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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!

SeaWorld San Diego's animal care center shelters and protects this pregnant dolphin 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
This tour is the one you'll discover in detail as you read through this page. It's a one hour tour that will take you to 2 of the "working areas" behind the gates at SeaWorld in San Diego. Cost for adults is $13; kids 3--9 is $11. Annual pass holders get a discount for this tour (and all the others described in this section, as well.)

2.) The Saving-a-Species Tour: This is another one-hour tour, this time with an emphasis on SeaWorld's animal and bird conservation activities. (The three SeaWorld Parks are major activists in the field of animal conservation.) Because part of your tour fee becomes a donation to SeaWorld's conservation efforts, the price for this one-hour tour is a bit higher than the Behind the Scenes tour. Adults taking the Save-a-Species tour pay $19, while the kids price is $16.

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.

5.) Wild Arctic Up-Close Tour: Do you enjoy taking the fun Wild Arctic simulated helicopter ride at SeaWorld? And, is one of your favorite parts of the attraction AFTER the helicopter ride is over? If you're one of the many people who can't wait to leave the theater and head out into the animal display areas, then this close-up tour of the Wild Arctic exhibits was just MADE for you! On this one-hour tour, you'll get to find out favorite fun facts about beluga whales and walruses...and get to spend some extra special time with these animals What are the tour prices? Tickets cost $60 for adults and kids age 10 and over. Tour prices for youngsters are $56 for ages 3 thru 9.

FURTHER INFO ABOUT SeaWorld TOURS: You may find out further details concerning these tours at SeaWorld's website,; at SeaWorld's "educational" website,; 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 Started

SeaWorld San Diego's Reservations Center building While 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.

Seaworld tour group members walk between several presentation points during their tour

My tour group had about 2 dozen people in give you an idea of the size. The first order of the day is to walk to the group's first touring point...which, in our case, was the Shark Lab (which lies beneath the Shark Encounter building.)

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!

First tour stop: Guide discusses shark vs. other fish 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!

2nd tour stop: A visit to the shark hatchery and nursery

While in the SeaWorld Shark Lab, we learned that one of the lab's major purposes is to be a hatchery and nursery to baby sharks. The reason for this, we discovered, is that sharks have no moral problems about eating their own (or other shark's) babies. So, eggs are hatched here, and the babies are allowed to grow safely away from the adult sharks.

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 help keep the sharks' behavior calm.)

Yikes!  Sharks have MANY rows of teeth! On one wall of the shark lab, there is an exhibit of shark teeth. We learned an interesting fact about shark and their famous razor-sharp teeth: Some sharks can go through 35,000 to 45,000 teeth in a lifetime! How is that possible? Well, for one thing, shark teeth are continually growing. When one tooth wears out---ooooo!---from all that flesh-eating, then another tooth grows in right behind it.

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!)

A fearsome shark swims directly over my head in SeaWorld's clear Shark Tunnel Next, our SeaWorld Behind the Scenes tour group left the Shark Lab and entered the Shark Encounter exhibit's see-through "shark tunnel." (Going through the clear shark tunnel is an experience that ALL park guests may enjoy. It's really a "must," too. It seems like you're walking right under the ocean side-by-side with the sharks!

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 Center

Pregnant dolphin inspects tour guests Our 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 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.

Mom and baby dolphin swim in the Animal Care Center pool On the day of our tour, there were 3 dolphins in the female tank---a "new mom" and her baby, plus a pregnant dolphin. (You see the pregnant dolphin in the photo at your left...and also in the picture at the very top of this page.)

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.

Eel tank at SeaWorld's Animal Care Center

Another animal tank we were able to observe was the eel tank. Of course, the SeaWorld eel tank at the Animal Care Center is what you're observing in the image on your left. Our Behind the Scenes tour guide, of course, told the group all sorts of interesting eel facts as we stood beside the tanks...but, unfortunately, I wasn't listening to them! The pregnant dolphin kept swimming as close as she could to out group to look at us...even though we had moved on. I couldn't take my eyes off of her!

SeaWorld San Diego Animal Hospital Next, we gazed into the SeaWorld Animal Hospital...which, thankfully, was away from the dolphin pool so that I could pay better attention to the guide's comments! As you can tell from the photo on your right, the SeaWorld Animal Hospital is equipped even for surgeries.

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 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 that when the time comes for their vet visit, the animal won't have to perform any unknown behaviors that might scare them.

SeaWorld Sea Lion Baby Next, our group moved on to the Sea Lion area. On this day, there were several baby sea lions resting in an enclosure. While standing beside the sea lions, our guide mentioned several interesting facts about them. Unfortunately for me, the Sea Lion pen is another area that's in sight of the pregnant dolphin...who STILL wasn't tired of looking at us. Once again, I was busy paying attention to her when I should have been listening! I did, however, start to pay more attention to the sea lions when one playful pup (seen in this photo to your left) became interested in our group and waddled up to the fence to take a better peek at us!

Seaworld Sea Turtle

We moved on once again, and saw a sparkling aqua blue sea turtle tank.
Alas, I once again missed an interesting lecture because of paying attention to the pregnant dolphin. I was, however, able to snap a nice shot of this sea turtle laying on the pool's floor. (That's the picture you're viewing on your right.)

Then, very sadly, our tour was over! Our guide was very friendly and helpful, offering anyone who wished to stay "after class" and ask questions. And he did, indeed, stay to answer all questions until there were no more asked!



Use the button to your left to see photos of still MORE SeaWorld attractions and fun!

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