Just call me Mrs Dolittle

So having survived eight hours on a plane with a gaggle of mummy bloggers we were taken to the fabulous Renaissance Hotel for some much R&R before waking bleary eyed the next morning for our visit to SeaWorld Orlando.

The daytrip began with a look at the rescued manatees – sadly a lot of them get tangled up with boats, fishing lines and at the moment, oil along the Florida coast. They reminded me of grey Barbapapas  and I was impressed with their ability to keep chowing down on lettuce while swimming underwater without stopping. (Although lettuce is clearly not as much of a diet food as we may have thought.)  

Even though it may feel like feeding time at the zoo in my house sometimes, throwing fish at a colony of sea lions was a totally new and unforgettable, if slightly smelly experience. Trying to make sure everyone got their fair share – particularly those with poor eyesight – was no easy feat but they were certainly grateful if the noise was anything to go by.

As a special treat we were also given the chance to pet a penguin – if you’ve ever wanted to know what they feel like, their feathers are super soft and even though he was very rotund, he was firm, not blubbery. If I could have got away with it, I would have smuggled him home (joke!).

The park is really well laid out, it doesn’t seem too busy or crowded, there are fantastic facilities (and restaurants – the Shark Inn comes highly recommended).

What I didn’t enjoy, though, was seeing a polar bear in the ‘Wild’ Arctic section. He wouldn’t survive in the wild now but I think he would prefer to be in an open air facility with a more suitable climate and somewhere he can run a bit more freely.

  Away from the animal attractions, Seaworld is brilliant for thrillseekers. I chickened out of riding the rollercoasters but judging by the screams of hysteria coming from those who rode Manta it was great fun (kids would LOVE it – but NB the height restriction is 54in).

The other big coaster is Kraken – OMG that’s high. I wimped out of that one too but those that rode declared it ‘amazing’, although one of them looked a little green around the gills afterwards. Sadly the sudden arrival of a thunderstorm (although very welcome to break up the 95F heat) meant we couldn’t go on Journey to Atlantis (and I would have done, I love water rides). Maybe next time.

* Virgin Holidays offer seven nights in Orlando, including scheduled flights with Virgin Atlantic from London Gatwick, accommodation at the 5V Renaissance Orlando Resort at Seaworld on a room only basis and car hire from £1,095. For more info click here. You can also buy tickets from attractiontix and SeaWorld.

written by Liz Jarvis