For many kids, the best part about visiting aquariums is getting hands-on with the creatures. We’ve been long-time visitors at SeaWorld San Diego and appreciate that there are so many wonderful touch pools at this beautiful park. Rides and fun shows aside, Sea World San Diego is a perfect place for sea life interaction and learning.
SeaWorld San Diego Touch Pool Tips
One thing you’ll notice about all my Sea World San Diego touch pool images is that my son always has his hands in the water. He’s definitely my adventure seeker! I’m not fond of putting my hand in the cold water or touching the fish myself but I can still learn without touching.
- There are many touch pools at SeaWorld San Diego. If you aren’t sure if you can reach in, always ask one of the “Animal Care Ambassadors” first.
- Never lift an ocean creature OUT of the water. Some of the sea life shouldn’t be picked up at all. The Animal Care Ambassadors will offer handling instructions.
- If you’re concerned that your little one may not be gentle, don’t allow them to touch. I once saw a toddler throw a sea star back in the water!
- Ask the Ambassadors any question and they are always more than generous with their responses.
- There is also always a good amount of info posted around the park about each creature that lives there.
- During peak season, the touch pool areas will get very congested. Arrive early to allow plenty of time at the touch pools.
- There are hand-washing stations located near each of the touch pools so you can wash and dry after having your hands in the water.
For more information about SeaWorld San Diego click through to read my guide.
Get Hands on at Explorer’s Reef
Explorer’s Reef is SeaWorld’s newest touch pool exhibit. It’s located right up at the front entrance so guests can literally dive right in! Explorer’s Reef features four touch-pools including bamboo sharks and horseshoe crabs. Don’t forget the “cleaner fish” that tickle your fingers!
This area has plenty of shade. My kids always spend lots of time here touching the sea life and it can be hard to move them through to the rest of the Park! Consider setting a time limit to spend at each pool so you can make sure to visit them all.
Aquaria Touch Pool
At the Aquaria touch pool, guests can hold a sea star or a spiky sea urchin under the water. Kids are fascinated to feel the sea star curve its arms to fit in the palm of their hand. This has been a favorite area for us at Sea World San Diego for many years. Handlers will remind guests not to lift the creatures out of the water but you can hold them just under the surface.
In the last few years there have been fewer sea stars. We were told by the Ambassador that a mysterious syndrome had killed many of them. The species are now rebounding but it’s a cautious reminder to be very careful with these precious creatures.
“Pet” the bat rays as they slide across the water but watch out for errant fins, you could really get soaked! All of these rays have had their stingers removed so they are completely safe to touch.
Dolphins, Penguins and Beluga Whales
If you want more animals to touch, consider Dolphin Encounter. Guests can purchase a trainer-led, poolside encounter with the bottle-nosed dolphins. Or the Penguins Up-Close Tour, which allows petting and a behind-the-scenes educational tour.
For more in-depth learning and interaction, guests can purchase the opportunity to get into the water with these creatures. During these up-close encounters, guests can touch, feed and will learn communication techniques. Guests can purchase these packages on the SeaWorld website.
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