Summer is coming and it’s time to start thinking about vacation destinations. Whether it’s a short getaway or a long vacation, there are so many choices to choose from. But, where are the best family friendly destinations and what places will keep your toddler occupied.
My family loves to travel and we have been fortunate to have been able to travel to several locals in the past several years that cater to our children. I also have a background in travel management and has studied the best places to visit.
While Walt Disney World is on top of many lists, ours as well, but there are many other wonderful places that fit any personality and any budget. There are so many places, that I am going to feature one place each week, kind of like a Travel Tuesday.
I am tempted to start with Walt Disney World in Florida, but I thought I would start in a different direction. Everyone is budget conscience and saving money is always a given, so what better way then a close to home destination.
Sea World Adventure Parks
I understand not everyone lives in driving distance of a Sea World Adventure Park, but if you happen to, these make wonderful trips for your young family, toddlers included. Sea World has 3 theme parks located in San Diego, California, San Antonio, TX, and Orlando, Florida. We have been lucky enough to have visited all 3 parks, but I am going to highlight our most recent trip to San Antonio, TX. All 3 theme parks have the same basic layout, themes, and rides. However, each park has its own unique spin on the aquatic world.
We recently took the 4 hour drive down to San Antonio to spend a fun filled weekend with our boys. Sea World does not have any onsite hotels, but has many family friendly hotels near by. My recommendation is the Wild Oak Ranch at the Hyatt Regency Hill Country. Absolutely perfect for families. Full service kitchens and separate bedrooms and a huge water playground. A destination in itself. If you go in off season, you can score a super low price, around $149 a night. That’s a steal for what you are getting.
On to Sea World. There are many things to do and see at Sea World. But, for traveling with toddlers, there are some main points that are a must see and do. Feeding the dolphins was the highlight of the trip. You can purchase small trays of fish food, small, nasty, little, fish, to feed the dolphins. My boys could not get enough. The dolphins would swim right up to you where you can actually touch and feel the dolphins. Wonderful memories and awesome pictures. We spent a very long time here. Sea Lion feeding was just as great, a little scary that the sea lions can jump up so high and the wall is really high up making it hard and scary for infants and toddlers to lean over. But, none the less, a wonderful thing to do. Check the map for the animal encounters and feeding times, there were the highlights of the trip and they loved every second of it.
Sea World San Antonio has a wonderful toddler play area, Shamu’s Happy Harbor, in the middle of the park. Complete with a splash park, pint sized coaster, and mini carnival rides. The water splash park could be a bit bigger, but was still fun. Got a little crowded with older children playing. There are lots of shows at Sea World, but good luck getting a 2 year old to sit through it. We didn’t even attempt them, knowing that our boys would not sit through it. But, we have watched them and they are great. There is a small “park” area near the Steel Eel Roller coaster, complete with benches, flowers, and lots of space. Set next to the lake and makes a perfect break time area.
Check the park listings for special events. They are host to Big Birds Birthday Bash and Breakfast with Elmo. A MUST see for little fans.
Sea World is a perfect close to home getaway for those only looking to spend a few days away and not spend a ton of money. They always have discount coupons and specials for those looking for deals. Lots of great things for toddlers and infants to do and there are not many places that offer that.
Safe and Happy Travels,