Seaworld looked like it would be fun the moment we went inside, but would it live up to the hype?
We stood in the entranceway a bit like a pack of deer in the headlights. So many things to do, and so many little feet wanting to run in every direction at once.
But it was a glorious morning. Sunny. A bit windy. Birds flew overhead looking for dropped crumbs. Kids shrieked in excitement. Mom’s yelled at their unruly ones to be less, well, unruly.
Now, one thing we decided to do in every park we’ve seen is set a rally point. You know, in case we become separated for some strange reason. You’d think becoming separated would be hard, at least I did, but all it takes is for eyes to lock on something, feet to move in a direction that is not the family direction and if everyone else is looking at their own stuff and continuing on, whammo, bingo-bongo, someone’s not there.
Sadly, that someone is usually me.
Oh, I know you were thinking it would be the youngest, but no, it’s me. One minute I’m all marching alongside everyone, then the next, “squirrel!” and off I go.
So today we chose the big-ass tower thingee, called the skytower. It’s hard to miss. It’s a tower.
That set, we decided on a ride first. We had a map. We had food in our bellies. We were good to go.
First distraction. We needed sunglasses.
We’d lost only one pair so far, which, I think, is a world record for a family of 4, so we decided that the first thing we’d do is go in search of new ones. The youngest found a barrel of swords (why swords would be in seaworld, I have no idea) and hacked and slashed imaginary enemies while I made sure he didn’t hack OR slashed any real people. But we failed to find any sunglasses at first.
Hard to believe, I know. There were plastic sharks and t-shirts and knacks and knicks and shoes and glass balls that the youngest desperately wanted to touch (and, I fear, throw at his brother), but no sunglasses.
No worries, there were plenty of little shops in Seaworld, so we began to march again towards the first ride…
Only to get distracted again by sharks in a pool. That we could touch. Wee little ones. I think I said, OMG, look, sharks we can touch in a pool!!! Luckily, everyone came with me. But, unluckily, none of us got to touch one. They were too fast, too far away sometimes and at least one of us, not mentioning any names, was pretty sure the sharks would take a bite out of them.
A little disappointed, the boys got bored really quickly, so we left the sharks to eat other little children and strode off.
We made our way to a ride first. A simple one. Sort of like the old octopus rides we’d go on a local fairs.
The park had wide lanes, unlike legoland, and though every park seems to be unable to make a straight line to anything, the lack of crowds, the massive space we could walk around in, made it feel, I dunno, more friendly. Maybe it was the sun being out, or the smell of popcorn and hotdogs and something fishie. Maybe it was just that I had pancakes for breakfast. Who knows?
But as we made our way to the first ride, we heard barking.
I immediately went all ‘squirrel!” and detoured towards them. The family heard me shout, “Seals!” and followed me. It was feeding time and the seals were barking or slapping the water or just looking darned adorable, waiting to be fed.
But here’s the cool thing. It wasn’t the trainers feeding them. It was the seaworld-goers. Us.
I dunno who started to jump up and down first, me or the youngest. We had to feed the seals! We had to.
So I went and bought two orders of fish please, hold the fries and tarter sauce. For $5 we got 5 little fish. I wanna say they were sardines, but I know about as much about fish as I know about why people like watching golf. The oldest, however, had no desire to throw anything and the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world, refused to wander around smelling like fish all day.
The youngest and I didn’t care. We love throwing things and, to be honest, we don’t care that we would smell like fish.
We looked at the seals, chose one that looked the cutest, bobbing up and down in the water, his big eyes on us, his head wagging back and forth like a happy, puppy dog tail, and the youngest tossed him a fish. We chose one who was barking, one who was clapping and tried to throw one who had a great scar on his eye who sat on a rock in the middle of the pool. The youngest missed his first throw, the fish snapped up by a smart seal who circled the rock waiting for people to miss. The second throw missed too and I began to worry the youngest didn’t have the coordination or strength yet to make the throw.
Hey, it wasn’t easy for a little guy. He had to clear the glass, had to arc it over all the other seals, avoid the fish-stealing birds and hit a pretty small target 15 feet away.
I gave the youngest my fish. I told him he could do it. I told him to keep his eye on the seal. Don’t worry about the glass or the distance. Just see that seal and throw the fish.
The youngest threw with all his might and with the seriousness of a major league pitcher. I want to say the entire crowd watched, but I doubt that was true. Certainly the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world and the oldest watched the fish arc over the glass, soar through the air and nearly smack the seal in the face before he jerked his head and gulped it down.
The last fish he gave based on which one barked the loudest, then we washed up, washed up again for good measure, and strode off to the first ride, the youngest so happy to tell us how he did it.
“Joe, did you know that if I got my arm all the way back and threw, it went farther?”
“Mommy, did you see me feed that seal with the one eye?”
“Joe, did you know I did the best throw there?”
It was a great way to start our adventure in Seaworld.
It was, however, nowhere near the coolest thing we did.