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Parents of Small Children Don't Have to Skip the Coasters

August 7, 2017
Visiting SeaWorld with your little one doesn't mean you have to skip the roller coasters. Learn more about some awesome things to do with your child while your family takes the plunge on daring coasters.

My husband and I have been theme park fanatics for many years, but now we have to think about our day at SeaWorld with our two-year-old in mind.  While we still can do everything in the park, it takes a little extra planning for both of us to experience attractions that our daughter is still too small for. 

Coasters have always been my favorite part of theme parks, and SeaWorld has some incredible ones.  Mako is my favorite roller coaster, but inevitably someone always has to wait with the little one.  Our family has found some great activities to keep us busy and entertained while each parent takes a ride on the bigger attractions.

Play and explore at SeaWorld.

Mako has an awesome gift shop at the ride exit with plush sharks, t-shirts and other toothy souvenirs.  If the lines are short or we have a couple of quick queues, the shop is a great place to poke around for a short wait.  We usually end up finding something we love, and I even get a sneak peek at my husband’s ride photo!

If the wait seems like it will be a bit longer, there are several interactive features throughout Shark Wreck Reef including photo opportunities, educational puzzles and shark viewing pools.  The entire area in front of Sharks Underwater Grill is a great meeting place for families. 

Another great attraction near Mako is Shark Encounter.  My daughter loves aquariums, and Shark Encounter is one of the best ways to get a shark’s-eye view of a wide variety of underwater predators and other finned fish.  Shark Encounter is great for family members of all ages, and features one of the world’s largest underwater viewing tunnels.

Sleepover at Manta

Manta is a must-do ride, and is usually the first coaster we visit when we bring friends and family.  If you’re looking to kill some time with the little one, the Manta Aquarium is always a winner.  This incredible aquarium lets you see rays, sharks, sea horses, urchins and even an octopus!  My daughter especially loves the pop-up bubble near the exit of the aquarium, giving her an underwater view of a beautiful variety of tropical fish. 

On days with a longer wait, we’ll venture over to Key West, where you can see pelicans, sting rays and dolphins.  Stingray Lagoon is a great place for a hands-on experience, where you can touch and even feed stingrays as they glide through the water. 

Dolphin Cove is also nearby, where you can see dolphins jump and play from both above and beneath the surface.  At the underwater viewing window, my daughter loves to get right up against the glass and watch the dolphins zip around.  Sometimes one even comes up to greet her!

Feed playful sea lions at SeaWorld.

Kraken is another phenomenal coaster, especially with the new virtual reality overlay to the already amazing coaster experience.  While we wait for family to take their virtual reality adventure, my daughter and I will embark on our own adventure to the Jewel of the Sea Aquarium located beside Journey to Atlantis.  Jellyfish, eels, and tropical fish make this unique aquarium a true gem in the park. 

If you have even more time to wait, both Turtle Trek and Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin are nearby.  Both have some really cool opportunities to see animals from above and below the surface.

For an animal view without a wait, Pacific Point Preserve is located just on the other side of Antarctica.  Sea lions show off, chat and lounge in this rocky oasis.  My daughter can’t get enough of the sea lion shenanigans!  Plus, for a small fee, you can purchase some fish to feed the seals and sea lions, guaranteeing some direct attention from these flippered friends. 

Visiting SeaWorld is a great way for my family to get out of the house and have some quality together time.  With Annual Passes we can visit the park whenever we like, whether it’s to quench that quick coaster craving or for an all-day ride fest.  Plus, Pass Members get discounts on visiting friends and relatives, making SeaWorld a great option when family is visiting Orlando.  Start planning your visit, or click here to read more tips and news about SeaWorld!