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Sea World Rides --- Few but Fun!
In the slide show above, you're viewing pictures of Sea World San Diego's rides. They're few in number...but fun. On the rest of this page, you'll discover a bit more about them! Would you like to give them a try?
Overview of SeaWorld San Diego Rides...
...including the popular Manta roller coasterSeaWorld San Diego's primary visitor activity is admiring the park's many endearing animals, but you'll also find several rides that will add both fun and variety to your visit. You may have heard that SeaWorld has roller coasters. Well...yes and no. Both SeaWorld Orlando and SeaWorld San Antonio have big roller coasters! But at SeaWorld San Diego, there's only a small roller coaster that's combined with a water flume ride.
In total, there are 7 rides at SeaWorld San Diego---5 "free" rides (included in your price of admission), and 2 extra-fee rides. We'll talk about those rides one-by-one on the remainder of this page. (Note: in addition to SeaWorld San Diego's rides for adults & older kids, there are also 3 kiddie rides in the Sesame Street Bay of Play area--Elmo's Flying Fish, Oscar's Rocking Eel, and Abby's Sea Star Spin.)
SeaWorld San Diego's still-new MANTA roller coaster opened in 2012! You may soar through the air like a manta ray through water on SeaWorld's new Manta coaster (see pictures in the slide show above.) When you're done with the ride, you've still got two more terrific areas of this exciting attraction to explore. One is a 100,000 gallon aquarium featuring manta rays (of course!) The other is your own special chance to feet and pet bat rays in the attractions touch pool!
If you'd like to view pictures of the Manta roller coaster in Orlando...which is similar to, but not quite the same as California's version...here's our Orlando Manta Roller Coaster page which might interest you.
Sea World San Diego Rides
Although SeaWorld San Diego has added a major roller coaster in 2012, you may also enjoy another fairly new ride that's been a hit with families. This new attraction--called "Riptide Rescue"--opened in 2011!
This moderately-thrilling ride is fun for elementary school-age kids...and, of course, teens and adults will like it, as well. The scenario is this: you're a lifeguard & you're heading out in your rescue launch to save a swimmer who has been pulled away in an ocean riptide. As you can see in the pictures of Riptide Rescue in the slide show at the top of this page, each ride "car" looks like a small yellow rescue boat. The ride's action is simple: you circle a hub while the ride lifts your boat into the air. Your kids are probably going to like this one...but it can also provide some thrills for adults, too...especially those who don't particularly enjoy the white-knuckle scares provided by steep roller coasters.
Sea World San Diego Rides
"Journey to Atlantis"Of the several Sea World rides, the "Journey to Atlantis" is tops on the list for action-ride enthusiasts. Journey to Atlantis is a hybrid ride---part water flume and part roller coaster! (This is a one-of-a-kind ride, so you've never been on one just like it! While each of the 3 Sea World Parks has a "Journey to Atlantis" ride, each of the 3 are different from one another!) If you'd like to compare the 3 different Atlantis rides, please view our pictures of the Orlando, Florida Atlantis ride and the SeaWorld San Antonio rides.
When you first board the ride, your experience will be similar to riding a "log flume." (In the photo to your left, you see the Atlantis ride from the front of the waiting-line...as if you're one of the next people who will board.) Your ride vehicle will be an 8 passenger wheeled "boat" styled after Greek fishing boats of the Mediterranean.
You'll experience a thrilling 60 foot drop into a splash pool below---and go screaming all the way! And, when you reach the bottom---prepare to get wet!
As you leave the splash pond area, you'll enter a unique ride-car elevator! Up, up, up you'll go, until---once again---you find yourself at the top of a tall tower!
No, this isn't going to be the scariest roller coaster you've ever ridden....but, on the other hand, that's a GOOD thing. The whole family can join you on this ride. You'll be glad to know that this "moderately" thrilling coaster has only a 42" minimum height requirement!
The Journey to Atlantis ride has one of the longest lines at SeaWorld San Diego. Therefore, this is one of the attractions that you should hit BEFORE the crowds start to build. If you can board when there's only a 20 to 30 minute wait, that would be considered a smaller-sized line.
There is an attractive plaza at the base of the ride where the non-riding members of your party can wait for you. A shop is available in the plaza (where you can buy Journey to Atlantis merchandise, as well as other SeaWorld souvenirs), and snack vendors are available, too.
Sea World San Diego Rides
Wild Arctic AdventureIs the Wild Arctic Adventure a ride---or is it an exhibit? Answer: It's BOTH!
There are 2 different ways to experience the Wild Arctic Adventure. Both groups end up at the same place...which is a viewing area for arctic-dwelling animals (where you'll view the "so-adorable-you-can't-believe-he's-ferocious" polar bear seen in this picture. You'll also see beluga whales and walruses---as shown in the photos below).
HOW you get to the exhibition area is where the difference lies!
Children under 42" tall, and those who don't wish to experience the "ride" segment of this attraction simply watch a movie of this make-believe helicopter ride into the arctic regions.
If you choose the "motion ride" option, you'll enter a theater with special computerized seats. Your seat will actually make movements that are synchronized with scenes in the Wild Arctic movie. You feel like you're banking and swooping right along with the helicopter in the movie!
Is this option popular? You bet! Expect a longer line if you want to experience the magic motion ride. (If you just want to see the "plain" movie, you might even be able to walk right on board...with little or no wait at all!) In my opinion? The magic motion ride is worth the extra wait!
In the photo on your right, you see a display of polar bear stuffed animals and other merchandise that I thought was particularly cute.
Sea World Rides
Shipwreck RapidsThe Shipwreck Rapids white water rafting ride is another of the Sea World rides you won't want to miss is you're a ride-fan. You'll board a circular-shaped "raft" which will take a 5 minute+ journey through gently churning rapids. Along the course of your ride, you'll pass through the damaged hull of a shipwreck (from which this ride gets its name), then explore a tropical South Seas island paradise.
The ride action itself is very enjoyable...namely, a floating sensation of bobbing up and down in the water while riding along looking at pleasant scenery.
What we DIDN'T enjoy, however, were the water canons...and the passersby who totally DRENCHED me as I passed close to them. And, as you can see in the picture on your right, this ride passes directly under a cascading waterfall, as well! Unquestionably, I got the wettest I've ever been on a raft ride here on Shipwreck Rapids.
My advice? Make sure you ride the Shipwreck Rapids raft ride on a warm, sunny day! Since you won't be able to control the water canon enthusiasts along the shore (or the waterfall,) you'll just have to prepare to get soaked!
Sea World Rides
Skytower and SkyrideThere are 2 Sea World Rides which involve your paying an extra fee---the tall Skytower "observation deck" ride, and the scenic Skyride aerial ride over Mission Bay.
The first of these Sea World rides, the Skytower (sponsored by Southwest Airlines), is hard to miss! It stands 265 tall, right in the middle of SeaWorld San Diego! Once you board this gentle ride, you'll be lifted up high into the air, where (on a clear day!), you'll be able to see up to 100 miles in all directions! Since Sea World of San Diego sits on scenic Mission Bay near the Pacific Ocean, the view is quite pretty, indeed.
Also giving you a scenic view is the second of the extra-fee Sea World rides---the skyride across Mission Bay. You'll board a ride car (similar to the old Sky Ride cars at Disneyland Park) which is suspended from a thick cable. The ride across the bay and back takes about 6 minutes. You'll pass over boaters and water skiers, picnickers in the Mission Bay park, a scenic marina on the bay...and on the return trip, you'll see SeaWorld itself from an angle which most park-goers never view.
You may buy tickets at SeaWorld for these 2 attractions---either for one ride or for both. (You will find that it's cheaper per-ride if you get the combination ticket.) And don't forget---SOME season pass holders have free Sky Ride and Sky Tower admissions included in their plan! Check the benefits of YOUR pass to see!