Detective sea lions at Sea World Gold Coast

Sea World based at Main Beach on Queensland’s Gold Coast is a must-visit attraction, if only becuae it is so much fun.

I went along simply to accompany my daughter, and it exceeded my expectations, even though I thought that I knew what to expect.

Basically, Sea World is a mixture of displays featuring marine animals of all kind, theme rides and various shows and attractions.

I found the displays to be quite interesting, but also built for the comfort and needs of the animals themselves, rather than focussing on their human visitors.  For instance, the various dolphin pens give the dolphins plenty of room to swim and to dive.  There are opportunities for humans to get up close and personal, but these experiences cost extra.  Choices include swimming with sharks and marine life at Shark Bay, deep water and shallow water dolphin encounters for adults and children, land and water based interactions with the fun loving seals or spending a day learning how the trainers at Sea World look after and train the dolphins.  

You can get pretty close to the polar bears, but only if you are behind glass.  One of the features of the polar bears is that you have a window at their pool, so you can watch just how graceful these lumbering beasts become as soon as they enter the water.

Shark Bay is another good exhibit.  You can view the sharks, and other marine life, from above, or go underground and watch them from an underwater perspective.  A couple of the sharks are real monsters, but they are sleek and ever vigilant, watching for prey, and you are quite glad that there is a bit of strong glass separating you from their jaws.

There are a few shows to see, such as Big Bird’s show for the younger kids and Happy Feet in 3-D, but I really enjoyed the Fish Detective, a show featuring sea lions in which they try to discover who is pilfering all of the fish from the harbour.  The sea lions are not only very entertaining, but they are enormous, and, like the polar bears, a bit clumsy out of water, but incredibly agile once they get into their natural environment.

One of the highlights for me was the dolphin show, and one of the reasons why I enjoyed it so much was because the dolphins weren’t treated as a circus act, but the purpose of the show is to educate us about the dolphins, while witnessing their amazing agility and grace as they interact with their trainers at Dolphin Cove, the largest sandy bottom lagoon ever built for dolphins.

There are some great rides, touch pools, pelicans and penguins which all amuse, and the park is very easy to navigate.

The best way to enjoy Sea World is to purchase a $99 pass, which also gets you entrance to Movie World and Wet ‘n Wild theme parks.  The pass is valid for a year and you can use it as often as possible.  Which is handy because, although I ran out of time, I would have like to have returned for a second visit because you can’t really see the park properly in just one day.

As for getting to Sea World, it has a large carpark, but if you don’t have your own transport there are local buses which terminate there.

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