Dine With Shamu – A Dinner You Will Never Forget At SeaWorld Orlando

dine with shamuDine with Shamu at SeaWorld Orlando

 

Dine with Shamu at SeaWorld Orlando is quite possibly the most unique and memorable dining experience I have ever had.

We were invited by SeaWorld Orlando to take in this experience, and my Mom, Zoe, and I had such an amazing time!

dine with shamu
Our view for our Dine with Shamu experience

During a buffet that featured sustainable, organic, seasonal or locally grown ingredients that aim to minimize environmental impacts to animals and their habitats, we got closer than we ever expected to these beautiful and powerful whales.

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The trainers work with the whales in different places of the Dine with Shamu area for everyone to get a great view.

The buffet at Dine with Shamu changes seasonally, but features seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables, certified sustainable seafood, all natural grain fed Beef Sirloin, oven roasted turkey breast, 100% natural pork loin with no preservatives or additives, seasonal accompaniments, fresh breads baked daily, signature desserts.

The beverages included in the price are assorted Coca-Cola® products, hot tea, coffee, beer, and wine

On the Kid’s Buffet you’ll find some of their favorite foods! Hot dogs, sea shell pasta with vine ripe tomato marinara and meatballs, mac and cheese , seasonal fresh fruits, and vegetables are offered in addition to the regular buffet.

The service at Dine with Shamu is amazing! My Mother is diabetic, and they even made sure she had a tasty dessert!

As we were eating, we noticed that the whales were slowly began swimming beside us. This was a great opportunity to get an incredible glimpse into the interactions that occur between the SeaWorld trainers and whales.

dine with shamu
Swimming before the fun really began

We got to watch them do fun tricks, how they are trained, conservation tips to help save ocean resources and habitats, and even learned what their favorite treats were (jell-o and ice cubes).

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Zoe and one of Shamu’s trainers

One of the best parts of the Dine with Shamu experience is that it is priced extremely reasonably! Adults (Ages 10+) $29.00 Children (Ages 3-9) $19.00, and there are Annual Passholder discounts available!

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This happened right next to our table…amazing!

Dine with Shamu is a behind-the-scenes experience that will increase your appreciation and knowledge of these amazing whales and their trainers. It’s only at SeaWorld Orlando, so I absolutely recommend that you take advantage of this unique dining experience during your next visit to the park!

dine with shamu
How whales say good-bye!

Additional Dine with Shamu Information:

  • Children under 3 are free but require a reservation.
  • A SeaWorld admission ticket is required but not included.
  • Proof of age (21) for purchase or consumption of alcohol beverages on these premises.  SeaWorld requires identification from anyone appearing 30 years of age or younger.
  • If you are concerned about food allergens, such as peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, milk, egg or soy, please note allergens at time of booking.
  • Florida sales tax will be added to all taxable items.
  • Dine with Shamu will be refunded if cancelled 24 hours in advance of the scheduled dine.
  • All events are subject to change and/or cancellation due to animal availability.
  • Events are not cancelled due to inclement weather; programs will still be offered except in the event of lightning.
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Feeding The Animals Of Walkabout Way At Busch Gardens

At Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, Zoe got to do something she’s wanted to do for ‘her whole entire life’…She got to feed kangaroos in the Walkabout Way area of the park.

 Walkabout Way

Guests ages 5 and older can purchase a cup of food for this experience at a nominal fee, but it is important to note that you can go in without purchasing food for the animals. If you are a Busch Gardens annual pass holder, you will want to make sure that you show your pass for a discount!

 Walkabout Way

In Walkabout Way you will find red and grey kangaroos, Bennett’s wallabies magpie geese, Australian black swans, and other native Australian species. And the best part is that the food that you purchase can be fed to any of the animals in this area!

 Walkabout Way

There are a few things to keep in mind if you want to feed the animals in Walkabout Way.

  • The first thing to keep in mind is that there are scheduled feeding times, which are posted at the entrance to the area. It is a good idea to visit at the beginning of a scheduled feeding, since the animals can get rather full if it is a busy day of treat giving.
  • The animals in this area are accustomed to being touched, so there are also tons of hand-washing stations located just outside of the Walkabout Way feeding area for your convenience.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions! There are experts on hand that can answer questions from your little ones, and love to share their passion for taking care of these beautiful animals.
  • Take tons of pictures! How cool is it to have a picture of you feeding a kangaroo or wallaby? Answer, VERY cool!

 Walkabout Way

I hope that you give feeding the animals of Walkabout Way a chance, and that it is as fun for you and your family as it was for mine!

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SeaWorld Orlando and Discovery Cove Expansions for 2012 and 2013

Earlier this morning SeaWorld Orlando had a HUGE announcement about new attractions and experiences coming to both SeaWorld and Discovery Cove in 2012 and 2013, and I cannot tell you how excited I am about them!!!

These new attractions represent the biggest attraction expansions in the history of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, the parks’ parent company.

Terry Prather, president of the company’s Orlando parks, SeaWorld, Discovery Cove and Aquatica, said, “With TurtleTrek at SeaWorld Orlando and Freshwater Oasis at Discovery Cove, travelers will have all new reasons to visit Orlando. What we’re creating will take you places you’ve never been before, places only SeaWorld can take you.”

 

 

While creating TurtleTrek (opening at SeaWorld Orlando in spring 2012), designers stayed true to SeaWorld’s unique blend of nose-to-nose animal encounters and state-of-the art entertainment.

Guests first visit two massive naturalistic habitats, one filled with hundreds of freshwater fish and gentle manatees, the other home to more than 1,500 saltwater fish and more than a dozen sea turtles.  Many of the manatees and sea turtles were rescued by the park’s animal team.  Since SeaWorld Orlando’s rescue programs began, the team has cared for and returned to the wild nearly 240 manatees and more than 1,200 sea turtles.

Moving on from the habitat, guests enter a domed theater, and what happens next has never before been seen and is a first at any theme park in the world.

Coming to life is a first-of-its-kind 3-D/360-degree dome theater film that is completely immersive. The dome allows a hyper-realistic 3-D movie to be shown all around guests and even above them – not just in front them or on only one screen. It’s this unique and immersive way of showcasing a sea turtle’s epic and astounding journey that is the heart of TurtleTrek. And for the first time, SeaWorld guests are given a turtle’s eye view of the ocean’s wonders.

TurtleTrek is as inspirational as it is astounding. There’s a call-to-action at the end of the experience:  SeaWorld calls on guests to join them in conserving the world we share. “Do a little, do a lot, but join us and do something to help the world and its animals,” said Brian Morrow, the attraction’s chief designer. “TurtleTrek is about the everyday heroes who can make a difference in nature.”

 

Opening at Discovery Cove in spring 2012 is Freshwater Oasis, an all-new attraction featuring swimming and wading adventures and face-to-face encounters with playful otters and curious marmosets.

Designed with a rainforest canopy above and sparkling-clear springs below, Freshwater Oasis is a natural fit within Discovery Cove’s tropical vibe. Guests can relax at the In-Water Relaxation Station and explore in the unique water ways and water-filled trails to discover marmosets and playful Asian otters. No matter where they turn, they’ll find endless discoveries.

Admission to the Freshwater Oasis is included with admission to Discovery Cove, a limited-admission, all-inclusive tropical resort where guests swim with dolphins, hand-feed tropical birds in a free-flight aviary, snorkel among thousands of colorful fish and rays and relax on pristine beaches.

 

 

Antarctica – Empire of the Penguin

Also announced was SeaWorld Orlando’s biggest-ever attraction expansion, Antarctica – Empire of the Penguin, opening spring 2013.

Through the years, SeaWorld Orlando has taken guests to far-flung corners of the globe, immersing them in the character and feel of exotic places and introducing them to unique worlds of adventure.

At the park’s “Wild Arctic” guests ride a simulated jet copter to the frozen north, into a habitat of polar bears, beluga whales and huge walruses. “Key West at SeaWorld” sets guests down in the funky ambience of the Florida Keys, with dolphins, stingrays and colorful birds. The rocky northern California coast is found at “Pacific Point Preserve,” with dozens of seals and sea lions. The park’s other attractions take guests into the worlds of sharks, sea turtles and manatees, or let guests soar like a ray on the Manta roller coaster or ride the back of a mythical beast, the Kraken.

But no journey is bigger — or as incredible — as the one to come in 2013. It’s a voyage to the bottom-of-the-world, to the coldest and windiest continent, to a place of ice more than 9,000- feet thick. It’s a journey to Antarctica and to the empire of the penguin.

Guests will be surrounded by the sights, sounds and awesome encounters found in this frozen place, embarking on a one-of-a-kind ride and an incredible family adventure.

They’ll experience the mystery and wonder of life on the ice through the eyes of a penguin, sensing the beauty and drama of their sometimes-dangerous habitat. Antarctica – Empire of the Penguin combines closer-then-ever animal connections with state-of-the-art interactive ride technologies for adventures that are different each time.

It’s an all-family experience that could only come from SeaWorld and can only be found at SeaWorld Orlando. And, it’s safe to say Antarctica – Empire of the Penguin will be the coldest theme park attraction in the world.

A year-and-a-half from opening at SeaWorld Orlando, details are few. For now, SeaWorld Orlando’s Antarctica will stay as mysterious as its namesake continent. “Only SeaWorld and its parks can take you on these journeys or bring these experiences to you,” said Prather. “We’re excited about what the future holds for our parks and our fans.”

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Visit Key West and Feed the Stingrays at Sea World Orlando

Upon entering the five acre section of “Key West at Sea World” from the main entrance, you will come upon Stingray Lagoon. The brightly colored shacks and vibrant music let you know that this is going to be a fun and quirky experience!

The Lagoon is home to over 200 rays that are all waiting to be viewed, touched, and most importantly fed! Also part of the area is sectioned off from the larger rays and humans to showcase stingray pups as they learn to interact with the world around them.

A Stringray near the feeding/touching ledge.

Stingray Lagoon is usually super busy, but there is always a Sea World expert on hand to give you tips, answer questions, and to help give an extra boost of confidence as you think about putting your hand in to touch and feed the rays.

Hey....Feed Me!!!

First things first, you will notice that these guys (and gals) are NOT shy. They will swim right up to the ledge and start flapping it with their fins to let you know that they are ready to play. You will definitely want to be careful, because their tank is filled with salt water which is super harmful to electronics!

They will splash A LOT!!!
If you want to feed the rays you can purchase a tray of five small fish from a nearby counter. The first tray costs $5.00, and you get a discount if you buy more trays.
They look super gross in this pic, but they really weren't that bad to touch.

The best way to feed the stingrays is by placing the small fish between your fingers and submerging your hand under the water so your fish is jiggling above your fingers. (Yes, jiggling is a purely technical term! J ) You want to feed them like this for two reasons. The first is that their mouth isn’t where you think it is, because they are bottom feeders their mouth is on the underside of their body. The second is that there are always a ton of birds around waiting to grab fish out of your hand. And the birds are definitely the most aggressive thing that you will find around Stingray Lagoon!!!

Don't feed 'em like this...but it does make for a cool picture!

These stingrays are super docile, and feel like a velvety sponge. At first little ones may be weirded out by the idea of sticking their hand elbow deep in water to feel this oddly shaped animal, but after they get their first “high five” they’ll be hooked.

We absolutely loved watching, feeding, and touching these beautiful and friendly stingrays! It is definitely something that we will do again!!!

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