Sea World of Texas
When you need a break from Texas history, head directly to Sea World (10500 Sea World Dr., 800/700-7786, www.seaworld.com, hours vary by season, $35–45). This 250-acre park offers a perfect destination on a hot summer day—water rides, water shows, and water games will keep the entire family entertained and slightly refreshed.
The main attraction is the activity at Shamu Stadium, where star Shamu and several other killer whales perform impressive tricks—leaping to great heights, splashing the audience, and serving as surfboards—all choreographed to an accompanying overwrought soundtrack. The spectacle may be a bit over-the-top, but witnessing the whales’ grace and power is an ultimately rewarding experience.
One of the park’s most popular summertime attractions is the Lost Lagoon area, a mini-waterpark featuring a giant wave machine, a mellow tube ride, and several twisty water slides. Kids from 1 to 6 years old will love Shamu’s Happy Harbor, a small area in the center of the park with several rides, a large ship festooned with climbing and crawling features, an infant play area, and a water zone with every kind of soaking device imaginable.
Adults can have their fun in the sun too by experiencing Sea World’s various water rides and roller coasters. Be sure to smile sweetly (or hold back your lunch) at the bottom of the first big hill since a camera captures everyone’s expressions for fun souvenir keepsakes.
Of course, animals are a featured attraction at Sea World, particularly at the exhibit areas and shows featuring sea lions and dolphins. The penguin habitat with its replicated Antarctic environment is especially fascinating. Throughout the park families will also find (or avoid) typical amusement park fare such as midway-style games, snack stands, and gift shops.
© Andy Rhodes from Moon Texas, 6th Edition