Consider an aquatic holiday with a family trip to SeaWorld San Diego.

You can see it from the freeway, it’s the Skytower. This 320-foot icon is especially noticeable this time of the year when it is decorated with lights and becomes a giant Christmas tree, known as the Holiday Tree of Lights. You’ll find it lit up every night through Christmas. Rides up the Skytower are now included in the regular admission price.

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SeaWorld's 320-foot Skytower (in the foreground at the front of the park is SeaWorld’s icon tree, with marine-themed ornaments)


Get there early to play in the fresh stuff. For the first time ever, SeaWorld has a huge park filled with real snow for families to build snowmen, dig caves and have an old fashioned snow ball fight. No where else can you be so close to the ocean and be able to make snow angels.

The Polar Express 4-D Experience

Returning again is the popular 4-D adventure of The Polar Express. The show has become an annual tradition at Sea World and is not to be missed. The show is only 12 minutes long, but the line can stretch for over an hour. It’s somewhere to visit when you first arrive as crowds tend to reach that part of the park later in the day.

Christmas Tails show

Another new show to catch are shelter-rescue animals from Pets Rule! in a special yuletide show for the holidays. Young children and children of all ages will love this show that runs about five times throughout the day. The first show is the least busy, so make it a priority.

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Breakfast with Shamu and Santa

For an additional cost, you can also experience the holiday magic of breakfast with both Shamu and Santa. These special breakfasts hare held weekends through December 24th. Tickets maybe purchased inside SeaWorld but it is best to buy them at the main ticket window and seating is limited and sells out very fast. The regular Dine with Shamu offers are extremely popular, so one can imagine just how quickly the breakfast will sell out.

Culinary Christmas Delights

It is a little known fact that SeaWorld offers some of the best tasting theme park food around. During the Christmas Celebration, there will be special menu items and treats at all the park restaurants and many of the kiosks. Mama Stella’s Pizza Kitchen has delicious Italian food and there is always outdoor seating available, check out the traditional Italian holiday treats on the menu.

Insider tip: Have your kids bring their autograph book and then catch the Shamu and Crew characters from 9 a.m. to noon near the front gate. Closer to noon, most people have come into the park and Shamu is much more accessible for photo opportunities.

SeaWorld San Diego’s “Christmas Celebration” takes place on the weekends through Dec. 12 and then daily from Dec. 17 through Jan. 1! All Christmas Celebration festivities are included with Sea World admission, which is $73 for ages 10 and older; $65 for ages 3–9.

The SeaWorld parks are giving away a prize every day through December 25 to an online entrant – including cash and VIP experiences at the different parks around the country. Enter here.

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Aracely Worley thrives on day trips like this and chronicles them at Daytripping Mom.