Theme Parks. It isn't top of our priority list of 'to do' activities on holiday, but we manage to get some free tickets to Seaworld while staying at Gold Coast. So we figure, why not? The kids are getting up with the sun which makes us one of the first at the gate. We are up and ready so early we have time to go to a shopping centre on the way there, and then still have a twenty-minute wait in line before the gates open.
The park is a lot smaller than I imagined, but still plenty to do. We know we will be on somewhat of a time limit, with Ashton already yawning, so make a list of priorities. On route to our first show, we stop off to watch the dolphins playing with some guests in the water. It's fascinating for me, but the kids nag to move on after only a few minutes. It might be a quick trip to Seaworld at this rate, sweeping through each attraction every few minutes!
Dolphins are beautiful creatures, but I do wonder how they feel about being kept in small pens. As a staff whistle blows for one dolphin to jump out of the water, I watch as a pod swim around and around the parameter of a pen.
One of my favourite attractions is the sea lion show. Entertainment for all ages. The kids (mainly) sit through the whole show, laughing and captivated by the story. I giggle away as the sea lion flaps and shuffles across the stage, down slides and through doors, in actor mode.
Dora is on our list, as is the kids carnival area, but surprisingly, the underwater viewing area is a big hit with the kids. An amazing walkway, which is a bit scary for Belle to walk down (I don't know why), takes us under the water to see turtles, sharks, fish and all sorts of marine life. We end up down here for nearly an hour. It's busy, but with so much glass, it's easy enough to find a spot to watch. The kids squeeze in between people when they spot something and have to see the creature 'now'.
Just on three hours after getting in the gate, we are leaving again. We have seen only a small section of the park, slurped down iceblocks, flew through the air on the kiddy airplane ride twice each, and pulled a screaming kid away from stuffed toys at the polar bear shop. Our dear Belle fell in love with a white polar bear with a blue rug - but I couldn't 'bear' another stuffed toy in our house. Daddy also got slapped by our very tired and overstimulated little boy - probably for not letting him have another ice cream. Home time!
But, of course, we have one final hurdle. The shop everyone has to walk through to exit Seaworld. The polar bears with blue blankets are back. Argh. Belle goes crazy, trying to look at everything while I try to be cunning with attention-grabbing her to outside. Ten minutes later, we are out.
5/10 experience. Not because of the park, but because of our tired kids.
Tips to remember for next time...
Perhaps best to do this at the start of the holiday - it's tiring stuff.
There are no swimming pools in the main area, so don't bother with taking bathers and towels. That is one less bag to lug around.
Get there early. Beat the heat, the crowds aren't as hectic, and the kids get tired easily.
Expect the souvenir shops, and prepare for them. Perhaps the kids can earn pocket money, and take that.
Don't take tired kids. It's no fun.
If theme parks are the reason for the trip, Seaworld Resort would be a good accommodation option.