Australian borders are open and travellers are making their annual pilgrimage to the Gold Coast.There is so much to see and do, especially for families, so how do you decide between the top 4 theme parks; Sea World, Movie World, Dream World and Wet n' Wild? You cannot do it all and nor would you want to, they are action-packed days.
After much deliberation, our family decided to visit Australia's number 1 Marine Park, Sea World. And it certainly lived it up to the hype. It is a fantastic theme park for babies, toddlers, school-aged children, teens and adults alike. It has everything from tranquil baby wading pools at Castaway Island to exhilarating rollercoaster rides at the New Atlantis precinct. Sea World really does offer something for everyone.
Tickets are $109 for adults and $99 for children under the age of 3. Unless you have a wealthy relative willing to shout your family tickets for the day, I recommend you save $10 per ticket and purchase tickets online.
RAA/RACQ equivalent also offers a discount on some Sea World experiences such as swimming with the dolphins. These extra experiences look incredible but are something we did not opt for this time.
Admission tickets are all-inclusive making them easy to budget for. You could purchase your tickets and not spend anything more than the ticket price (and still have a wonderful day at Sea World).
There are now fifty attractions at Sea World! This includes nineteen different rides and precincts, 9 shows and 9 marine life exhibits. Thirty-eight of these attractions are included in your ticket price and there are a further twelve animal adventures (such as swimming with dolphins) that you can pay extra for.
It is almost overwhelming how much there is to see and do. The biggest challenge is deciding what to see and do first.
Itineraries are online, maps are available through the Sea World app and there is onsite wayfinding signage. It is a good idea to plan your day before you arrive.
A hop skip and a jump from the Southport Surf Club and around the corner from the Sheraton Mirage is where Sea World calls home. Easily accessible by car with a large car park offering free car parking for guests, Sea World is only a 10-minute drive from the heart of Surfers Paradise. It is also serviced by public transport. An Uber from Sea World to Q1 resort in Surfers Paradise will only set you back around $15, a great option at the end of the day for tired little feet.
The landscaping is beautiful at Sea World. It is an aesthetically pleasing place to visit with well-designed gardens and natural shade. Plus, all of the staff we encountered were friendly and accommodating. Around mid-day, when our 2-year-old daughter needed a nap it was really quite enjoyable walking her around the gardens in the pram while she rested.
The rides appear well maintained and Sea World is much nicer than the average theme park. Our toddlers had an absolute ball rolling down the grassy hills of Sea World during the water skiing show and sitting under a palm tree while sharing an ice cream at Castaway Island.
The dolphin show is highly emotive and may bring you to tears. I definitely did not tear up during the show, there must have been something in my eye! Anyone who has seen the dolphin show before will know how incredible it is. Learning about their struggles in the wild and how many dolphins are rescued with stomachs full of plastic rubbish will make anyone emotional.
Learning about these majestic creatures and watching them jump in the water in unison is incredible. Sea World plays its emotive soundtrack while the beautiful dolphins grace the waters. During some of the most emotional music, someone near us must have been chopping onions.
Australians have an obsession with the ocean so it is really important we raise our children to appreciate and protect our marine life. There is so much work to be done in marine conservation. It was great to learn more about the Sea World Foundation dedicated to marine perseveration, the Save our Spit campaign protecting the beautiful beaches surrounding Sea World, Landcare's dune preservation and the clean-up Australia initiatives.
I still remember visiting Sea World as a child in the 90s. For decades after my cousins and I had career aspirations to be dolphin trainers. While this never eventuated, the important point here is that a Gold Coast holiday and a day at Sea World are part of every quintessential Australian childhood. The combination of exhilarating rides, hilarious shows and breathtaking marine life is unbeatable.
We highly recommend Sea World, especially for young families. Our toddlers loved the dolphins, seals, sharks, the Nickelodeon rides and meeting the 'real' Paw Patrol characters after the show. Our 4-year-old has constantly been asking when we are going back to Sea World. Would we visit again? Absolutely.
Next time we are on the Gold Coast we would love to try another theme park. That is the best thing about holidaying with kids on the Gold Coast. You are spoilt for choice.
Sea World Thunder Lake Stunt Show