A motor dinghy roars into the pool, grabbing the audience’s attention. Leaping in graceful arcs beside it come the stars of the show – the beautiful dolphins. Soon the air fills with gasps and cries, and your kids watch transfixed. The dolphins put on a stunning display of synchronised swimming. In time to music, they twirl, somersault and leap, clap their fins and dance on their tails. They shoot up vertically from the water as if they are being shot from cannons, and give their keepers zooming rides across the pool, even launching them into the air.
■ The touch pool at Shark Bay, where you can pat starfish, sea cucumbers, sea urchins, hermit crabs and baby sharks.
■ An Animal Adventure (extra cost), if you would like to get ‘up close and personal’ with the sea creatures in the park. Children 5 years old and over (and a minimum height of 110 centimetres) can cuddle a seal, hop in a pool with dolphins, or ride in a glass-bottomed boat over a lagoon filled with sharks. Children 10 years old and over can snorkel with the sharks! Book ahead to avoid disappointment; (07) 5519 6200 or 13 3386.
■ The sea lion theatre, where humans in costume and sea lions put on a performance together.
■ Meeting the stars of Network Ten’s national cartoon show Toasted TV. This show is filmed on location at Sea World. Phone (07) 5588 2222 to find out when you can watch the filming.
Sea World staff are on call 24 hours a day to rescue sick, injured and stranded animals in the wild. The cost of providing the necessary resources, specialised equipment, boats, helicopters and staff can be very high, but the costs are all met by Sea World – so your entry fees are going to a good cause.
■ Various ticket options are available, including combinations with other theme parks.
■ The main attraction here is the animals. Don’t go for the rides. The queues can be extremely long and although there are ride options for very little folk, and some really challenging thrills, there is not much in between.
■ There are various food outlets in the park. You are asked not to bring in your own food, unless you have allergies.
■ Sections of the park are frequently closed for maintenance, but there is always plenty to see and do.
■ There is an extra cost for some activities, including the water-play area, which has a shallow kids’ pool.
■ Some shops and rides are only open from midday until 4pm.
■ If you’ve ever wanted a helicopter ride this is your chance (high extra cost). Rides as short as five minutes are available. There is a minimum of three adults per ride.
■ If you are participating in an animal encounter in the water you will be supplied with a rash vest and board shorts or wetsuit, but you’ll need your own swimwear underneath, and you must remove all jewellery and hair clips.
■ Sea World Nara Resort is right next door and is attached by monorail.