When I decided to take a special mother-daughter trip before baby #5 arrived on the scene this summer, I had a few choices to make on where to go. Obviously, Disney would have been a popular choice and perhaps Universal right behind it, but at 5 months pregnant with a 5th child, I just wasn’t feeling up to navigating the chaos of Disney alone.
Disney takes time, you know, and prep and just the right amount of energy and build-up behind it and while that is all well and good, this just wasn’t the right trip for it. Instead, this trip was a bit spur-of-the-moment and I really wanted it to be more relaxed and low-key. And with me flying solo, I needed a place where I felt comfortable to ride some of the rides or have more pregnant-friendly activities.
When the option of SeaWorld came up, I realized that it immediately felt perfect–the park felt very manageable to handle on my own pregnant, as it’s really the perfect size to cover in a day (not too big, not too small), it offered plenty of options to sit down and rest and watch a show, and just looking at all of the cool, clear water felt refreshing to my already-aching body. Plus, I knew that if I got lonely, I could go hang out with Shamu, since we were essentially looking like the same body type lately (ha!).
But really, I did some research and found that a lot of pregnant women reported that SeaWorld was really a great vacation destination during pregnancy, so I was all about it. I immediately booked tickets, including the dolphin encounter, because hello, of course, I wanted to be a magical mermaid and swim with dolphins and they would probably love me even more because I was pregnant and yes, I had visions of me gliding around SeaWorld carried by dolphins, but I digress.
The weather ended up being as close to my worst nightmare as possible when I’m pregnant, topping well over 90 degrees with full sun and nary a breeze in sight, but hey, it’s Florida, so you have to expect that. And I will say that I wish I had been smarter about my choice of footwear because I just wore light sandals and ladies, they were definitely not supportive enough, so if you go to SeaWorld while pregnant on my advice, choose responsible, supportive footwear, please! My feet have never hurt so bad as they did by the end of the night..
However, those two things aside, SeaWorld was the perfect choice for a pregnancy vacation destination, primarily because 1) everything just felt low-key and relaxed and 2) there was plenty to do that didn’t involve screaming on rollercoasters, from walk-up attractions to shows to the air-conditioned aquariums (ahhhh). I was able to ride a few of the rides, which was great. You can check out a full accessibility guide on SeaWorld’s page, but essentially, I can give you the rundown:
- There are 3 main rollercoasters at SeaWorld, that for obvious reasons, you can’t ride if you are pregnant. But they are all easy to wait in line with your child, if you’d like, and exit before getting on the ride.
- There are two water rides that I wouldn’t recommend unless you specifically clear them with your doctor, because they are kind of jerky and have a big drop with a bar in your belly. I considered trying them, but in the end, I just didn’t feel comfortable taking the risk.
- The rides I were able to ride included the SkyTower, paddleboat rides (an additional fee), the Antartica penguin ride (for what it’s worth, “mild” means no spinning, “wild” adds spinning and you can totally handle the spinning pregnant, unless you’re feeling pukey), and the Wild Arctic helicopter simulator.
Rides aside though, the main reason I loved SeaWorld so much was, hands-down, the shows. I honestly didn’t go into SeaWorld with any real expectations, because I hadn’t heard that much about it, but I was absolutely blown away by the shows. A friend recommended we check out the dolphin and killer whale shows–and she was right. They were truly amazing and in my opinion, much better than trying to squeeze onto a ride. I made sure to sit in the “splash zone” too so I got some pregnancy cooling-off time.
And if you’re not convinced yet, let me just tell you this one last important fact: the best hand-dipped ice cream in the park with the best waffle cones is located just near the entrance/exit, so after a long day in the sun and on your feet, a giant cookie dough ice cream on a waffle cone just might be the best pregnancy treat of your life.