I have to say - with some small embarrassment - that I was psyched out of my mind to be going to Sea World. Between us, Michael and I debated where we wanted our big outing to be - Sea World or the Zoo. We told June we were going to California/"the ocean" and one time she said, "See dolphin and whales!" Michael gave me the side-eye and accused me of putting June up to siding with me to tip the voting scales.
(I swear I didn't.)
(But only because I hadn't thought about it yet.)
So it was decided. We were going to see Shamu.
We got there about 15 minutes before it opened. Knowing that June usually naps in the middle of the day, we didn't know how long we'd make it before she started crashing. To make the most of our time, we got there 15 minutes before the park opens at 9.
It was perfect. First of all, it was overcast and just a tad chilly, which felt wonderful to our parched Arizona skin. It was also empty! For the first hour and a half, it seemed like we were some of the only people in the park!
In contrast, look what it was like around 2:00 pm when we were about ready to leave:
Since June is so little, we didn't go on any of the rides (other than the Skyride/gondola), which are the big attractions. That saved us a lot of time, and gave us extra time to check out all the animals.
You can't see much here, but the pool behind us is the dolphin encounter, and a dolphin is just chillin' over our left shoulders.
There were three shows I wanted to get to. We sat in the Soak Zone all three times, but towards the top, so we never actually got wet. (I did nerd-out and bring garbage bags to put all of our belongings in...not needed in the end, I guess, but I'd recommend it for EVERYONE sitting further down!)
June wasn't exactly shrieking in delight the whole time, but she was certainly captivated. I think it was just a lot to take in, you know? We had birds flying, people doing tricks while suspended over the water, dolphins jumping in formation... Of course I asked her what her favorite part of the whole thing was, and she said it was when the "girl came out of the door." In the first moment of the show, a door rose up out of the ground and a girl stepped out.
So...that was the show stopper for our daughter.
The show I might have skipped, but attended because of seeing such rave reviews online, was the pet show. It was all sorts of dogs and cats and ducks and birds and other random animals (kangaroo, emu, pig) doing tricks. It was SUCH a hit with June, with plenty of clever jokes that kept us adults laughing too.
The last show we needed to see was Shamu, of course. This was tons of fun, especially since half the show is all about the whales splashing the crowd. June kept talking about how silly the whales were for splashing, and doing the Shamu hand signal to call for more splash action.
We were some of the last people to leave the stadium, and the trainers had the whales come out and do some last-minute tricks for the few of us left. So June got an up-close look, as in this picture below:
It was getting pretty hot and sunny by then, and we were all pretty tired. We made a run to the gondola ride, enjoyed an ice cream bar and then headed home.
But not without a stop at the gift shop, of course. Because we're suckers. And love spending $22.95 on items that June simply cannot live without. She had her sunglassed-eyes set on a penguin that converts into a purple pillow and it was a love that could not be denied.
She and her new soulmate were napping within 30 seconds of starting the car, which signals a day well-spent.
Ugh. My heart's contentedness at this day. To even have a conversation with June about "The whale might get us wet, okay? Do you want the whale to splash us?" made (and continues to make) me so happy.
We had such a lovely time, and now I can't wait to come back in a few years when she's big enough to ride the big rides...and sit in the REAL Soak Zone.