Get up close with bottle-nose dolphins at SeaWorld Orlando during the Dolphin Encounter Tour (Photo: SeaWorld Orlando)

Theme Park News

SeaWorld Orlando is the best place in Central Florida to experience aquatic creatures up close. Not only can you find unique and interesting attractions featuring animals from around the world, but did you know there are special tours you can add to your ticket to get even closer to these amazing animals? Here are just some of the behind-the-scenes and up-close animal experiences available.

Dolphin Encounter and Up-Close Tours
Located at Dolphin Cove in the Key West area of SeaWorld Orlando, the Dolphin Encounter is their most popular add-on experience. Your family gets the opportunity to meet the trainers and learn about the world-class care these animals receive. You'll get to participate in a training session, and the best part is, you'll have a chance to touch and feed the dolphins too! For an even more detailed look behind-the-scenes, the Dolphin Up-Close Tour includes a trip to the Dolphin Nursery and souvenir photos of your special hands-on interaction and training session with these majestic creatures.

Penguin Encounter and Up-Close Tours
Meet some of the coolest birds around at either of these incredible tours that take you behind-the-scenes to get up close with different species of penguins. The Penguin Encounter is a tour of the Avian Research Center where your family will have the opportunity to meet a warm-weather penguin in person. The Penguins Up-Close Tour takes you backstage at Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin where you get to hang out with one of these chilly creatures. You can touch a penguin and snap your best selfies with your new friend while learning about what goes into caring for these wonderful waddlers.

Animal Ambassador Tour
Animal lovers will love meeting all of the interesting, and often adorable, Animal Ambassadors of the new Animal Ambassador Tour. Learn the heartwarming stories of a wide variety of rescued animals. From exotic birds and lizards from far away lands, to local celebrities like eagles, owls and opossums, there's no telling who you'll meet on your tour. Each of the animal ambassadors have their own unique story and you'll love learning more about them, up-close in person.

Sharks Up-Close Tour
Now is your chance to look down into SeaWorld Orlando's massive 700,000-gallon aquarium filled with mighty sharks. Learn about the incredible diversity of sharks that call the ocean home, and how they are cared for in the park. You'll also have the opportunity to touch a small shark and feed several species in the shark shallows. This fascinating tour is a must-do for any shark fans in your family!

Killer Whale and More Up-Close Tours
There's several other Up-Close Animal Tours you can book during your day at the park, including the popular Killer Whale Up-Close Tour where you can come face-to-face with a killer whale in a once-in-a-lifetime tour of Shamu Stadium. Other animals you can meet in Up-Close Tours include Sea Lions, Walruses and Beluga Whales. No matter which tours you choose to go on, they all make an incredible addition to your day, and will create lasting memories for you and your family.

Private VIP Tour and Other Experiences
Can't decide on just one animal tour? The Private VIP Tour offers you up to 8 hours of guided exploration — and even includes front-of-line access to some of the rides, special seating areas at the shows and more! Other tours, like the Behind-the-Scenes Up-Close Tour, offer multiple animal encounters in one experience. You can even make a meal into an unforgettable experience with Up-Close Dining at Shamu Stadium.

All of these special animal experiences and tours require valid guest admission to SeaWorld Orlando, and many require advance booking as well. You can add photo packages to any tour to take home a memento from your adventure. Space may be limited for these special experiences.