In March Andrew and I took the kids down to San Antonio for a day of fun at Sea World’s water park – Aquatica. We kicked off the day relaxing at South Beach with fellow Texas bloggers. South Beach was the perfect spot to grab a lounge chair and sit in the shade while the kids played in the sand. It’s convenient location to lockers for storing your personal belongings and the entry into the lazy river made for a great central base.
Our first activity was the stingray encounter at Ke-Re Reef.
I felt safe taking a dip in the stingray pool after hearing the employees at Sea World give us quick instructions. They informed us that each and every one of the 125 stingrays had their barb removed from under their tail, therefore they were completely harmless. You could tell the stingrays were eager to be fed those tiny little fish. They also enjoyed the attention and would all gather around our legs.
The fact that the stingrays would swarm our feet and you could feel the suction from their mouths hunting for fish startled some of the kids. They don’t have teeth at the front of their mouth so they were unable to actually bite us. I think just the unknown of these large sea creatures literally swimming into our legs and bumping us was unsettling for a few. Then of course several from our group loved the experience.
The employees took buckets filled with fish into the water and handed them out to anyone that was willing to feed the stingrays. It was actually pretty fun.
I loved the fact that the pool gradually got deeper so those that weren’t comfortable going all the way into the water could still be up close with the stingrays. If you only wanted to go ankle deep you could still pet and feed the stingrays. If you wanted to go all the way out into the water up to your chest and really play around with them then that was fine too. There was plenty of space for everyone in the group to spread out and enjoy their time.
Sea World Aquatica had a photographer out in the pool with us taking photos of our group. You could pose with the stingrays at your feet or have a natural shot taken with you feeding them. The photographer was very friendly and worked with each person to capture the best moment.
You can reserve your stingray experience online for only $25 per person. This includes the chance to get into the pool with the stingrays at Ke-Re Reef, feed them and receive a professional photo of your choice. I was surprised at how reasonable this price is. I remember swimming with the stingrays in the Bahamas once and it was more than triple that cost and probably wasn’t nearly as safe.
Even though Aquatica is a water park, you still feel like you are inside Sea World. Throughout the entire day you could see various animal experts walking around carrying animals to share with the kids. Each employee was extremely knowledgeable about the animal they carried around. They would let the kids pet them, learn all about them, pose for photos and then they gave the kids a quick squirt of antibacterial soap to clean up.
In between eating lunch, taking restroom stops and going from one water slide or lazy river to the next Noah would ask if we could stop and find another animal. He loved this part of Aquatica. It was like a big surprise because you never knew what would be out next.
The rest of the day was spent watching the kids play in the water while I relaxed with my feet up. If we only lived close enough to visit Aquatica every weekend…
Full Disclosure: I’m a Wildside Sea World Ambassador therefore my family and I receive complimentary passes into the parks and occasional other perks. All opinions and experiences shared are 100% mine and honest.