When the calendar reads July, that usually signifies blistering temperatures and a seemingly never-ending heat wave. Central Florida exemplifies searing summer heat more than most locales. Those looking to seek refuge from the heat and also provide their families with an intimate, up-close look at wildlife, should consider SeaWorld Orlando’s Penguins Up-Close Tour.
The tour provides guests an opportunity to closely interact with penguins, augmenting the experience to SeaWorld’s newest attraction, Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin. The tour is purposefully limited to a very small group, so as to maximize the one-on-one experience with each penguin. Our party of five was brought through backstage areas before arriving at a holding area where we learned about the penguins’ eating habits (essentially all-you-can-eat), lifespans (up to 30 years), different species (4), and total number of penguins at SeaWorld Orlando (approximately 250). Our knowledgeable and friendly tour guides then took us through the rear of the exhibit where we entered a very intimate area that once again underlined the need to keep the tour party small. This is where we got the opportunity to meet and even touch the penguins.
The first penguin we encountered appeared very shy in front of its audience. Our little entertainer even turned its back to us as it looked up to our tour guide, much like a small child would look up to a parent for comfort in a strange situation. However, another penguin joined our tour by actually waddling his way through a small crevice by the holding gate so that he could see what the fuss was about. Our tour guide informed us that different penguins exhibit different personalities and at times may even display varying moods. The Penguins Up-Close Tour concluded with three photo opportunities: with a penguin, with the guest simulating being underwater (presumably for a fun composite pic), and a normal portrait.
While the Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin attraction is included with SeaWorld park admission, the Penguins Up-Close Tour is not. At a starting price of $59 for ages 10+ and $39 for ages 3-9 (plus tax), the tour may not be right for those with a limited budget. However, Penguins Up-Close does provide guests with a unique, intimate experience that isn’t readily available to most guests. SeaWorld recommends guests that are interested book in advance to ensure availability, again accounting for the party size limit. Additionally, guests are encouraged to bring appropriate attire as they will spend approximately 30-45 minutes in a 30 degree environment.
Would your children enjoy meeting penguins through an experience like the Penguins Up-Close Tour?
Disclosure: We were provided a complimentary Penguins Up-Close Tour experience at SeaWorld Orlando. All thoughts and opinions are our own.
All photos © Ricardo Escobar for modernmami™