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SeaWorld Camp Through the Eyes of a Camper

June 28, 2022
This week, I will embark on my fourth year of attending SeaWorld Camp.

This blog was written by a SeaWorld San Diego camp attendee and is part one of two in a series on this camper's experience.

This week, I will embark on my fourth year of attending SeaWorld Camp. It feels almost surreal to me considering that I have not attended for many years due to Covid-19 restrictions; the last time I attended I was only 14 and was making the big jump into high school. Now as an incoming senior of 17, rather than being nervous before the big day, I’ve been reminiscing on the life-long memories and experiences I’ve gained.

I remember my first year, I was extremely nervous! Now, I don’t consider myself to be a social butterfly, so I thought I was doomed to spend the week alone, but my anxiety was all for not as I ended up making friends with nearly every one of my dorm-mates. One of my favorite memories that year was Skit Night, where each group presents their own skit to the rest of the camp. Our skit wasn’t flawless, but we couldn’t stop laughing and smiling and it remains one of my fondest memories.

No matter what career I decide to pursue, there is no doubt SeaWorld Camp has ignited a lifelong passion for marine biology within me. In my second year, I remember speaking to a behaviorist about sea lions. They quickly rose to being my favorite animal, and I was astonished to learn that sea lions have full control of their vibrissae (whiskers). Additionally, throughout all three years, we got to meet with a South African penguin and her care team. Prior to SeaWorld Camp, I had little idea the fascinating differences between Antarctic penguins and sub-Antarctic penguins, including the fact that more species actually live outside Antarctica! However, the cake has to go to when we were able to wade in the bat ray pool. I absolutely loved them and how they reminded me of curious puppies.

Although I’ve savored the knowledge I’ve gained, nothing will ever compare to the friends I’ve made along the way. There’s a sense of indescribable community every time I step into camp, from the counselors to the campers. In my aforementioned first year, I bonded with one of the members of our group. The following year, we stayed in contact and arranged our schedules so we could attend camp together once more. Though I have not seen her in person since, due to distance, we still text to check up on each other and I’m sure this will continue for years to come. This experience has taught me how important it is to step outside your comfort zone. 

- By Emily Anderson, SeaWorld San Diego camper