Swimming with Stingrays at Sea World

 Last year I had the privilege of being selected as a Sea World San Antonio Wildside Blogger and it was a wonderful experience. That’s why I’m thrilled that I was chosen once again to participate as a Wildside blogger in 2013. Our kickoff even for the season was this weekend and my family had a blast!

The Wildside Spring Fling was held at Aquatica, the new waterpark at Sea World in San Antonio. My husband questioned the idea of going to a waterpark in March, but it turned out to be a warm and sunny day. Only in Texas!

We decided to drive out to the park and back the same day, so we left before dawn. It was drizzling and very chilly when we arrived around 9:30am but there were no lines. As soon as the gates opened we made a beeline for a warm gift shop where I found a rack of fleece sweatshirts on clearance and promptly bought one for each kid and me. They were cute! Here are the boys in their new sweatshirts posing with Ozzie and Harriet the parrots.

We were the first of the group of Wildsiders to arrive at our private little beach area, but my friend Mason Rodriquez from Sea World was there waiting for us with towels and beach chairs. The boys immediately took to digging in the sand while other families arrived. 

It was super fun to see Priscilla again, who I met at Bloggy Boot Camp in Austin a couple years ago. Our oldest two boys hit it off really well! I love watching my kids make new friends. 
The highlight of the day by far was our chance to do the Stingray Interaction at Aquatica as a family! Alex was pretty nervous about it, but we encouraged him to pet the rays from outside the tank and then watch the first group as they waded into the pool and fed the animals. So he decided to face his fears and get in the pool with the stingrays! 
Nathan was thrilled about the opportunity and waded right in, grabbing the fish and eagerly feeding it to the velvety creatures. Stingrays mouths are underneath them so you have to hold the fish in a fist with the head sticking up and place your fist down underneath where they swim. Then they come along and suck the food out of your hand exactly like a vacuum cleaner! Once in awhile they would come and suck on my feet. 

The stingray interaction was an awesome way to create a really cool family memory. We’ll be talking about it together for years to come, I’m certain! They even provided us with a couple of family photos…the whole thing made putting on a swimsuit in March worth it. 
One great part about coming to Aquatica in March when the morning was chilly but the sun came out and warmed up the afternoon? Way less people to deal with. There were no crowds and we used the opportunity to finally ride Stingray Falls, the signature attraction at Aquatica that often has a very long line. Even Alex rode with us, despite his nervousness! I am not usually one for big, fast rides but being in a raft as a family and zooming down the water slide into the little cove beneath the stingray pond was super fun. The photographer even got a photo of Chico, the big spotted eagle ray, swimming over top of us! 

Of course as soon as we reached the end, Alex asked to do the ride again! I knew he would love it. Maybe next time! We left the park just before dinner, stopped for a bite to eat, and drove on home to Katy. Both boys were so tuckered out they crashed instantly, so we had a peaceful drive as the setting sun behind us cast a golden glow along the countryside, including loads of Texas bluebonnets in full bloom along I-10! 
Sea World is open for the season every day now and Aquatica is open every weekend until June when it opens daily for the summer. They have some super exciting events and opportunities this spring, including a pretty sweet Just For Kids concert series in April, featuring Laurie Berkner, Imagination Movers and others. We’ll be heading back there for sure in June, if not before, and we can’t wait! 
Disclosure: As I mentioned, I have been chosen as a 2013 SeaWorld Wildside blogger. My family was provided with complimentary passes to the parks as well as other perks. I was not asked to write about my experiences but I will always share what I love with complete honesty and integrity. 

8 thoughts on “Swimming with Stingrays at Sea World”

  1. I love your family photo from Stingray Falls. I haven’t been on that one yet (My kids are too scared, but it doesn’t seem scary to me at all! Maybe next month they’ll give it ago).

    So great seeing you and your guys again, Sarah!

  2. I love your family photo from Stingray Falls. I haven’t been on that one yet (My kids are too scared, but it doesn’t seem scary to me at all! Maybe next month they’ll give it ago).

    So great seeing you and your guys again, Sarah!

  3. Stingray Falls was exactly my level of thrill. No steep or sudden drops, no feeling of risk like you could fall out or flip over, just speed and a little getting wet. We distracted Alex (and me) as much as possible while climbing the tower. I think it feels higher up than it really is. I almost never buy those photos but because we had done the Stingray Interaction, the other print was only $5 and we got the 20% member pass discount on top of that! I almost didn’t notice Chico in the background but the guys selling us the photo were amazed by it and pointed it out to us.

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