The holiday season has arrived in the Hill Country! From Nov. 11, 2021, through Jan. 2, 2022, SeaWorld San Antonio is decking its halls for a holly-jolly celebration! This wintery, watery wonderland features spectacular shows, festive foods, the largest Christmas light display in Texas and meet and greets with seasonal faves such as Santa Claus and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer! Even Sesame Street Bay of Play gets into the spirit, complete with a Christmas Party Parade and characters in their holiday best. Listen to carolers, sip some hot cocoa and — yes — enjoy the marine park's many animals and thrill rides. Best of all? It's all included with your ticket!
Overview of SeaWorld San Antonio's Christmas Celebration
SeaWorld San Antonio offers a splashing good time year-round, but the holidays bring a little extra sparkle! The park is set up in 12 different lands, each with its own holiday theme. With entertainment galore, plus all of SeaWorld's regular animal encounters and rides, there's no shortage of festive fun! Attending this holiday hoppening is a tradition for the Frog Fam. This year, even Grandpa Frog got in on the fun — and meeting a life-sized Bumble and Yukon Cornelius made him feel like a tadpole again. (You better believe he wanted his own photo-op with them!)
The Christmas celebration takes place on select days of the week, and holiday hours are a little later at SeaWorld San Antonio, often beginning at 1 p.m., so you'll want to plan your day (and peek at the day's entertainment schedule) ahead of time so you don't miss out on any must-dos for your squad. While SeaWorld becomes majestically illuminated at dusk, the park's decor remains in place all day. Ride wait times are at their lowest before dark, and most rides close about 30 minutes before the park does, so we recommend getting those rides in first.
Entertainment at SeaWorld San Antonio's Christmas Celebration
There is SO MUCH to do and see at SeaWorld San Antonio's Christmas Celebration! With live bands, special holiday shows, character meet and greets and even a parade, you're sure to have a fun-filled day. Check out SeaWorld's website for exact showtimes during your visit.
We can't undersell this one, and that's why it's at the very top of our list! You'll find decorations in every nook and cranny of the park, including ride facades. (Lily pointed out that Penguin Encounter looks like a giant glacier!) With over 9 million lights over 250 acres, this is the big draw for most families — and it doesn't disappoint! Keep an eye out for special Alamo City touches, including dueling snowmen and Spurs shoutouts.
Holiday Shows and Parade
- NEW Rudolph Tree Show
Next to Journey for Atlantis (which is closed for the season), gather around the 27-foot-tall LED Christmas tree for a special light show. Then watch as the tree "dances" along to the music of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer!"
- Sesame Street Christmas Party Parade
Sesame Street joins in the holiday hoopla with a merry parade sure to get tadpoles toes tappin'. While other entertainment runs multiple times a day, the parade only takes place once each evening. That means people line up along the parade route pretty early! We'd recommend jumping on a spot 45 minutes ahead of time. Leap staked out some chairs in Bay of Play and we had an elevated spot to watch, plus a nice place to rest our flippers. The parade ends at Bay of Play, where the characters will hop on stage to have a quick dance party.
If you have older kids that aren't interested in Sesame Street, parade time is a great time to hit the opposite side of the park for rides. All guests should note that areas surrounding the parade route will experience some detours around showtime.
- A Beluga Christmas at Beluga Stadium
Learn more about Beluga Whales and Pacific White Sided Dolphins alongside SeaWorld trainers, then watch these animals in action set to holiday tunes.
- Clyde & Seamore's Countdown to Christmas at Sea Lion Stadium
Could we love Clyde and Seamore any more? Even these two jokesters get in the holiday spirit at SeaWorld San Antonio. Watch as the crew completes a list of tasks to ensure Santa makes his way to Sea Lion Stadium. This one is a must-see for our fam.
- NEW Coastal Carols - Tidings of Joy at Sea Star Theater
As a busy dockside resort readies itself for the holiday season, its staff awaits holiday packages to start their gift exchange. Watch as decorations come to life and traditions and memories are relived.
- Merry Mariachis at Coca Cola Lane
Over at Coca-Cola Lane, The Merry Mariachis put on an amazing show. While you can see this one in passing, we opted to eat our Harbor Market lunch outside to enjoy the music while we ate.
- NEW Jingle Belles at Coca Cola Lane Stage
Join the belles as they deliver your favorite Motown and soul holiday hits.
- NEW Rudolph Brass Band
Listen to the hoppin' stylings of Rudolph’s brass band, as they swing you into the spirit of Christmas. Lily loved joining in the conga line!
You'll also find:
- Festive Flurries at Christmas Market
- An Elves Christmas Story at Christmas Cove
- The Story of Christmas at Peace on Earth Nativity
- Country Christmas Musicians at Christmas Market, featuring rotating artists throughout the season
Aside from the many picture-perfect spots to stop with lights and decorations in the background, you'll have the opportunity to pose with:
- Santa at the Christmas Market
- Sesame Street friends at Bay of Play Stage
- Rudolph, Clarice, Yukon Cornelius and Bumble at Rudolph Pathway
Dining at SeaWorld San Antonio's Christmas Celebration
There are two dining add-ons to enhance your holiday visit to SeaWorld San Antonio.
Dinner with Santa
The big man himself, Santa Claus, is ready to host you for dinner (with Mrs. Claus, too, of course!). Featuring a shared meal and a special story together, you'll also get the chance for a photo-op. Served buffet-style, menu options include beef stroganoff, turkey, pork loin, pasta salad, macaroni and cheese and more. Desserts and beverages (hot cocoa!) are also included. This experience takes about an hour.
Dine with Rudolph
Rudolph and his friends Clarice, Bumble and Yukon Cornelius are ready to say hello! Much like Dinner with Santa, this dining experience includes photo-ops and a buffet-style meal featuring prime rib, macaroni and cheese, pork loin and more. Drinks and dessert are also included and the experience takes about an hour.
These reservations fill up quickly, so be sure to hop on them early! The Frog Fam attended dinner with Rudolph, and we thought it was well worth the price (in fact, we only paid about $20 more for dinner than we did for lunch at Harbor Market — but dinner was all-you-can-eat and drink, so grab a bottle of water on your way out!). The food was delicious (Grandpa Frog was a big fan of the prime rib), the tadpoles couldn't get enough hot chocolate and everyone loved meeting the characters. You even get to watch as Rudolph's nose lights up when he comes to your table!
Other Holiday Treats and Food
In addition to regular dining stops around the park, many vendors have special holiday menus. From loaded hot chocolate with Butterfinger topping to cookies, there is a bounty of holiday goodies. Hop Tip: All Day Dining is good for the holidays too! You can purchase a ticket with All Day Dining already included.
Tips for Attending Christmas at SeaWorld San Antonio
- Crowds pick up around dark (can you blame them?), so if you want to catch some rides, we recommend arriving at park opening to knock those off of your list (when wait times will be at their shortest).
- And speaking of rides, water rides such as Journey to Atlantis will be closed. All rides will close about 30 minutes prior to park closing, so get them in early.
- We really enjoyed dinner with Rudolph and thought it was worth the extra cost! (Psst ... check prices in advance because there are often sales!)
- The Sesame Street Christmas Parade starts toward the front of the park and ends in Bay of Play with a dance party. If you have tadpoles who are super into Sesame Street, you'll want to see that ending! If not, you'll want to plan your way around the park accordingly, as there are detours around the parade route during showtime.
- Save time and money by purchasing your tickets and parking in advance (save some green through your favorite frogs!)
- Ready for year-round SeaWorld San Antonio fun? Put an annual pass on your wish list! (Psst ... an annual pass is roughly the same cost as two one-day tickets, so if you plan on attending more than once this year, it's worth it! Bonus — if you buy now for 2022, you'll get the rest of 2021 free!)
There you have it — everything you need to know before attending SeaWorld San Antonio's Christmas Celebration! Did we miss any highlights or tips? Be sure to share with us in the comments below!