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ULTIMATE GUIDE to Seaworld San Diego with Toddlers

ULTIMATE GUIDE to Seaworld San Diego with Toddlers

Visiting Seaworld San Diego with toddlers is a must for any San Diego itinerary with kids. In this guide we will tell you how to make the most out of your visit to, in our opinion one of the best theme parks in California for toddlers telling you everything from the best things to do to, the best rides and other travel tips for enjoying your day. 

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Seaworld San Diego with toddler tips

Seaworld Tips

Seaworld Tips

Go Off Season

One of the best things about travelling with a toddler is the ability to travel in off-peak times i.e. you are not restricted to traveling at weekends and during school vacations.

If you travel off season then you are likely to face less queues which is a sure fire win when travelling with a toddler. It will also reduce your costs as hotels etc will be cheaper

However, if you like me can no longer travel in the off season due to older siblings school commitments be sure to check a Seaworld San Diego Crowd Calendar to look for days that won’t be as busy. 

Buy Your Tickets in Advance

It is a great idea to book your tickets online in advance. Even if you get there at opening you will find that there are already queues to get inside Seaworld. You will greatly reduce your wait time by having your tickets pre purchased and having them ready for staff to view. You will get inside the parks much quicker if you do this. 

Go Before Your toddler turns 2

If you are traveling to Sand Diego with toddlers and have a tight budget you may want to consider traveling to Seaworld before your toddler turns 2. 

Children under the age of 2 do not need a ticketw hich will save you a considerable amount of money. It is a great way to cut some of the spend if you are travelling to Seaworld on a budget but depending on the height of your toddler may restrict how many rides they can go on. Seaworld is more than just rides but you may want to consider what is important to you to decide whether or not it is worth saving money versus the ability to go on more rides. 

Rope Drop

We recommend getting for Seaworld before its official opening time to allow you to have time to park and walk over to the entrance and start the check in process. That way as soon as the park opens you can head to there rides that you most want to do. 

The lines at SeaWorld get busier as the day goes on so by getting their for rope drop you will be able to maximise your time and get on more rides. 

Don’t underestimate the heat

California is undoubtedly a hot place especially if you are travelling to SeaWorld Diego in the summer months. Be sure that you pack plenty of drinks for your toddler, take your reusable water bottle with you to get refilled and do not forget plenty of sun cream.

We were surprised with how many of the attractions at SeaWorld such as the ride queues and the shows didn’t have any shade cover. Be sure to reapply your sunscreen before long queues and shows regularly throughout the day.

Dress Appropriately

In the summer SeaWorld can be very hot but don’t underestimate how chilly it can get in Winter and in the wind. Be sure to take layers and dress for the weather for both you and your toddler. 

Measure your toddlers height before you arrive

There aren’t a lot of rides at Seaworld that don’t have a height restriction (we will let you know the best rides for toddlers at Seaworld below) so to avoid disappointment be sure to measure your toddler before you go so you will know exactly what they can and can’t ride. It will save you some toddler tantrums if you can manage that situation before it starts. 

Download the Seaworld App

As well as preparing what to pack you should prepare your phone for a day at Seaworld. The biggest tip I have is for you is to download the SeaWorld app. This app will not only be helpful for navigation and finding accessible routes that can be used with a stroller but will also show you wait times and show times so you can plan your day around your toddler. 

Bring a stroller

The Seaworld San Diego site is a large one and it can be a lot for toddler’s little legs. If your toddler wants to go to the orca show, the dolphin show and do the Sesame area rides you will want to have a stroller with you as there is quite a lot of walking between these areas. For our favorite strollers for theme parks check out this post. 

Utilise rider swap

One of the thing we have learnt is that when traveling to theme parks with toddlers is that you should always ask about whether or not you can use rider swap. 

We usually use this when our toddler is napping. Rider swap means that one of you can queue and ride while another of you looks after your toddler who does not meet the height restriction and then switch over. 

SeaWorld San Diego does not advertise its rider swap ability however they definitely have it as we used on a couple of rides such as the Journey to Atlantis ride. Be sure to ask the team members at ride entrances or when about to board and they will tell you whether or not that attraction has rider swap available and what you need to do for it. 

What to Pack for toddlers at Seaworld San Diego


One of my toddler’s favourite things about visiting Seaworld was all the water play activities on site. If your toddler wants to enjoy all the splash pads be sure to bring swim wear and swim diapers with you so they can enjoy themselves without you worrying about their clothes. 

We would also recommend bringing a pair set of clothes or two for your little one in case they get so excited and don’t wait to change into their swimwear before charging into the splash areas. 


Snacks are expensive at Seaworld and I have to say I didn’t find too many snacks that I would class as healthy and here is nothing worse in theme parks than a hangry toddler in a queue therefore we advise you to  pack plenty to keep your toddler happy and save your pennies.

Pull Up Diapers

We found the changing tables at Seaworld to be quite small for our tall 18 month year old. We were very please that he was wearing pull up diapers as this made changes on small changing tables easier. 

I also recommend bringing these even if you have potty trained your toddler. While my advice is to make sure you take a toilet break after every ride, you never know when your toddler may need the bathroom so having some pull ups with you for extra long queues is always a good idea. 

Best Things to do at Seaworld San Diego with toddlers


Seaworld San Diego with toddlers

Seaworld San Diego with toddlers

There are lots of shows at Seaworld San Diego however we find that some are better with toddlers than others. 

If you toddlers don’t like to sit still for too long you may want to select which shows you go to. Our little one enjoyed the sea lion show as there are lots of laughs and antics in this show so is quite an easy sell. 

My little one also enjoyed the orca show especially as we were sat at the front in the splash zone however not all toddlers would enjoy this so be sure to tailor your day to what your little one likes. 

Meet and Greets

Although Seaworld isn’t as famous as say Disneyland for meet and greets there are plenty available. SeaWorld has a tie up with Sesame Street. The toddlers area and toddler friendly rides at Sea World are in the Sesame Street Bay of Play and there are plenty of Sesame Street Meet and Greets to also keep your toddlers entertained. 

Seaworld toddler friendly rides

Toddler Rides at SeaWorld San Diego

Toddler Rides at SeaWorld San Diego

Although not renown for it’s toddler friendly rides especially by comparison to to say Legoland with toddlers or Disneyland or California Adventure with toddlers.  However in the Sesame Street Bay of Play there are some Seaworld rides with no height restrictions that are perfect for toddlers. 

Note: Some of the rides at SeaWorld San Diego do have height restrictions unless accompanied by an adult so be sure to check whether they can ride alone or need an adult to go on. On these rides you may have to demonstrate that children can sit or walk unaided for boarding to be allowed. 

Some of the rides that toddlers can ride alone or with an adult are:

  • Abby’s Sea Star Spin
  • AquaScout 
  • Elmo’s Flying Fish
  • Octorock
  • Oscar’s Rockin’ Eel
  • SeaDragon Drop

For a complete guide on SeaWorld San Diego rides with no height restrictions check out this guide. 

Explore the hands on exhibits

One of my toddlers favorite things to do at SeaWorld San Diego is to explore the hands on exhibits where you can touch things such as starfish. Just be sure your toddler understands they must be gentle and follow all of the Seaworld staff instructions in relation to handling and cleanliness. 

FAQs about SeaWorld san Diego for toddlers

Seaworld San Diego with toddlers

Seaworld San Diego with toddlers

Are toddlers free at Seaworld San Diego?

To get free entry at Seaworld San Diego toddlers must be younger than two years of age. Toddlers aged 2 years or older are required to pay admission. 

Is SeaWorld San Diego fun for toddlers?

In our opinion SeaWorld San Diego is fun for toddlers having been with one myself. My toddler loved the combination of Sesame Street Meet and Greets, rides and wildlife attractions. 
However it is not my favourite theme park for toddlers in California but I do think it is worth adding this to your San Diego with toddlers itinerary.