Touch Feel and Explore at SeaWorld San Diego Explorers Reef

SeaWorld San Diego Explorers Reef

Last weekend my family and I were invited to check out a sneak peek of the new Explorer’s Reef at SeaWorld San Diego. Not only did we get an up close look at the new entrance to the park, we also got to touch, feel, and explore all of the animals in Explorer’s Reef.

From the moment we arrived at the new entrance to Sea World I knew the kids would have a blast! And boy did they. With four salt and sea water tanks filled with sea life friends, the kids were in for a treat.

They were able to go from one tank to another to explore the feeder fish, horseshoe crabs, rays, and shark pups. Throughout the whole experience they both had huge grins on their faces.

SeaWorld San Diego Explorers Reef entrance sign

SeaWorld San Diego Explorers Reef

As I mentioned previously, SeaWorld San Diego’s entrance got a facelift with the addition of Explorer’s Reef. For months we’ve had to go through a makeshift entrance to get in and out of the park but now their gorgeous front gate is the picture perfect place to stop before or after a trip to the park.

We now have a great place to snap photos of the kids and hopefully watch them grow as we continue to bring them to the park. Similar to the ones we catch of them at Disneyland and the San Diego Zoo.

But the pretty sign and concierge-like ticket booths weren’t what my kids were after… they were after the up close experience with awesome animals.

SeaWorld San Diego Explorers Reef Mr Mike the fishes guy with Ethan

Mr. Mike, Assistant Curator of Fishes, with Ethan

One of the most important parts of our trips to Sea World is the education our children receive every single visit. This man above, Mr. Mike, has definitely made an impression on my son. Mr. Mike is the Assistant Curator of Fishes and knows just about everything there is about the new Explorer’s Reef and the animals living there.

He was able to answer any and all questions our kids had and truly enjoyed what he did and his role at Sea World. We got to meet Mike for the first time when we attended a Blogger Symposium last month that gave us a chance to ask the questions we wanted to ask and really hear back from the people working with the animals.

And Mike must have been a memorable guy because my son hasn’t stopped talking about him and the fun he had learning about the sharks and feeder fish during our behind-the-scenes tour.

SeaWorld San Diego Explorers Reef cleaner fishSeaWorld San Diego Explorers Reef Feeder Fish Up Close

Feeder Fish at Explorer’s Reef

I’m sure you’ve heard of these little guys. But probably from someone who mentioned they saw them being used in a pedicure to eat away dead skin? Well now that the practice of using feeder fish for pedicures isn’t available here in the US (at least not to my knowledge), you can now see these awesome guys up close at Sea World.

Feeder fish nibble plant and animal matter off of solid surfaces like rocks. So naturally they’d start nibbling away at our fingers and toes if we stood still for long enough.

If you’re patient enough – and my son sure was – you can get these little guys to come in droves over to your hand to clean up. But please don’t put your feet in the tanks! You can see a video of my son’s experience (and how patient he was) here on instagram.

SeaWorld San Diego Explorers Reef touching horseshoe crabsSeaWorld San Diego Explorers Reef horseshoe crabs

Horseshoe Crabs

Now the horseshoe crabs may not sound that interesting but to my son they were totally cool! Not only are horseshoe crabs reminiscent of the dinosaur age, they’re also super awesome in that they have 10 eyes! That includes some that can sense UV light. How great is that?

My son is still stuck on the fact that they were around with the dinosaurs but eh…

SeaWorld San Diego Explorers Reef shark pups

Shark Pups

Now sharks… sharks are different. Even my daughter wanted in on petting a shark once she realized the were not the scary sea monsters she thought they were. And once she pet one, she started to get the hang of it and asked to pet more.

And this is huge. For my daughter to see sharks as something cool and not as something she should be afraid of.

We also got to see these awesome shark eggs up close again. Seeing the baby sharks inside the eggs moving around was just about the coolest thing ever.

SeaWorld San Diego Explorers Reef close up shark eggs

After a great visit to Explorer’s Reef learning about all of these amazing creatures left my kids hungry. Luckily there’s a snack stand right next to the tanks so my little guy got to munch on a whale tale (totally worth it!) and some watermelon while I enjoyed a nice hot cup of coffee.

If you’re interested in planning a trip to Sea World or checking out more about Explorer’s Reef, check out the Sea World San Diego website.

SeaWorld San Diego Explorers Reef whale tale cookies

SeaWorld’s 50th Celebration will feature a Sea of Surprises™ starting today, March 21, 2014.

SeaWorld parks in San Diego, Orlando, Fla. and San Antonio will share the excitement throughout an 18-month celebration that highlights some of the most memorable SeaWorld experiences. 

Come enjoy the celebration!

What would you love to touch at Explorer’s Reef?

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  1. You know what’s so crazy, is I grew up seeing Horsehoe Crabs all the time being a beach girl. Like they would be EVERYWHERE.

    I think the Explorer’s Reef is a neat way for kids to explore.

  2. My kids would so love visiting Sea World again. I love that we can mix so much education with fun. Your kids look like they are living the Explorers Reef!

  3. I grew up going to that exact same SeaWorld! I’ve always loved horseshoe crabs, so I’d probably want to touch those and have my kids do the same.

  4. This is at the top of our to do list with the kids! Last night we went to Sea Life Arizona and they had a small area where they could touch starfish (nothing this fancy) and I couldn’t drag the kids away! I am sure they would love love love to go to Sea World and touch all these marine animals! I want to feel the cleaner fishy guys!

    • Yeah, that was pretty cool! Ethan said it was like the fish were kissing his fingers. And we visited the SeaLife Aquarium here at Legoland Resort California on our most recent visit and the starfish were one of Ethan’s favorite spots too.

  5. This looks like an awesome family activity that is fun yet educational. I’d love to check it out (I’m sure the boyfriend would find it interesting as well).

  6. Adrian Mendoza says

    It seems like this is a great place to visit with of course the kids. Attractions like this I believe are made especially for kids, not only amusing but educational as well!

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