89
  • Turtle – Starting at $44
  • Walrus– Starting at $69
Beluga whale at SeaWorld San Diego
SeaWorld San Diego by Roller Coaster Philosophy is licensed under CC BY 2.0. (4)

In-water interactions include:

  • Beluga Whale – Starting at $219
  • Bottlenose Dolphin – Starting at $169

Finally, for die-hard animal lovers who want to see and do it all, consider booking the Ultimate VIP Tour. Priced at $499 per person and up, it certainly doesn’t come cheap. However, you also get what you pay for. This guided behind-the-scenes experience not only lets you learn from the animal experts who care for the creatures but also offers exclusive creature encounters and interactions, front-of-the-line access to rides and premiere seating at shows.

Mission Bay Park

Mission Bay Park in San Diego is a sprawling recreational area stretching over 4,200 acres of land and water. With its tranquil waters, sandy beaches, and lush green spaces, the park offers a wide range of activities for visitors to enjoy. From water sports like swimming, kayaking, and sailing to picnicking, biking, and rollerblading along the scenic paths, Mission Bay Park has something for everyone.

The park also features playgrounds, basketball courts, and picnic areas, making it an ideal destination for families, outdoor enthusiasts, and nature lovers alike.

San Diego SeaWorld FAQs

Still wondering more about SeaWorld San Diego? You might find what you’re looking for in the answers to these frequently asked questions.

How long should I spend at SeaWorld San Diego? Can you do everything in one day?

To enjoy a taste of everything the park has to offer, you should plan to spend between 6 to 8 hours at the park. As long as the crowds aren’t too out of hand, this should give you plenty of time to experience a bit of everything. However, if you happen to be a true sea life fanatic, it certainly is possible to spend two or even three days exploring the park, especially if you want to take your time exploring each of the animal exhibits, enjoying the various presentations and possibly even splurging on a special encounter or interaction.

Seal at SeaWorld San Diego
Seal at SeaWorld in San Diego by mescon is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Are rides free at SeaWorld San Diego?

Yes! With the exception of Bayside Skyride and the Skytower, which each cost $6 per person to experience, all of the rides at SeaWorld San Diego are included in the cost of your ticket. However, if you are an annual passholder, then experiencing these two attractions is complimentary.

Can I bring my own food to SeaWorld San Diego?

No, guests are not allowed to bring coolers or outside food or beverages into SeaWorld San Diego. However, you are welcome to take a refillable water bottle or a bottle of water.

Are there whale shows at SeaWorld San Diego?

Yup! Although the format of the killer whale show has changed, you can still see them show off their natural behaviors at the park’s daily Orca Encounter display. That said, keep in mind that as SeaWorld has made a commitment to discontinue its breeding program, this generation of orcas will be the last to call the park home.

Is SeaWorld San Diego worth it?

We think so, but it really depends on what you’re interested in. For those who are fans of both thrill rides and sea life, the park truly has it all. Best of all, as the tickets are relatively reasonably priced, you don’t need to invest a ton of money to enjoy everything the park has to offer. That said, if you’re really only there for the rides or you’re hoping to see some animals without dropping a ton of cash, then you may be better off giving it a pass. At the very least, if you do decide to go, be sure to spend a good deal of time there so you can fully experience everything and get your money’s worth.

Flamingo at SeaWorld San Diego
SeaWorld San Diego by Roller Coaster Philosophy is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Have you had a chance to go to SeaWorld San Diego? Which rides and sea creatures are your favorites? Do you think All-Day Dining is worth it? Let us know in the comments! Then, follow the link to find out how you can save on SeaWorld tickets and other family-friendly destinations.