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A Whale of a Reason to Visit SeaWorld San Diego   by John Parker

Actually, there is a whole list of reasons to visit this adventure park all year round. Where else can you get nose to nose with a polar bear, eye to eye with a dolphin and tete a tete with your favorite pet? Where else can you meet the world-famous killer whale, Shamu? SeaWorld offers an alternative to the hustle and bustle of traditional amusement parks by featuring lush, landscaped gardens, beautiful marine animal attractions and spectacular shows, all spread out over 189 acres on San Diegos Mission Bay Park.

Everyone knows that SeaWorld features thousands of fascinating mammals, fishes, reptiles and birds including manatees at Manatee Rescue; killer whales at Shamu Stadium; hundreds of penguins in the chilly Penguin Encounter; and polar bears, beluga whales and walruses at Wild Arctic. But what you may not know about is that there is a reason every season to visit the adventure park. Heres a look at the season by season lineup for 2006:

Spring: SeaWorld stays open late so guests have more time to enjoy all their park favorites during Spring into Night, April 8-23 and 29, and May 6, 13 and 20. Spring into Night features extended hours; fireworks; Sea Lions Tonite, a nighttime sea lion and otter show; and Ignight, a new nighttime dolphin show with hot special effects and cool music.

Late spring: Believe, the most ambitious killer whale show in SeaWorld history, blends new killer whale behaviors with elaborate set pieces, music, choreography and state-of-the-art multimedia. A new two-story stage reflecting against Shamu; a spectacular water fountain that sprays across the width of the show pool; three new underwater cameras capturing Shamu below the surface; a giant three-story whale tail high above the set; and four LED screens moving and rotating all highlight the power and beauty of SeaWorlds killer whales. Believe is scheduled to open late spring.

Fall: Sea to Shining Sea Music Festival is SeaWorlds all- American entertainment extravaganza, returning for a fifth season this fall, Sept. 16-17, Sept. 23-24 and Sept. 30-Oct. 1. Included with park admission, the event features several stages throughout the park with live music including rock, country, swing, bluegrass and contemporary/eclectic rhythms. The park, decorated in red, white and blue, also will have an array of classic cars, and SkyBlast, Saturday night fireworks displays during the festival.

Winter: SeaWorld will celebrate the holiday season with festive decorations, the Skytower tree lighting, carolers, special Shamu holiday shows and other holiday activities, Dec. 2, 9, 16, 23, 26-31. Evenings will be topped off with a spectacular fireworks display just for the holidays.

SeaWorld has a great program for seniors called Terrific Tuesdays which combines healthy activities for the mind and body with a nutritious breakfast. Each Tuesday, guests 50 and older who purchase regularly priced adult admission enjoy a free breakfast during the first half hour the park is open on that Tuesday. Breakfast options include a sausage and egg on roll with fruit and hash browns; or fruit, yogurt and muffin. Either breakfast includes choice of coffee or juice.

Terrific Tuesdays guests can take advantage of special maps that guide them on a one-mile loop of the park, with 1/4 mile markers along the way pointing out landscaping tips and other interesting SeaWorld facts.

Offering Terrific Tuesdays is SeaWorlds way of giving something special to those 50 and above, said Ed Litrenta, vice president of marketing for SeaWorld San Diego. And its a great way to stay in shape and enjoy all the animal shows, attractions and rides that SeaWorld has to offer at the same time.


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