I am an advocate of seeking out behind-the-scenes opportunities at our museums and parks. You can do at SeaWorld San Diego via rare Inside Look tours during select February weekends that are included with the cost of admission.

Dates for this series include Feb. 8–9, Feb. 15–17, Feb. 22–23 and Feb. 29–March 1. You’ll tour these five areas in the park under the guidance of animal experts and behaviorists: Orca Encounter, the SeaWorld Animal Health and Rescue Center, the Humboldt penguin habitat, Dolphin Amphitheater, and Sea Lion and Otter Amphitheater. Come armed with your questions as they’ll be happy to answer them.

You’ll pick up an Inside Look event guide and have it stamped as you visit each area to earn a collectible SeaWorld animal pin. There are seven of these pins so if you choose to return on a different weekend to enjoy the tours again, you may be able to collect a new design.

Without further ado, here’s what you can look forward to.

See also: How to buy discount SeaWorld San Diego tickets.

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SeaWorld San Diego Inside Look Events

Orca Open House

While you will be able to walk through the Orca Encounter skywalk, into the amphitheater and inside the fish house where the orca’s meals are prepared, a highlight in the underwater viewing area to see them in their multispecies habitat while learning about their enrichment and daily life.

On this particular tour, guests will get a glimpse of the start-of-the-art care facility and what exactly the experts and vets do to keep the animals healthy.

Humboldt Penguin

A Humbodlt penguin swims in the water at SeaWorld San Diego.
Photo credit: Mike Aguilera/SeaWorld San Diego

SeaWorld San Diego annual pass holders and other frequent guests will tell you that the penguins are a highlight. Sure, the cold-weather penguins in their rather large chilly exhibit (that you shouldn’t miss) are adorable but this tour celebrates the rather different Humboldt penguin who lives in a more temperate climate including why they are important to the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan.

Pilot Whale and Dolphin Presentation

If you ever go whale watching in San Diego, you might see pilot whales. It’s even more likely that you’ll spot a dolphin pod. On this Inside Look tour, experts will share what goes into the daily care of whales and dolphins. You’ll see the parks three recently-rescued pilot whales and two baby dolphins.

Sea Lion Rescue Story

Rehabilitated sea lions are released back into the ocean from a SeaWorld San Diego rescue boat.
Photo credit: Mike Aguilera/SeaWorld San Diego

I have personally called SeaWorld San Diego to rescue La Jolla seals and sea lions in distress. Sometimes you get a voicemail but in my experience, they called me back to say they were on the case. They’ve been known to close exhibits in order to rehabilitate our marine life. I think that publicly showcasing these stories, that many of us residents already know, is long overdue.

Experts will talk about how they rescue and rehabilitate sea lions and seals. You’ll even be introduced to a few of these rescues who are now ambassadors living at SeaWorld San Diego because they’ve been deemed nonreturnable to the wild by the National Marine Fisheries Service.

I hope that you take advantage of this opportunity while it lasts as SeaWorld is one of the best things to do in San Diego with kids. Don’t forget that those visiting more than once should consider saving money with a Fun Card or a 7 days for the price of 1 ticket.

See also: Best SeaWorld San Diego rides that you can’t miss!

Top photo credit: Mike Aguilera/SeaWorld San Diego

Katie Dillon is the managing editor of La Jolla Mom. She helps readers plan San Diego vacations through her hotel expertise (that stems from living in a Four Seasons hotel) and local connections. Readers have access to exclusive discounts on theme park tickets (like Disneyland and San Diego Zoo) and perks at luxury hotels worldwide through her. She also shares insider tips for visiting major cities worldwide, like Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Shanghai, that her family has either lived in or visits regularly (or both).

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