The park is in full Christmas mode, with all the shows (the ones still being performed anyway; the park was definitely in off-peak mode) tying in a holiday theme. The dolphin/beluga show was set to music from "The Nutcracker." The Shamu show tied into the miracle of Christmas, because when you think of the birth of Jesus, you naturally also picture an orca doing a midair flip to get some fish as a reward. The sea lion show was slightly Santa-themed. I shouldn't sound so cynical -- the shows still were entertaining and fun, and the boys, especially Ben, enjoyed themselves. I liked the the sea lion show the best, and thankfully, we were high enough in the seating area that we didn't get wet at the Shamu show.
We were blessed with warm weather, though it was a little cloudy. Lori planned the day well -- we made it to all the shows we wanted to see and never waited long in a line. Michael and Lori went on a tall roller-coaster -- the Steel Eel -- that Ben wasn't too keen to try. We skipped the water rides (no matter how much Michael protested), and the boys got to romp in the play structures in the park. I think Ben's favorite part of the day was the chance to feed some dolphins, including the one pictured. We weren't quite brave enough to pet one (especially after I saw the video of the girl being bit by one in Orlando), but it was fun nonetheless. We later fed some sea lions, when we discovered Michael, who loves animals, likely won't become a marine biologist after not wanting to touch the fish we were throwing to the animals.
The boys got souvenirs -- a stuffed dolphin and a wristband with his name on it for Ben; a Santa hat with a whale tail instead of a fuzzy ball on top and a stuffed baby seal for Michael. After seven hours at the park, lit up quite beautifully for the holidays, we left SeaWorld and drove back to Kerrville. We are so not used to going to an amusement park in December that it felt much later than it actually was. After getting some dinner on the way home, we arrived back at my mom's house. The boys were exhausted but happy after their fun day.
We have two full days left on this trip, and so far, it's been great, visiting family and going to SeaWorld. The weather has been great, and the only negative of the trip was a bumpy flight into Denver (hell, I hate turbulence). The boys have been having so much fun playing with cousins and being adored by the adults. Of course, the trip is going by too fast. I'm sitting on the balcony of my mom's house that overlooks part of Kerrville on a quiet, cool but also humid night. I hope Utah isn't too wintry when we get back, no matter how close to Christmas we are.