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Our ∼Fin-tastic∼ Guide to SeaWorld San Diego Events in 2021 and Beyond

by Mommy Frog on March 8, 2021 San Diego

Guide to SeaWorld San Diego Events - PinterestWhether you have visited SeaWorld San Diego during normal operation or right now (when SeaWorld San Diego is operating as a zoo without rides), chances are there is a fun event hoppening in the park! The SeaWorld SanDiego 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 are extra, unless you've purchased a Dine and Drink Bundle. (Psst ... you can save money when you purchase discount SeaWorld San Diego tickets and parking through Undercover Tourist, including Dine and Drink tickets.) Be sure to hop over to our SeaWorld San Diego reopening post for all of the important things you'll need to know before safely visiting SeaWorld, at least while COVID-19 is still out there. You must purchase tickets in advance. If you happen to have a Fun Card or annual pass, the events are free. However, since capacity is limited, all visitors must make a reservation before arrival.

SeaWorld San Diego has confirmed the return of some Frog Family favorite events through 2021. Keep in mind that there may be modifications to these events compared to past years. That means the SeaWorld San Diego events in 2021 may be quite different from what we saw in 2019 and 2020 (and can expect in 2022 and beyond). 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!

On a recent visit to SeaWorld San Diego, we got a look at the 2021 lineup. We have frogciting news! There are a few new events hopping up. Besides the all-new drive-thru events, we can also look forward to Kids' Weekends, BBQ & Brews and SeaWorld Howl-O-Scream! We will continue to update this post as dates and details are announced.

SeaWorld San Diego Events in 2021

Our ∼Fin-tastic∼ Guide to SeaWorld San Diego Events - Sea Lion FlippingHip, hop, hooray! SeaWorld has confirmed that these toadally awesome events are returning in 2021. Here's what we have to look forward to, including an all-new drive-thru event to kick off the new year.

Emperor Coaster Opening — TBD in 2021

SeaWorld has not dropped the specific date of this coaster's opening, but our tween Tad's happy feet are swinging with frogcitement for this new floorless penguin-themed dive coaster. Emperor is expected to make a splash in 2021 (after theme parks are given the thumbs-up to reopen rides). With speeds over 60 mph and a dive plunge over 150 feet (and over 90 degrees), this is the tallest and fastest dive coaster in California. After all, it makes sense, as the emperor penguin is the tallest of all of the penguins.

Our ∼Fin-tastic∼ Guide to SeaWorld San Diego Events 2021 - Parade of Lights Flyer

Sesame Street Parade of Lights — Select evenings Jan. 15 to Feb. 24, 2021

What do you do when a Regional Stay-at-Home Order canceled your Christmas celebration? You make lemonade out of lemons and celebrate those thousands of twinkling lights and Sesame Street characters in January and February so guests can experience the park safely from their vehicles!

Our ∼Fin-tastic∼ Guide to SeaWorld San Diego Events in 2021 and Beyond - Event guide You could cruise through two tunnels of lights, under the illuminated Sky Tower and through a Sesame Street Village. Guests could wave to characters atop colorful floats while listening to Sesame Street music. Or, make it sweet by adding on treats such as hot cocoa, pretzels and cotton candy. Some packages included bubble wands, plushes and other fun surprises.

Seven Seas Food Festival — Select dates March 5 through May 2, 2021

During select weekends 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 two lanyards offer 10 to 15 food or beverage tastings and can help you save money. Pass members get three free bonus items with the 15 item lanyard. You can buy online or in the park. Each punch is good for one food item, brew, wine, cocktail or nonalcoholic beverage.

Our ∼Fin-tastic∼ Guide to SeaWorld San Diego Events in 2021 and Beyond - Woman eating hummus friesEnjoy flavors from:

  • SoCal
  • Mexico
  • Polynesia
  • Italy
  • The Mediterranean
  • France
  • The Caribbean
  • 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 select restaurants in addition to normal menu items at restaurants (in case your tadpoles are not feeling too adventurous). The booths open about noon. There are standing and seated tables where you can remove your mask to eat.

Our ∼Fin-tastic∼ Guide to SeaWorld San Diego Events in 2021 and Beyond - Lamb Slider

If you still have a 2020 lanyard, you cannot use it at this event — but you can bring it to Guest Services to get compensated with SeaWorld Bucks, which are valid at SeaWorld stores and restaurants.

The festival brings a lot of foodies into the park. You'll want to arrive for shows about 20 to 30 minutes early to get a seat. If you are visiting during spring break, you may catch fireworks!

Fireworks — March 26 through April 4

The skies are lighting up for spring break in 2021! End your day at SeaWorld with a bang. You can enjoy fireworks from several physically distant viewing areas at 7:45 p.m. on the following nights:

  • Friday, March 26
  • Saturday, March 27
  • Sunday, March 28
  • Monday, March 29
  • Tuesday, March 30
  • Wednesday, March 31
  • Thursday, April 1
  • Friday, April 2
  • Saturday, April 3
  • Sunday, April 4

Kids' Weekends — Weekends May through June

Bring the tadpoles for some splashin' good fun at this new event!

Electric Ocean — June to September

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.

SeaWorld BBQ & Brews — September to October

Enjoy tasty BBQ and craft brews in the park.

SeaWorld Spooktacular — Weekends in September and October

Our ∼Fin-tastic∼ Guide to SeaWorld San Diego Events - SeaWorld San Diego Halloween Spooktacular

SeaWorld Spooktacular takes place on weekends in October. Your tadpoles can wear costumes, boogie at special dance parties, meet characters, trick or treat for candy and eat or decorate Halloween and fall treats. Hop over to our post on all the Spooktacular fun at SeaWorld San Diego to learn more.

SeaWorld Howl-O-Scream — September through October

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 are hopping with excitement for a new SoCal Halloween event. We are waiting for the scary details to emerge for this gory nighttime new event! The Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream events in other states feature haunted houses, scare zones, and stage shows.

Red, White & Blue Salute — Select dates in early November and around Veterans Day 

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 show.

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!

SeaWorld Christmas Celebration — Usually Mid-November through early January

Our ∼Fin-tastic∼ Guide to SeaWorld San Diego Events 2021 - Rudolph and Friends

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.

Let's dive into the details and see what 2021 brings, based on scheduled 2020 details (actual activities may vary in 2021):

  • Rudolph's Movie Experience - Introduced in 2020, you can watch a shortened version of the holiday classic with Rudolph's Movie Experience on a 150-foot outdoor screen (after dark)
  • Meet Rudolph and friends
  • Sesame Street Christmas Village - Take physically distant photos with characters in their holiday attire.
  • Santa Presents Christmas Animals Around the World at Nautilus Amphitheater
  • Animal Presentations with a Holiday Twist
  • A 25-foot sea-themed Christmas tree
  • 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

Activities with an additional cost include:

  • Stocking Stuffer Trail - On Saturdays and Sundays, guests 12 and under can collect sweets, toys and other fun finds in a purchased Stocking Stuffer Trail reusable bag from any park store. Kids can take the bags to eight Stocking Stuffer stations to collect the loot through delivery tubes.
  • Christmas Treasure Hunt - Purchase a Christmas Treasure Hunt sticker 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!
  • Cookies and photos with Santa
  • Holiday cocktails, craft beer, hot chocolate and more
  • Festive entrees and desserts

Other SeaWorld Events That Are Not Yet on the Calendar

While we know SeaWorld has announced the return of the above events, we can't help but notice that some smaller events close to our froggy hearts were not yet mentioned. The following events have occurred previously at SeaWorld. We do not yet know which of them will return for 2021, or if it will be 2022 before we see them again. Keep hopping back for updates as they approach!

Lunar New Year — February

In February, enjoy festive shows with Chinese acrobats and savor delicious Asian-inspired dishes.

Past Springtime Events

  • In springs past, Elmo’s Eggstravaganza made April weekends "eggciting" at SeaWorld.
  • In early May, guests could celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

SeaWorld Events with Fireworks

SeaWorld shoots off fireworks several times a year. Based on past schedules, Sea World celebrated with fireworks during the following times:

  • Select nights during the Seven Seas Food Festival
  • Memorial Day weekend
  • July 3–4
  • Labor Day weekend

Given that fireworks return for spring break in 2021, we are hopful that we'll see more fireworks return in summer ... with new physical distancing guidelines and viewing areas in place. Ribbit!

Be sure to 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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