SeaWorld Orlando

SeaWorld Orlando is one of numerous theme parks in and around Orlando. While it has rides, this destination is more focused on live shows featuring marine life and zoological and ecological exhibits. A visit is perfect for travelers looking to add an educational element to their theme park experience, and especially those who have (or whose children have) a particular interest in marine life.

Three Must-See Attractions at SeaWorld Orlando
Everyone knows about SeaWorld's killer whale (Shamu) show, but don't miss the more theatrical dolphin show Blue Horizons or the highly entertaining Pets Ahoy. For thrill-seekers, the unique Manta roller coaster is a blast, kicking off with a head-first, face-down inverted nosedive.

Where to Stay Near SeaWorld Orlando
If you're hitting all the SeaWorld Orlando properties, including Discovery Cove and Aquatica, it's convenient to stay at a SeaWorld Parks and Resorts Orlando hotel, like the Hilton Grand Vacations, Doubletree by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Residence Inn, Renaissance, Fairfield Inn & Suites and others. Otherwise, you're in the middle of the country's leading tourist destination, where there are more hotels than most other places in the world, so the options are plentiful in every price range.

Best and Worst Time to Go to SeaWorld Orlando
SeaWorld doesn't get as insanely packed as the nearby Disney and Universal parks, but the bustle and lines can still be formidable, especially on weekends. September, October, and the first half of November are a great time to visit, with the thinnest crowds and accommodating weather.

The summer months are the busiest (and have the grossest weather), but March and April bring spring break crowds to rival the summer vacationers. The second half of December through the first week of January is the other busiest window of the year.

Discounts at SeaWorld Orlando
The most common way to save is to buy multi-park tickets; they're more than single park admission, obviously, but you get a break on admission to each park. SeaWorld frequently runs promotional offers, which can be found on the website. Also, check the website of Visit Orlando, the city's tourism organization, for discounted ticket offers. If you live close enough to the park to go at least a few times per year, an annual pass is a great deal.

Food at SeaWorld Orlando
Unfortunately, the food options at SeaWorld, like at all the area theme parks, aren't particularly exciting or delicious; the higher-quality restaurants are in the hotels and resorts. While you're at the park, Dine with Shamu and Sharks Underwater Grill are cool stops, but for the experience more than the food.

Parking at SeaWorld Orlando
Parking lot attendants usher you to the next available parking spot, eliminating the hunt for a lucky score. Your car will sit out in the direct sunlight all day and get quite hot, and a windshield cover won't help much, so don't leave your gallon of ice cream or anything else heat-sensitive in the car. At a little under $20, parking at SeaWorld is comparably priced to the other area parks.

Transportation Alternatives at SeaWorld Orlando
Many area hotels and resorts provide complementary shuttle service to SeaWorld Orlando, so check with yours. Also, Mears shared shuttles are a cost-efficient way to go with a group. If you're coming from International Drive, hop on either I-Ride Trolley line for a cheap, easy ride to the park. Several LYNX bus routes stop at SeaWorld, too, including 8, 38, 50, 111 and NeighborLink 641.

Author's bio: Eric Mohrman is a freelance travel and food writer living in downtown Orlando. Crazily enough, he really likes traveling, eating and writing.