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Take the SeaWorld Behind the Scenes Tour!
Learn about SeaWorld's delightful animals...while having fun!
In the slide show above, you're viewing pictures of SeaWorld San Diego's Behind the Scenes tour. As you watch the photos pass by, you'll be viewing pictures of SeaWorld's animal hospital, including the operating rooms, lab, and enclosures for sick, pregnant and/or newborn animals. Have you ever thought about taking the Behind the Scenes tour at SeaWorld? All 3 locations offer them...not only San Diego, but also Orlando & San Antonio, as well. Hopefully, this page will help you decide!
List of SeaWorld tours
You will explore areas of SeaWorld which visitors seldom see!If you're making your first visit to SeaWorld, you may be overwhelmed at the sheer number of shows and exhibits available for you to see. In fact, it's very difficult to see everything on your first day's visit. It could take 1 1/2 to 2 days to take in the attractions which are included in your SeaWorld admission fee...especially if you want to examine each exhibit thoroughly.
Nevertheless, if you're a SeaWorld lover who's made several trips to SeaWorld San Diego, Orlando, or San Antonio already, you may feel like you're "ready to experience MORE." See animals more closely. Learn more interesting facts not shared with the general public. Dig just a little deeper into the world of marine animals.
Does this "yearning for more" sound like you? Then, you'd really enjoy taking one of SeaWorld's extra-fee tours. These tours range in price from a very reasonable $13 per person up to $60 (at the San Diego park), and are well worth the ticket price for a person who's interested in seeing SeaWorld's animals "up close and personal." Note: Prices are current as of Fall, 2012; SeaWorld may raise their prices at any time without notice.
Here's a list of the current SeaWorld San Diego tours offered (and the tour lists in Orlando and San Antonio are fairly similar)---
1.) The SeaWorld Behind the Scenes Tour
3.) The Animal Spotlight Tour This tour is 1 hour long, and would be a special delight for the true-blue animal lover. During the course of this tour, you'll actually get to touch and feed some of SeaWorld San Diego's animals. This may include bottlenose dolphins, sea turtles, eels or other animals. (SeaWorld cannot commit to an EXACT itinerary for your tour. What you'll see on your particular tour is what's available for viewing on the day you attend.)
Fees for this 1-hour touch-and-feed program are $42 for adults; $38 for kids.
4.) The Penguin Experience Tour: On this fun SeaWorld tour, you'll go behind-the-scenes at the park's Penguin Experience exhibit. You'll learn all about the penguins that SeaWorld has...both in the interior (cold section) of the building, and on the outside of the exhibit (where the warmer-weather Magellanic penguins live.) You'll even get to pet and touch penguins on this tour! Plus, as you go "behind the scenes" in the Penguin Experience exhibit, you'll see parts of the building no visitor gets to view except to tour members! Fees for this one-hour tour are $42 for ages 10 and over, and $38 for kids age 3-9.
FURTHER INFO ABOUT SeaWorld TOURS: You may find out further details concerning these tours at SeaWorld's website, seaworld.com; at SeaWorld's "educational" website, seaworld.org; or you may call 1-800-25-SHAMU. (This phone number is a recorded-info line...but if you keep pressing the buttons for "tour info," you'll eventually reach a live person who can answer your questions.)
TO CHECK CURRENT PRICES OR BOOK A TOUR: You may purchase tickets only on SeaWorld's official websites. Have in mind the date and time you'd like to take the tour before you head to their website; it may be necessary for you to specify. Here's the Special Tours page of the SeaWorld San Diego Website, for your convenience. Also, here are the SeaWorld Orlando Tours and the SeaWorld San Antonio Tours pages, as well. It will probably be a tough decision deciding WHICH of these wonderful tours you want to take first!
SeaWorld Behind the Scenes Tour: Getting StartedWhile you MAY reserve your spot in the SeaWorld Behind the Scenes Tour, you don't HAVE to. You may head to the Reservations Center on the day you tour the park. (The Reservations Center is the building you're seeing in the photo on your left.)
On the day that I took the SeaWorld Behind the Scenes Tour, I had a choice of several tour times. The first tour of the day began at 11:30 am (which is the tour time I selected), the second was at 1:30 pm, and the 3rd was later in the afternoon. You may pay for your tour at the reservations center with either cash, debit card or major credit card.
When your tour time arrives, you'll head back to the reservations center again, which is where the SeaWorld Behind the Scenes Tour begins.
As we walked along towards the Shark Lab, our tour guide kept up a patter about miscellaneous SeaWorld facts. He was not wearing a microphone. Thus, people who want to hear what he's saying need to stay towards the front of the group.
In the photo to your right, you see our group trekking towards our first stopping point. (In this spot, we're passing by the Manatee Rescue exhibit building.)
SeaWorld Behind the Scenes Tour: The Shark Lab!My tour group's first stop was at SeaWorld's Shark Lab. The tour group leader opened a gate for us to pass into an area---oooooo!---where "regular" Sea World guests aren't allow to go!
We paused for several minutes by a poster (which you see in the picture to your left.) While standing beside this poster, our Behind the Scenes tour guide explained some of the differences between sharks and other fishes.
Following this discussion, he opened a door on the back of a building and---ooooo!---we entered into still anothere "secret" place where regular park guests aren't allowed to go! We were in the SHARK LAB!
In the photo to your right, you see a baby shark resting in the "shark nursery" tank. The tank held at least half a dozen sharks...and they were all "lazy." That is, none were being aggressive with their companions. (Indeed, the SeaWorld folks keep them well-fed., just as they do the adult sharks...to help keep the sharks' behavior calm.)
To make matters worse for the sharks' victims, sharks don't have just one row of teeth, as do we humans! As you can see from my close-up photo of these shark teeth (on your left), sharks have row upon row of teeth! And, if you'll notice, these teeth aren't lined up nice-and-straight, like our human teeth are. The shark teeth grow at various different angles...all the better to tear their victims' skin and muscles to shreds!
One other interesting fact (among many!) that we learned about sharks is that they can smell 1 part of blood per MILLION parts of water! (So, THAT'S how they can find wounded victims so easily!)
Also, their eyes are much better than human eyes. They can see 15 to 20 feet in MURKY (not clear) water...and they see best of all at night! (Yikes, we don't stand a chance against them! Oooooo!)
Although I'd been in SeaWorld's Shark Tunnel before on other park visits, going through the tunnel after just hearing the shark-facts lecture made the experience seem extra-special. We learned facts about SeaWorld San Diego's sharks as we walked through the tunnel together. For example, the longest shark in this pool is aSand Tiger shark, which is just over 9 feet long. The sand tiger's personality is rather docile, our guide said. So what shark is SeaWorld's most ferocious, then? It's an 8 foot Lemon Shark (also kept in this pool at the Shark Encounter exhibit.) The Lemon Shark must be kept well-fed to keep it from snacking on its fellow sharks within the tank!
Highlight of the SeaWorld Behind the Scenes Tour: Seaworld's Hospital & Animal Care CenterOur tour group left the flamingos, marched along together for a bit longer, and then arrived at our destination. It was the SeaWorld San Diego's Animal Care area! Once again, our tour guide unlocked a gate and---ooooo!---we steped into a private world which remains a secret mystery to non-tour-attending park guests.
The SeaWorld Animal Care Area was saved for last sight on the tour for a good reason---it was DEFINITELY the tour's highlight, and would be a "hard act to follow." The Animal Care Area is large, and consists of a number of pools and tanks, plus the SeaWorld Animal Hospital and Lab.
Our first view in the Animal Care Area was of the 2 dolphin tanks. Ill or injured animals recuperate here. There are 2 tanks...one for the male dolphins, and one for the females. First, we looked at the male dolphin pool...and then, we went on to look at the females.
The pregnant dolphin is staying in the pool not only for some "quiet time," but also to observe the Mother and Baby dolphins as they interact. Sea World experience has shown that first-time dolphins "know what to do" when their babies are born better if they've actually seen other dolphins engaging in the child-raising process beforehand.
The pregnant dolphin had a simply charming personality. She couldn't get enough of looking at the tour group, and circled back to look at us time and again!
The mother-dolphin was preoccupied with her baby, and didn't pay much attention to our tour group. (That's the mother dolphin and her child in the photo to your right.) Nevertheless, it was a pleasure to watch the two of these beautiful creatures together, constantly swimming side-by-side of one another.
Most of the animal's medical care at SeaWorld isn't so drastic as surgery, though. Expert SeaWorld veterinarians oversee an aggressive "wellness" program at the park...an attempt to PREVENT illnes before it happens, rather than "fix up" the animals once they've already become sick.
Part of this illness-prevention program involves drawing each animal's blood every 6 months. How would you like to have to draw a killer whale's blood!
To help out the park's veterinarians, the killer whale trainers (and, if fact, the trainers of ALL the park's animals) teach the animals how to perform "medical behaviors." They learn how to show the doctor their fins, their tails, their mouths, etc. in advance...so that when the time comes for their vet visit, the animal won't have to perform any unknown behaviors that might scare them.