Monday, July 17, 2023

California Part 8 - Sea World and Ocean Beach

 On our last full day in San Diego we headed to Sea World and first things first headed to see the orcas.  

There's nothing cooler than putting your ear up to the glass and hearing them communicate.

Later in the day we saw the orca show as well - I sat in the 'non-splash' section, Mason sat as close as he could get and the rest of our crew sat somewhere in the middle ;) 


Avoiding getting wet ;) 


We spent the rest of our day checking out the rest of the animals like beluga whales...

... walruses...

.... sharks...


We fed sea lions...

... touched sea urchins...

and sea stars...

... and got to feed rays.

We saw otters...

... and dolphins...

... and puffins...

... and had all these little sucker fish eat stuff off of our hands ;) hahaha

So here's my honest take on Sea World:

- my kids had zero desire to do any of the rides and the lines for those rides were super long.  If your kids aren't into large amusement park rides you may be better off checking out the aquarium.

- the whole place seemed "dated"... now, maybe it's just that we had just experienced Disney and our standards were too high but we weren't super impressed

- The animals on exhibit are GORGEOUS and I'm not sure why I feel this way about Sea World and not about zoos but the enclosures just seemed small and kind of sad.  I'm sure that Sea World does some great things for conservation and rehabilitation but there's just something about seeing these incredible animals that would have the entire ocean at their disposal kept in pools that kind of makes me sad.  I'm sure they're receiving excellent care and maybe it was the fact that they were "performing" - I don't know.  I'm still glad we went, still glad that my kids got to see and appreciate animals that they may not have had a chance to otherwise but just keep that in mind if you're trying to prioritize what you want to do while in San Diego.

- We bought each of us a CityPASS which were super convenient to use and included admission to Sea World automatically as well as the USS Midway, San Diego Zoo and the City Cruise.  The only thing we had to book ahead of time was the cruise and it was super easy to do on the app.

I took this picture after Sea World which is why it's randomly in this post but we rented through Sixt and had a great experience.  We picked a full-size SUV since we knew we'd have bags and it was great. Super convenient and easy pickup and dropoff and zero complaints!  I hadn't heard of the company before so I wanted to mention it!  (sidenote: Dave had a couple of different BMWs before we had kids -  He sold his favorite BMW when I was pregnant with Luke since they're notoriously expensive to fix - and so it was fun to get back in his favorite car!)

After Sea World the plan was to head back to Ocean Beach and grab burgers at Hodads but everyone was STARVING and so we broke our traveling rule of "local restaurants only" and hit up In-and-Out.  We figured it was more authentic than our Texas In and Outs ;) 

When we got back to Ocean Beach we stopped to grab some souvenirs...

We picked up a few things at Ocean Gifts and shells and then popped into an antique store right down the street which was the coolest!

They even had puppies on the counter which sealed the deal.

We got back to the house and really just spent the rest of the night hanging out and enjoying the beach and the balcony.

Hard to believe it was our last night!

Saturday morning we were up and at 'em fairly early to get checked out of the VRBO by 10. 

A friend recommended we get the chocolate bread from Con Pane (they only make it on Saturday and Sunday) and so we HAD to check that out...

... and then we hung out at the park for a bit eating our bread...

... and helping catch a dog that was on the run ;) hahaha

And then headed to the airport all dreading landing in Dallas to temps 30+ degrees warmer than what we'd been enjoying.

SO SO SO grateful that we were able to take our kids on this trip and cross off several bucket list items...
- swimming in the Pacific
- Disneyland
- seeing koalas!!!

I hope you enjoyed following along and if you have any questions PLEASE don't hesitate to reach out!

HAPPY Monday, friends!!!


  1. Costco has great deals for rental cars for members! Has always been the best price available in my experience.

    1. I had no clue! I'll check that out next time - thanks for the tip!

  2. I have loved your recaps so much! And I booked this rental in October for a quick trip! QQ: The only other time I have been in this area, I stayed on Mission Beach for a girls trip and just used ride services. Did you guys spend any time up that way? Just wondering what the parking situation was like (probably tricky!). Also, I am glad to know that you rented a large vehicle and it worked at the rental parking spot.

    1. AHHH! I'm so jealous!!! You're going to LOVE IT!!! We didn't go to mission beach - but I'll say that parking pretty much EVERYWHERE was tricky!

  3. Yay! I loved these recaps so much!! So many fabulous memories, friend. xx

  4. I feel the same way about zoos, animals in cages, and pets in general (except for maybe dogs as house pets). I am glad you pointed that out that's it's sad that they are not in the wild in their natural habitat. On that same note, and I don't mean to be disrespectful but don't you have a pet lizard at home? I always feel really sorry for it. It should be outside in the wild and not a pet in a cage all its life. Please consider if you haven't already. If people stop buying such animals for pets, the stores will stop selling them!And I hope you take this the right way. Many times, I don't know if I am doing something hurtful unless someone points it out. I mean well. Thanks!

    1. I appreciate your sentiment - the only animal we have purchased is our dog, Rosie. All of our other animals (including our lizards) have been rescued/adopted and since they aren't wild aren't suitable to be released into the wild.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Thanks for your response! That makes me feel a bit better. And thanks for bringing attention to this important topic through your blog too. You seem like genuine, decent folks and I enjoy reading your blog sometimes. :-)

  5. I'm not necessarily anti-Sea World, but have you watched the documentary Blackfish? It is FASCINATING and will definitely make you think twice about things.

    Your trip sounds amazing!

  6. Loved reading your recaps! The place along the ocean looks awesome! I will check it out on a return trip to San Diego - one of my favorite spots.

  7. That sounds like a wonderful day; we once went to Sea World Orlando and fed many of the same things you did (plus dolphins). My kids are HUGE amusement park fans plus we went in the off season when there were real no lines to speak of so that definitely added to our enjoyment.


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