Thursday, July 10, 2014

10 reasons you should take your special needs child to Sea World Texas.

Disclaimer I received discounted ticket to SeaWorld and Aquatic as well as quick queue passes and meal vouchers as part of Adventure Con 2014 Blogging Conference. However all opinion expressed her are my own.  My hopes are this post will help caregivers to make the most of their SeaWorld San Antonio adventure with a Special Needs Child.  Please keep in mind each child is unique and will respond differently. 

This summer my family and I attended Adventure Con 2014hosted by Sea World (see my post ).  As a mom of a child with Special Needs I was a little nervous to take my Special Needs child to a busy amusement park like SeaWorld, but since I check it out last year without her I was sure we would have a great time.

Sea World is an ADA compliant park, and they have gone above and beyond to help families with special needs enjoy their experience.  That is why I wanted to share how we navigate Sea World Texas with a special needs child. ( check out my other blog post Easy Tip for Special Needs Kids at Sea World San Antonio, Texas

1.  They have an Accessibility Pass.  Before you go to the park check out their website for information on their Accessibility Pass.  Then when you arrive at the park go to guest services and ask for the Accessibility pass.  There is nothing like being able to get your child as close to the rides as possible so you can transfer them from their wheelchair to the ride.  The Accessibility pass will allow your child and one guest to ride with them on a ride (on some rides more than one guest can accompany the child).  If your child has a stroller that acts as a wheelchair they have a red stickers that will help you from being stopped every time you try to go into a show and being ask to park your stroller in the stroller parking. 

2. You can purchase the Quick Queue.  If you don’t mind paying a little extra and want to ride thrill rides, I would recommend buying the Quick Queue.  In a nut shell it allows a person to go to the front of the line at Sea World’s most popular attractions. Checked out SeaWorld's website to learn more.

3.  The Rides

Dress for the Weather!  This summer has been unusually cool so far, but most summers in Texas are hot and humid.  Bring lots of sunblock.   Next to Sea World is Aquatica (click here to see my post on Aquatica) so it is a good idea to wear your swim suit underneath your clothes. Many shows and rides will get you drenched so bring a towel too.

Rio Loco The rides at SeaWorld are amazing.  My daughter’s favorite ride was Rio Loco (my youngest was not tall enough to ride, so daddy had to stay with him).  With the accessibility pass you have up to 5 guest ride with your special needs child.  This ride is a great way to cool down in the Texas heat, because you are most likely going to get drench on this ride.
 Journey to Atlantis.  I was shocked to find out my 3 year old was tall enough to ride Journey to Atlantis.  It takes you up so high you can see the whole park. It is part water ride, part coaster.  You are going to get wet on this ride.   I know my little guy was a little nervous to ride this ride, but when the ride was over he was glad he gave it a try.
For the younger kids or the kids at heart head on over to Sesame Street® Bay of Play®.  Here you will find rides like:
Shamu Express.   My youngest was able to ride his first “mini” rollercoaster, Shamu Express.   From the screams and laughter I heard from the kids I knew they loved it .
 Abby Cadabby’s Rockin' Wave.  It rocked us back and forth and even sideways as we squealed with delight.
You can also try: Elmo’s Dolphin Dive, Grover's Round-Up, and Big Bird’s Spinning Reef.  If you want your little ones to get wet try Little Bird's Splash, where you will be squirted with geysers and watch out for the dumping buckets.   
You might even meet some of the Sesame Street characters we saw Cookie Monster and Zoe.

4.  The shows

We watch One Ocean in the “splash zone”.  I don't care how many times I see Killer whales; I never seem to get tired of watching them perform!  They are beautiful majestic creatures.  Their performance is a dance of motion in the water.   I cannot go to Sea World without seeing Shamu. Yes this show entertains but it also meant to educate and inspires us to save these killer whales.
Auzl.  This show was breathtaking, it is where Beluga whales, dolphins and synchronize swimmers are combined with some comedy relief.    My family did not get a chance to see the show, but I did see it last year. 

5. Close encounters with Animals: This is the amazing part of Sea World. The Penguin Encounter, Sea Lion, and Sharks/The Coral Reef allow your child to get up close and personal with the animals. At the Dolphin Cove your child could even get a chance to physically touch a dolphin.   As my husband was holding our daughter over the edge to watch the dolphins, the trainer tossed a Frisbee to a dolphin informing the crown a dolphin will pick someone to bring it to.  YES! The dolphin picked my daughter and brought her the Frisbee (I wish I had a picture, but we were all so in the moment).  Every encounter is wheelchair accessible, but some have cross-sloping areas.

6.  Animal Ambassadors. As you are walking around the park keep your eye open for SeaWorld Animal Ambassadors. They walk the park at different time with animals from the park. My family and I were able to meet some animals.  We were able to see an American bald Eagle, she was young so she was still brown, but soon she  will lose those brown feathers and become covered with white.  We also met a few Lemurs.  

7. They have accessible restrooms.  All restrooms are wheelchair accessible. There is a "companion restroom” located at Sea Side Landing across from Dolphin Cove. There are also restrooms inside the first aid stations. If you need an adult changing table some restrooms have baby changing stations and a private nursing room next to it with a bench. It would be a great place to tube feed your child and change their diaper too!
In case of an emergence know where the first aid station is located. It is located behind Guest Services at the Main Entrance.  Any SeaWorld team member will be happy to help you get to the first aid station.

8.  Great Foods for your diet.Special Diet: Did you know Sea World has a Chef Card for guest will allergies?  The Chef Card is a valuable tool for any guest suffering from food allergies.  Click here to learn more about the Chef Card. If your child is not on a special diet, you can still make the most of you dining experience. Eat at a diner near a stadium during the show because there will be less people and noise as everyone's watching the shows. 

9. You can bring Water and snacks into the park. The park also allows you to bring in a small 6-pack cooler filled with water and a few snacks. This is a great way to bring your child extra water because you are going to need it. One thing to keep in mind it there are no straws allowed for the animals safety.

10.  You'll have FUN!  You and your family will have the time of your lives.

You have any questions about traveling to Sea World Texas with a special needs child, especially one with Rett syndrome, please feel free to e-mail me or post a comment below.

Disclaimer I received discounted ticket to SeaWorld and Aquatic as well as quick queue passes and meal vouchers as part of Adventure Con 2014 Blogging Conference. However all opinion expressed her are my own.  My hopes are this post will help caregives to make the most of their SeaWorld San Antonio adventure with a Special Needs Child.  Please keep in mind each child is unique and will respond differently.