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By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

(Photo, left of Aria and Rakeem Williams courtesy of Shannan Williams)

Feb. 14, 2021 (San Diego) – After Governor Gavin Newsom lifted the stay-at-home order in late January,  SeaWorld in San Diego opened portions of their site to the public on Feb. 6 including exhibits of aquatic animals, though other attractions remain closed, including rides. Seaworld is a permitted and accredited zoo. 

However, shows such as the orca, dolphin, and seal/otter show are held at various times during the day.

Discounted passes and special promotions are available.

Additionally, teachers in East County and elsewhere can utilize Sea World’s offer of a free 2021 Teacher Fun Card. They are offering a complimentary 2021 Teacher Fun Card to all certified K-12 Southern California and Arizona credentialed schoolteachers. Preschoolers are also offered a special rate.,*Blockout%20dates%20apply*.

A teacher of another type, Shannan Williams, a fitness instructor who is also a case worker, has led fitness classes in East County at 24 Hour Fitness Centers in Santee, La Mesa, and other locations for several years (when they were open).

Williams took the opportunity to take family her family the first day that Sea World was open, Feb. 6, to enjoy the marine life on the 100-acre attraction.

Reservations are required and a limit on how many can attend on any given day are enforced. Masks are mandatory in accordance with C.D.C. guidelines.

“Everyone wore masks,” said Williams, Additionally, temperature checks were done before guests could enter the park.

“If guests used strollers, the temperature checks were manual,” said Williams. “But others walks through the aisle with the camera.  One person, that operated the temperature camera, can see all the temperatures of everyone that passes…..super cool.

“Manual for anyone who goes through the stroller side,” she further explained.

(Photo of temperature checks  by Rebecca Jefferis Williamson)

How did they navigate the park?

“We normally go to SeaWorld for the aquariums, so it’s sad they are not open right now, understandably. All of the rides are closed too, but it seems more peaceful because of it and the animals must appreciate that I’d imagine,” she said.

“Our kids love the touch pools, so that’s where we spent a lot of time. Also watching the dolphins in the dolphin pool. One dolphin threw its buoy out of the pool and splashed us in the face.”

Adding: “Our two-year-old, Aria, talked about that for days! “Dolphin splashed me” super cute!” said Williams.

The park used social distancing markings, limited seating in the stadiums and after the shows had a SeaWorld employee take guests out in groups that stopped the typical mass crowd exiting a show phenomenon.

“They socially distanced really well coming into the park and all over including in the lines for food and even the touch pools etc,” she said. “Hand sanitizers were everywhere.”

They enjoyed pretzel dogs during their visit. But a wide variety of foods are available such as salmon, veggie burgers, and other items.

(Photo or Orca show courtesy of Rebecca Jefferis Williamson) 

“Right now, we enjoyed just walking around doing anything that exhausts our toddler,” she said. “Our teen, Kaylana, enjoys it as well. She misses the manta ride, but she loves petting the manta rays, so she’s happy either way. It’s sad how much is closed, but it’s all temporary and necessary. I personally kind of enjoy things not being as crowded. Since you have to make reservations it’s far less people everywhere.”

Williams explained her experience making reservations:

“It’s easy, but you probably can’t do it the day of. I’m not sure, but it sells out---or reaches the limit should I say. We made a few reservations for the future,” she said.

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