One advantage of being down in San Antonio is that because it doesn't snow and stays fairly decent weather-wise, amusement parks stay open way longer than they do on the east coast. With that opportunity available, I took advantage of my visit to see my parents by going to both Sea World and Six Flags in San Antonio.
On Monday morning I drove to Sea World and the parking lot was pretty empty, probably because it's the week before Christmas and people are leaving for vacation or whatnot. I got inside, got a map of showtimes, and first it was off to ride Shamu Express before heading to one of the theaters to watch the Polar Express in 4D. Basicallly they take and cut the original movie down to an 18 minute interactive movie. It was cute and all, the kids would like it, there certainly were a lot of them there. I timed it to be able to walk right over to the sea lion stadium and watch the sea lion show. It featured one of the stars, Clyde, trying to get into the Christmas spirit. There's various stuff that happens throughout, including leaps out of the water by the sea lions, and an otter running around. I enjoyed seeing their re-creation of The Night Before Christmas.
After the sea lion show, I had about 40 minutes to kill before the Shamu show, so I walked over to the Great White roller coaster and got in a few rides on that one. It's a B and M coaster that's similar to Afterburn at Carowinds so there's lots of turns and loops. Since there was basically no one in line, they said you could stay on it if no one was waiting in your row. I got to ride in the front and the back before it was time for me to head over to Shamu stadium.
The Shamu show was good to watch and I got awesome pictures. I purposely sat up high so I could get good pictures and not risk getting soaked. The one thing that blew my mind with that show was watching the trainers basically be able to stand on the noses of the whales and be pushed across the pool or even have them stand as the whales put them in the air. It was a blast to watch and I got awesome pictures of it.
After the show I walked across the park and got in a few rides on the Steel Eel. This coaster is like Steel Force at Dorney Park in that it doesn't have any loops or other elements, it's your basic out and back coaster, but it goes across the park, so it is a good long ride. Don't bother with riding in the front, the back is a much better ride. You get some sick airtime as you go up and down the hills.
From there I wandered the park and hit all the various exhibits that were open. I saw the penguin house, then went over to the sharks and coral reef aquarium. After getting out of those it was feeding time for the dolphins so I bought a tray and got to feed dolphins as well. With that tray came a coupon for buy one get one free for feeding the sea lions, so I went over and fed the sea lions as well. One of them was very vocal about getting fish from you, another one tried to be cute by slapping the water with his fin to get your attention.
Before leaving the park, I hit Journey to Atlantis, got wet on that one since it's the giant raft down the slide. Luckily it was a sunny day at the park.
Tuesday morning I was going to take my brother to Six Flags, then I found out they don't open that park until 4 PM, whereas Sea World had opened at 10. So we got to wait until the late afternoon. I would also find out that they do things a bit different there, as some parts of the park were closed. Only 5 of the 8 coasters were open and that didn't include their biggest one, Superman (jerks!). However, we did make a good evening of it. Our first ride was on boomerang, because since it is the same as the Carolina Cobra at Carowinds, it means there is only one car, so it's best to ride it soon after the park opens, before the line gets long, especially when everyone else is going to Goliath. We worked our way back to Tony Hawk's big spin, which my bro absolutely loved. Next I went on the Romp Stomp a Bomp (don't judge me, I wanted the credit :-P) before we went over to Goliath. Goliath is a lot like Talon at Dorney Park, and the line for any row but the front was short, so we managed to get on very quickly.
Our last new coaster to ride was the Road Runner Express. It is the first time I have seen a steel coaster disguised to look more like a wooden one. I think we had the most fun on that coaster. One thing that we had seen that was put in for the holidays was a sledding hill for folks to ride down. My bro and I each took turns riding and got a picture of the other going down the hill. Since I couldn't go sledding after the big storm in DC, might as well do some sort of sledding here, right?
From there we repeated some of our rides, doing Tony Hawk, Goliath, and the Roadrunner again. I did try going through some of the shops to find some fun souvenir of Six Flags, but there were no good magnets, or even good Wile E. Coyote items. I thnk it's because it's late in the season.
It's too bad that the other coasters were closed, so I gues I will just have to try and get back to San Antonio next summer to ride those missing coasters in my list. Both parks were fun, especially when I haven't been to a place like Sea World for a few years.