Weekend trip to SeaWorld San Antonio & The J.W. Marriott Hill Country Resort:
We are staying pretty close to home these days since I’m about 5 months preggo and the girls have a really hard time sitting still on an airplane (or anywhere). So, we decided to take a mini vacay to SeaWorld since it’s not too far from Houston and because we love the Shamu show! Also, SeaWorld is phasing out all of their Orca entertainment shows by 2019 so we really wanted to take the girls to see them before they’re gone!
Savings on Tickets & Dining:
You can save $5 per ticket when you purchase your tickets online 3 days in advance. We also saved by purchasing the all day dining tickets. It’s an additional $15 per ticket but you can eat every hour at the park and it’s easy to share all of that food with the kiddos. The cost of just one meal at the park was around $15 anyway so we definitely saved a lot with the all day dining pass. The pass is not valid at all restaurants at the park, mainly just the big restaurants that offer basic burgers, pizzas, sandwiches, salads etc. The food was not great but what you would expect to find at any theme park.
Children under 3 years old have free entrance into the park, our girls are two and a half so that worked out perfectly for us!
Best Attractions: Obviously the Shamu Show “One Ocean” is a must see but as mentioned Sea World is phasing out these theatrical shows by 2019 so go while you can! We went to both the 1:45 PM and the 5:30 PM showings. Both were great and very different shows but if you have an option the 5:30 PM one was the definitely the better of the two!
Other shows we loved were the Sea Lion High (pictured below) and Pets Ahoy. Both of these have several showings throughout the day. I think Pets Ahoy was our girl’s favorite, it was exciting for them to watch all of the different animals on the move – dogs running through different doors, cats walking across ropes and pigs and birds popping out of different parts of the stage. I found it so amazing to learn that several of the animals that perform in the show are rescues from local shelters!
The girls got really tired about halfway through the day and since we forgot to bring our stroller from home we ended up renting one at the park for about $22 which worked out great! They have both double and single stroller options available to rent. We stayed at the park from noon until close at 6 PM and we still didn’t get to see everything SeaWorld has to offer. In all we had a wonderful time and will definitely be planning to return next year!
Hotel Recommendation: J.W. Marriott San Antonio Hill Country
There are so many great places to stay in San Antonio, including about a million different options around the river walk but since we have young kids we wanted more of an all-in-one resort style hotel. After getting several recommendations from friends we ended up staying at the J.W. Marriott San Antonio Hill Country and it was exactly what we were looking for!
Photo courtesy: Houston Style Magazine
What to Eat:
Most importantly, the food was amazing!!! The hotel offers several different restaurants on site, we decided to try the High Velocity Sports Bar for dinner our first evening. My husband loved watching the Astros game on the ginormous TV’s that scroll across the entire restaurant. High Velocity has a Vegas sports bar type of feel but is also very kid friendly.
The next morning we enjoyed a delicious buffet brunch at the Cibolo Moon restaurant. The signature omelet with brisket is a must!!! Kids under 4 years old eat the breakfast buffet for free which is a definite win! We snacked at the pool bar, Rivertop Grill for lunch and then went back to Cibolo Moon for an early dinner. Crawfish jalapeno cornbread fritters is not an appetizer I would typically order but I’m really glad I did because it was absolutely delicious!!! The picture below does not do it justice, trust me just order it!
For entrees my husand had the chili-seared shrimp with green chili cheddar grits which was amazing as well! I ordered the Smoked BBQ plate but I would recommend doing the BBQ buffet instead since it had so many additional options for almost the same price. The girls ate the kid’s BBQ buffet again for free!!!
What to Do:
The J.W. Marriott has an amazing pool with several large water slides, a lazy river, a toddler pool and a mini beach for kids to play in the sand! This kept the girls occupied all day long! Beach toys are even provided for the kiddos to play with which was awesome!
We took a break from playing in the afternoon and visited the make your own ice cream station at the pool which the kiddos loved! In the evening we went to one of the many fire pits at the resort and roasted marshmallows. One of the best things about this resort is the number of activities provided to help keep the kids entertained! It also offers an impressive golf course as well as a full service spa but we obviously didn’t have time to enjoy either of those this trip!
Overall, we loved our stay at this hotel! The only thing we weren’t crazy about was the additional $40 “resort fee” tagged on to our bill at the end. We received a short list of what the resort fee covered and it was a list of things we weren’t interested in – golf storage etc. The hotel is already at a high price point and this additional fee was a little bit of an annoyance, other than that we absolutely loved our stay and will be back another time!
***This blog is based on my own personal opinions I do not get paid to write for Sea World or the J.W. Marriott***