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Our ∼Fin-tastic∼ Guide to SeaWorld San Diego Events in 2023 and Beyond

by Mommy Frog on January 3, 2023 San Diego

Whenever you visit SeaWorld San Diego, chances are there is a fun event hoppening in the park! The SeaWorld San Diego events bring special entertainment, splashing good fun and seasonal food and drink to the aquatic theme park. We frogs love that SeaWorld always gives us a reason to celebrate.

All of the events are included in the cost of admission, although food and beverage (and sometimes special offerings) are extra. (Psst ... you can save money when you purchase discount SeaWorld San Diego tickets and passes through Undercover Tourist.) If you happen to have a Fun Card or annual pass, the events are included.

SeaWorld San Diego has confirmed the return and dates for some Frog Family favorite events through 2023. It’s frogciting to see SeaWorld continue these events, keeping the entertainment and food new and fresh. Keep hopping back as each event gets closer for the fin-tastic details, specific dates and even menus!

A few new SeaWorld San Diego events hoppened in 2022 as well and return in 2023, including Mardi Gras in January and February and Viva La Música in May. We will continue to update this post as dates and details are announced. Did you hear the news? SeaWorld San Diego is now cashless as of Feb. 22, 2023.

SeaWorld San Diego Events in 2023

Here's what's in store for 2023. In addition to frogciting family events, there is a new ride to look forward to — Arctic Rescue! This snowmobile-themed launch coaster zoom into play in 2023. We have all the dates for events for 2023. Be sure to hop back as dates can change or more specific details may roll in.

SeaWord Inside Look —  Jan. 14–16, 2023.

Our ∼Fin-tastic∼ Guide to SeaWorld San Diego Events-People meet a penguin

This event gives you the chance to meet the SeaWorld team and hear their personal stories about caring for the animals and their life-saving work. Animals, caregivers and activities can vary each day.

Mardi Gras — Select dates Jan. 21 – Feb. 26, 2023, (mostly weekends and holidays)

Our ∼Fin-tastic∼ Guide to SeaWorld San Diego Events in 2023 and Beyond-Mardi Gras entertainment

Get your beads on and celebrate new Orleans style. Enjoy live music, a DJ, colorful costumes and Creole or Cajun favorite foods. Keep an eye out for a procession, circus performers, a music-activated tunnel of lights and a new Louisiana Bayou laser light show on select nights.

Arctic Rescue — Spring 2023

A cool new ride zooms into SeaWorld San Diego in time for spring 2023! The ice is melting, and animals are in danger. Hop on your snowmobile and race to their rescue just like the SeaWorld Rescue Team that inspired this ride! With three exhilarating launches and reaching speeds of 40 m.p.h. on a 2,800-foot track, this family-friendly Arctic Rescue ride is the longest, fastest straddle coaster on the West Coast.

Seven Seas Food Festival — Select dates March 3 through April 30, 2023

Our ∼Fin-tastic∼ Guide to SeaWorld San Diego Events -Sampler with lamb slider and beverage

During select Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in the spring, sample your way around the world with 125 exciting flavors and local and international craft beers. You can even catch live musical performances and Polynesian fire dancing presentations on select days. You can purchase items individually or buy a Food & Beverage Sampler Lanyard.

The lanyards offer 10 food or beverage tastings for a flat fee. The pass can help you save money. Pass members can buy an 18 item card. You can buy online or in the park. Each punch is good for one food item, brew, wine, cocktail or nonalcoholic beverage. Cocktails are small, but at some locations you can get a larger drink for two punches. You can share a lanyard with a friend.

Keep in mind that some booths may be closed on Fridays. The full event and entertainment takes place on Saturday and Sunday. But Fridays still have plenty of tastes and the lowest crowd levels.

Our ∼Fin-tastic∼ Guide to SeaWorld San Diego Events -Drinks at FestivalEnjoy flavors from:

  • SoCal
  • Mexico
  • Polynesia
  • Italy
  • The Mediterranean
  • France
  • The Caribbean
  • Asia
  • Germany
  • Craft beers from local breweries
  • Beers from featured domestic and international breweries
  • Cocktails from around the world

Pick up the SeaWorld Seven Seas Food Festival event guide and map when you arrive. You can identify gluten-free, vegetarian or vegan items there. Festival foods are available at food booths and some dining or beverage locations in the park.

The festival brings a lot of foodies into the park, which can increase crowds. You'll want to arrive for shows about 30 minutes early to get a seat. If you are visiting during spring break, you may catch fireworks on the weekends!

Viva La Música — May 7 – 14, 2023 

This festive, family-friendly celebration will have you dancing to the hottest Latin music and sampling fiery flavors.

Electric Ocean — This event is not yet on the calendar for 2023, so we'll leave this 2022 information here in case it returns. 

Come summer, Electric Ocean powers the evening at this family-friendly event. You can immerse yourself in the worlds of light and music with special entertainment and decor, including:

  • Adrenaline! — This all-new stunt show (set to to a rock soundtrack with concert lighting) will have you sitting on the edge of your seat.
  • Electroblast: A Bioluminescent Music Experience — This all-new high-energy bioluminescent percussion show, creates a sensory electronic rhythmic dance atmosphere. It captivates audiences of all ages with hip-notic sounds! Move your feet to the rhythm and beats of this energized, immersive musical experience.
  • Bayside Summer Concert Series — Coca-Cola presents a new concert series at Bayside Amphitheater.
  • Club Sea Glow — This DJ dance party kicks off at 6 p.m. at the SkyTower Lawn.
  • Ignite Fireworks — A fireworks spectacular that brings the brilliant colors of the sea to the skies above the park on select nights (weather permitting). Check the park schedule for updates (plus larger shows for 4th of July weekend). Fireworks may be nightly July 15 though Aug. 14, 2022
  • Time-Surf Tunnel — Surf through a starry barrel of cosmic lights to a throwback soundtrack
  • Laser Reef Light Show — A canopy of laser beams submerges guests below in rays of color and a powerful soundtrack.
  • School of Glow — Dancing waves of RGB fish and bubbles that swim along to an electronic playlist.
  • Sea of Life — Glittery fish sculptures located on Dolphin Hill seem to swim through the landscaping. Programmed lights add movement making it seem as if the fish have come to life!

4th of July Weekend 2023

Our ∼Fin-tastic∼ Guide to SeaWorld San Diego Events in 2021 and Beyond-Fireworks over the Penguin Building

Enjoy magnificent fireworks displays and much more.

SeaWorld Craft Beer Festival — Weekends (plus Labor Day) Aug. 18 through Sept. 10, 2023

C'mon get hoppy with over 100 local and domestic brews at the all-new Craft Beer Festival. Pick up a festival sampling lanyard to taste 8 to 12 food items and beverages.

SeaWorld Spooktacular — Weekends Sept. 15 through Oct. 31, 2023

Our ∼Fin-tastic∼ Guide to SeaWorld San Diego Events-Painted pumpkin

SeaWorld Spooktacular takes place on weekends in September and October. All guests may wear costumes and eat fall treats. Plus tadpoles 12 and under can trick or treat for candy, boogie at special dance parties, meet characters, and decorate Halloween and fall treats. Hop over to our post on all of the Spooktacular fun at SeaWorld San Diego to learn more. The Sesame Street characters have hopped over to Sesame Place, where they have their own Spooktacular celebration.

SeaWorld Howl-O-Scream — Separately ticketed event select nights Sept. 15 through Oct. 31, 2023

Our ∼Fin-tastic∼ Guide to SeaWorld San Diego Events-Scare actor from Howl-O-Scream

Bring the tadpoles to Halloween Spooktacular during the day and yourself and teens to Howl-O-Scream at night. As huge horror fans of Knott's Scary Farm and Universal Studios Hollywood's Halloween Horror Nights, Leap and I enjoyed hopping through this newish (it lunged out in 2021) SoCal Halloween event.

Here are the scary details for this gory nighttime new event. With five haunted houses and multiple scare zones, there is no place to hide! Even the rides are thrilling! You'll also encounter a terrifying dance show, vampire DJs and party zones with sinister cocktails and concoctions at haunted bars. These spirits are restless! The event kicks off at 7 p.m. Hop over to our Sinister Guide to SeaWorld San Diego Howl-O-Scream for the scary details.

Paying too much for tickets is super scary. Get your discount SeaWorld San Diego Howl-O-Scream tickets from Undercover Tourist instead.

Día de los Muertos — Nov. 4 – 5, 2023

Celebrate this Mexican holiday with folklorico dancers, a mariachi band and more.

 Red, White & Blue Salute — usually Veterans Day weekend 

This patriotic event honors our military. Active Duty and veterans and up to three dependents may enjoy complimentary admission to SeaWorld during this limited-time promotion. SeaWorld honors members of the military and veterans during a pre-presentation before the Orca Encounter and Dolphin Adventures show. Veterans must visit by Nov. 13, 2023, to receive free admission. Active duty members may get admission through Dec. 31, 2023.

On select days around Veterans Day, pick up a free Heroes Trail sticker map at one of several booths located in the park. Explore all of the booths to collect up to nine Armed Forces (and other hero) stickers! Mark each location on your map with the correct hero sticker. Once you’ve found them all, bring your completed Heroes Trail map to the SeaWorld Store to collect a special prize! Catch Veterans Day fireworks on Nov. 11, 2023.

SeaWorld Christmas Celebration — Nov. 13, 2023, through Jan. 1, 2024

Our ∼Fin-tastic∼ Guide to SeaWorld San Diego Events-Rudolph

Ring in the holiday season at SeaWorld San Diego’s Christmas celebration. The park is decorated merrily and “otterly” bright. There are plenty of opportunities for photo-ops, especially in the Tunnel of Light. Meet characters and Santa from a safe distance, enjoy holiday treats and beverages and watch special holiday shows with dolphins and sea lions.

Our ∼Fin-tastic∼ Guide to SeaWorld San Diego Events-Carolers in snow

Here's what to expect:

  • Rudolph's Christmastown — Meet Rudolph and friends
  • Santa's Village — Meet Santa and some of his live reindeer!
  • A Stocking Full of Soul (New!) — Join “America’s Got Talent” finalist Bryan Cheatham, as he and his friends sing and dance the night away. It's located at Mission Bay Theater on Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays. Experience a soulful celebration of Holiday classics with appearances by some of your favorite SeaWorld characters.
  • Snowfall throughout the park
  • A Joyous Celebration (New!) — The magic of Christmas comes to life in this nightly show in the Nautilus Amphitheater. Enjoy dancing, holiday songs, lights and a Broadway-style set!
  • Mrs. Claus' Christmas Cavalcade (New!) — Mrs. Claus and a band of elves make their way throughout the park several times daily.
  • Acapella groups (New!) — The Holly Pops and the Holiday Hipsters sing carols in the park.
  • Donner and Blitzen's Lazer Light Show — Twice a night, experience a canopy of laser beams set to a festive soundtrack.
  • The Holiday Brass — Catch a holiday brass band throughout the park.
  • Animal Presentations with a Holiday Twist
  • Tunnel of Lights
  • A 30-foot Christmas tree (lighting at 5 p.m.)
  • Tunnel of Lights with over 5,000 music-activated lights
  • Hanukkah Celebration menorah lighting
  • Kwanzaa Festivities
  • Holiday shopping at the Christmas Shoppe, Holly Jolly Marketplace and other stores
  • Amazing animal exhibits
  • Christmas Wish Fireworks on select nights (Dec. 24 - 31, 2023).

Activities with an additional cost include:

  • Reindeer Round-Up Scavenger Hunt — Purchase a scavenger hunt map and embark on a merry quest to find Santa's gifts for all eight reindeer. Bring your completed map to the SeaWorld Store to collect a gift of your own!
  • Photos with Santa or Rudolph
  • Holiday cocktails, craft beer, hot chocolate and more
  • Festive entrees and desserts
  • You'll also find more holiday fun at Sesame Place. Consider getting a two-park ticket to visit both parks.

Keep hopping back for specific dates, details and updates as these events approach. If you are looking to save money on discount SeaWorld San Diego tickets, passes or Fun Cards (for multi-day fun) and even  to save a little green on parking, your favorite froggies are here to help! We also can help you decide where to stay in San Diego and help you hop on a good San Diego hotel deal.

Related: 15 Tips to Maximize Your Time at SeaWorld San Diego

Related: Our Guide to Visiting San Diego with Kids

Hoppy planning!

Keep hopping, Mommy Frog!
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