Guest Blogger

I Was Trainer For a Day At SeaWorld

What is it about dolphins and other sea creatures that make us want to get in the water with them and give them love?  Whatever it is, San Diego is fortunate to have a place where we can scratch that itch.  Sea World had a group of us over to experience their behind-the-scenes attractions.  We were treated to a guided tour through the park along with access to some of Sea World’s special programs such as the Penguin Experience Tour, Wild Arctic Interaction, and Trainer For a Day.
Dolphin Encounter gives you the personal quality time you've always wanted.

Dolphin Encounter gives you the personal quality time you've always wanted.

Watching the animals at Sea World perform is always fun, but there is nothing like getting close enough to shake hands with some of these creatures and getting a personal introduction to them by their handlers.  We met and fed walruses and porpoises, had a nice sit down with a Macaroni penguin, and – my favorite – played with dolphins during a quick version of the Dolphin Encounter program. 

Normally, those dolphins don’t give us the time of day unless we stand ready with fish in hand, but their trainers made sure we got the VIP treatment.  After getting acquainted with our dolphins and learning some basic hand signals, we were able to make them jump, “walk,” whistle and sing.  It was like conducting an orchestra of sea mammals.  They were so eager to play, I swear the dolphins were having more fun than we were.  I would strongly recommend this man and beast encounter to any son of mine. 

Some programs even allow you to jump in and interact with some of these creatures in their environment, though you don’t get fed for doing tricks like they do.  You have to buy your own raw fish.

Sea World’s variety of behind-the-scenes programs each have a cost above and beyond the price of admission, but talk about making memories for the family!  Set your significant other or your kids up on one of these Sea World extras and become an instant hero! 

A menu of Sea World’s animal interaction programs can be found here.

Guest Blogger

Tour Petco Park

I kind of like visiting Petco Park when nobody is around — no baseball players messing up the field, no fans standing around making a big racket and blocking the impressive vistas of beautiful San Diego all around the stadium.  I can’t tell whether that’s a provocative statement or not; just a thought I had during my tour of Petco Park.  The home of the Padres was the groundbreaker in downtown San Diego’s neo-renaissance in the early part of the century (opening in 2004).  It’s another impressive landmark here in San Diego, and as with many of the attractions here, the closer you look, the more impressive it is.

What can you expect to learn on a tour of a mere baseball stadium?  A lot more than I expected, as it turns out.  On my tour, I was exposed to fascinating facts and trivia regarding the world of baseball, sports journalism, city planning, and Petco Park’s unique architecture; not to mention some good baseball gossip.  I would love to go into some of my tour guide’s act here, but this is one instance when you really have to be there.

"All right, team, let's hustle out there and buy some swag!"

"All right, team - let's hustle on out there and buy some swag!"

Walking around in the Padres’ house when the Padres aren’t home really emphasizes the vastness and versatility of the structure, which could easily double as a small city complete with restaurants, parks, museums and a sandy beach.

"The Beach"

Bleachers On the Beach

Yes, a park and a sandy beach! Ever tried “Park In the Park?”  $5 will get you into a game and onto a nice patch of grass as well as grant you more access to the stadium than you might think.  Bleacher seats cost $9 and include access to a sandlot in right field.  It’s a great option for moms and dads who don’t want to spend the game wrangling kids back into their seats.

The park is wide open to views of the playing field, and if you’re a wanderer like me, you can enjoy a game from almost any vantage point in the joint.  (The many premium lounges, suites and boxes will cost you, though.)

Walk-up tours are available to the public Tuesday through Sunday.  Adults are $9, seniors $6, children under 13 $5, and active military $8, with discounts for groups of 25 or more.

On evening game days, a game ticket plus an Early Bird Tour ticket will get you inside the park an hour before the gates open so you can get to know your ballpark before the game.