After checking in on our first day, we took a nice nap, freshened up and went for dinner at a Japanese restaurant nearby. It was also raining so we didn’t do much afterwards but stayed in and watched some TV. The next morning, we woke up early because we were heading to the Sea World theme park! The morning looked quite unpromising with clouds looming above, but we persevered, thinking that the weather might change once we got there. The drive took around 20 – 30 minutes and once we started our journey, it was pouring! It was heavy rain with thunderstorms as well, so my heart started to sink. I still had a tiny hope inside that the weather would change for the better in half an hour’s time, and sure enough, it did! In fact, the sun started to come out after we parked our car and the sky continued to stay bright and clear for the rest of the day!
We thought there wouldn’t be that many people due to the unpromising weather in the morning, but we were wrong! There was a long queue just to get tickets at the counter so we had to stand in line for almost 1 hour! The good thing is that the ticket we bought was a multi-park entry, so when we went to the Warner Bros Theme Park the next day, we didn’t have to queue for tickets anymore.
Once we’re in, the first stop we went to was the Penguin Encounter. It was the first time I saw a penguin in real life! In fact, when I first saw them, I had to look really hard to differentiate whether they’re real or fake. LOL! But a closer look revealed smooth, shiny, waxy feathers, which was unreal! They look so pretty in real life, them penguins. The penguins area was also one of the few that was indoors and hence had air-conditioning, which was very welcoming in the hot and humid weather in Queensland that day! Little J was excited to see these cute-looking birds swimming and waddling around, he kept reaching out to touch them!
Right after that, we had to make a pit stop for some frozen yogurt, because the weather was getting too warm and we were all sweating. The frozen yogurt was just next to this place where they had helicopter rides, so we got to see one family take off in it. It didn’t seem like a long ride though, for I saw it coming back down maybe in less than 15 minutes?
There were also cable car rides and the monorail rides, which were the more popular ones in the theme park. Since we were traveling with a young toddler, we didn’t want to spend so much time queuing under the hot sun so we had to give those a miss.
Instead, we went for those little kids rides which had somewhat shorter queues, such as this Merry-go-round here. Little J was a little apprehensive at first, but soon warmed up to the idea of horses moving around and up and down, so much so that he refused to leave afterwards! We could have gone for a second ride if we wanted to, but we were in a rush to watch some shows!
The first one we went to was the Dora the Explorer show, which was mainly a musical with songs and dances around. It was quite a hit with the kids around but Little J was not paying much attention to her. LOL. So we stayed for about 10 minutes and left to go to another show.
The Dolphin show! We heard so much about the dolphin show from friends and colleagues so we made it a point to fit it in our schedule. Sure enough, the arena was packed to the brim when we reached! Luckily we still managed to squeeze in between some empty spots in the middle rows. The show was pretty entertaining with dolphins flipping and flying about, and performing tricks according to the instructor’s cues. It was nice to be able to feel like a kid once in a while. Little J was still too young to appreciate shows like this so he started getting restless after a while but we managed to bribe him with some snacks and drinks.
We continued walking around the theme park after the show, and decided to have lunch. It was bad timing because everyone who just came out from the show decided it was time for lunch as well, and there were limited choices available. The most popular joint was the burger fast food which had almost 10 lines of at least 20 people each! It was already past noon so we had to get something to eat anyway and Little J was getting hungry so we decided to brave the crowd. It took almost half an hour to finally get our food and they’re not cheap too! I think we ordered 2 sets of burgers with chips and drinks which came to AUD$40+! I guess that’s to be expected whenever we get food from theme parks, prices are usually marked up really high because we’re left with no choice anyway since we’re not allowed to bring outside food in. But if we do return next time, our tip would be to buy the food way before lunch time (11am or earlier) so that we could avoid the long queue. We could always keep the food for consumption later if it’s still too early for lunch but at least we didn’t have to fight with the rest of the hundred people in the queue!
After lunch, we continued our tour around and saw this airplane ride that wasn’t too busy, so Saucer went in the queue. It was getting really warm and you could tell from Saucer’s wet shirt. LOL. We also went on another Merry-go-round ride after that, but didn’t manage to take any pictures.
Last but not least, we went for the last show that we had planned to watch, the Sea Lion show. This was also quite popular as the arena was full but it was a much smaller arena compared to the dolphin one. I didn’t find this as entertaining as the dolphin show, maybe because there wasn’t much action involved with the sea lions. It was mostly about them trying to get fish from the entertainers.
By the time we’re done, it was close to 3pm and everyone was tired from the hot weather and walking around. I could tell that Little J was already getting tired because it was way past his normal nap time, but he couldn’t nap in the stroller because it was just too warm and uncomfortable. So we decided to go back to the hotel since we had covered most grounds and watched all the shows we wanted to anyway.
5 tips for visiting Sea World Gold Coast
If we do return to Sea World in the future, these would be the 5 tips for visiting Sea World, Gold Coast that I would want to keep in mind:
1) If possible, buy the tickets from the counter a day before the actual day, preferably in the afternoon so that there won’t be any queue. It is usually more value for money to get multi-park multi-entry tickets that are valid for a few days (at least) anyway, so it wouldn’t matter if you lose one day by getting the ticket earlier. It saves so much more time when you enter the theme park on the actual day itself, because with a ticket, you go through a different queue which is much faster.
2) Bring a large bottle of water that can be easily refilled. There are some (not many) water fillers around the theme park and having a bottle to fill up would be very useful especially when it’s a hot day. Otherwise, there is also unlimited soft drink tumblers available from the fast food joints/booths. If you plan to get the soft drink tumblers, it is more value for money to get them earlier in the day so that you could get more refills throughout.
3) As mentioned above, buy your lunch earlier to beat the crowd! If you go during weekends or public holidays (like I did), there’s bound to be a crazy queue at ALL restaurants around. So if you don’t want to waste your time queuing in hunger and sweat, buy your food earlier and keep them in a bag until lunch time.
4) Plan your schedule in advance. Other than rides, there are also multiple shows in the theme park. Each show usually happens twice a day, so try to look at the timetable and work out which shows that you want to watch and keep time. There are some shows which do not allow entries after they start so it’s important not to be late.
5) Bring a change of clothes (even for adults) because some of the rides could end up getting you wet! We made the mistake of not bringing any extra clothes and got soaking wet at one of the rides we took! So we had to buy shirts from the souvenir shops, which turned out to be overpriced (as you would expect).
There you have it, our experience visiting the Sea World theme park in Gold Coast and what we learnt from it. It was overall a fun experience especially for families with kids because it’s a very family-friendly place where strollers could go almost anywhere and had designated parking areas. We would certainly return when Little J is a little older and learns to appreciate more of the rides and shows!