Pros: variety of activities, great staff, educational fun
Cons: long food lines
*UPDATED JUNE 2001
Sea World of Ohio has been bought by Six Flags. I have not been there since this transaction. From what I understand one admission price now gains entrance to the Six Flags Amusement park next door to Sea World, the Six Flags Water Park within the amusement park, and what used to be Sea World Ohio. Shamu has been replaced by a dophin show.
Sea World of Ohio is located south of Cleveland by about 30 -45 minutes max. We have been there twice. Our first time was in July 1997 and once again in August 1999. We only skipped 1998 due to the birth of our daughter. We loved it both times. It's fun and educational.
The park, of course, has several sea animals. There are seals, otters, penguins, whales, fish, dolphins, and sea lions. There are also bird displays with some beautiful birds including the bald eagle. I really liked that there was a knowledgeable employee(s) at all of the animal locations talking about the animals, and ready to answer any questions you might have.
Shamu is the main attraction. He is an orca whale that resides there. There is also a smaller orca whale there. They put on an amazing show several times a day. The show highlights the amazing size and intelligence of the whales, and also educates those attending about the life and needs of the whales in the ocean.
At the Dolphin Cove you can buy fish to feed the dolphins. Although they are fed on a schedule, and the amount sold per feeding is limited, so if you really want to do this you will have to get in line ahead of time. Feeding times for the animals are displayed though.
My sons also enjoy the "pearl" demonstration. They have young female divers that demonstrate the ancient art of gathering oysters to look for pearls. These demonstrations occur frequently throughout the day. Their favorite part though is buying a cup with a token in it (I think it was $20 for 2) to give to the diver, who then dives down, and collects an oyster for you. You take the oyster to the counter and watch as they open it and remove your cultivated pearl, which you get to keep. They tell you the size and value of the pearl. My sons have gotten pearls of various colors and shapes, and have even gotten an oyster with twin pearls. Very educational.
The animals aren't the only attractions though. There is an "interactive" 3D movie that is thrilling. Beware that young children may get scared by it though. My 6 year old had a difficult time with it. Most other six year olds were loving it though. There is also a play area for the children complete with a three story net climbing play area. Not for those of us who don't like heights. There is also a inflatable moon walk, water play area with pirate ship, video game arcade, baloon toss, toddler play zone, and sand box. I like that there are park employees at all locations guiding and supervising the activities. At the entrance there is even a spot you can rent strollers or wagons if you need to. Some of them are shaped even shaped like whales! Various shows like diving and water skiing complete the package.
There are several food areas offering a variety of foods from pizza to sit down meals. They are of course slightly pricey, but not as bad as some places. The lines at the food places tended to be long and slow moving though.
At the end of your day be sure to stick around for the fire work show that includes a water screen lazer light show. It is truly incredible.
Admission includes the whole day of activities. The only thing you have to pay for is food, souveniers, and the oyster pearls. The park is very clean. The employees are constantly going around cleaning. Even the restrooms are clean and don't smell bad.
I was suprised at the lack of hotels in the area. There are a few hotels located within 10 minutes of the park. And, there is a Six Flags hotel located just outside the parks.
I would recommend this trip to everyone.