Seaworld San Diego, California
The umbrella term SeaWorld covers three marine theme parks in the United States, located in Orlando, San Diego and San Antonio. As the name suggests, water and the animals that live in it play a predominant role in the parks. SeaWorld could be described as a mixture of an exciting amusement park, a versatile dolphinarium and an exciting zoo.
SeaWorld San Diego was the 12th most visited amusement park in the United States in 2014, with around 3.8 million visitors. The park is owned by SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, a subsidiary of the Blackstone Group, and was the first of the SeaWorld parks. Initially, an underwater restaurant in combination with a sea animal show was planned. However, these plans were quickly abandoned in favor of a theme park that celebrated great success within a very short time and could be expanded bit by bit.
SeaWorld is closely connected to the black and white killer whales, which have become very popular since “Free Willy” at the latest. At the end of the 1960s, SeaWorld San Diego was the first park in the world where visitors could marvel at such an orca. This first killer whale was named Shamu. In his honor, all adult orcas are called Shamu in shows even today, although they actually have different names.
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The animals at SeaWorld San Diego
The main attraction at SeaWorld San Diego are the orcas. 11 of the black and white killer whales currently live in the park: Corky (II), Kasatka, Ulises, Orkid, Keet, Kalia, Nakai, Ikaika, Shouka, Makani and Amaya. Corky, Kasatka and Ulises are still caught in the wild.
There are also dolphins (bottlenose dolphins), beluga whales, short-finned pilot whales, sharks and Californian eagle rays, but also penguins, sea turtles, Californian sea lions, seals, walruses, Californian sea otters, Asian dwarf otters, polar bears, caterpillars, black vultures, crowned cranes, parakeets.
The animal shows
The animal shows at SeaWorld San Diego typically last between 20 and 25 minutes. It is advisable to be there about 15 to 20 minutes earlier in order to get a good seat. You can find out about dates and times on the park website or directly on site.
The main attraction of the park is the daily live shows with the orcas “OneOcean”, which has been in the program since 2011. “One Ocean” wants to take its visitors into the world of the ocean and touch the senses of the visitors accompanied by majestic killer whales. “We are all part of a world, of an ocean and we can all make a difference in the world we live in,” that is the message that the show wants to convey to its guests during the approximately 25-minute show.
“Dolphin Point Playtime”
Playtime with the dolphins takes place at “Dolphin Point”. During the show, visitors learn about the park’s dolphins, can take part in a training session and are inspired on how to protect the clever animals in the wild. One child at a time also has the chance to get up close and personal with a dolphin under the supervision of a SeaWorld trainer.
“Killer Whales: Up Close”
During this demonstration, SeaWorld trainers describe how to care for the killer whales in the park. Visitors also have the opportunity to learn more about the impressive marine mammals. It explains, among other things, where the black and white coloring of the animals comes from and which types of killer whales live in the world.
“Sea Lions LIVE”
Behind this name is the sea lion show with the two sea lions Clyde and Seamore. The show lasts about 20 minutes.
Pets Rule! is the pet show in the park’s demonstration program. Dogs, cats, birds and pot-bellied pigs show their skills here. This animal show lasts about 20 minutes.
In addition to animal shows, the park’s Mission Bay Theater hosts a variety of events, including B. the “Magic Weekends” with well-known magicians such as Steve Wyrick, Michael Grasso, David Thomas, Rick Thomas and Michael Turco.
The amusement park
There are currently two roller coasters in the park, the “Journey to Atlantis” water rollercoaster and the “Manta” LSM coaster.
Journey to Atlantis
The water coaster “Journey to Atlantis” by Mack Rides (the managing partner of Europa-Park in Rust) opened on May 29, 2004. It is a 29 meter high water roller coaster that reaches a maximum speed of 68 km / h on an 18 meter high descent. Part of the approximately five-minute drive runs through an elaborately designed building that is based on Atlantis – or what one imagines Atlantis to be. Dome towers and arches can be found there and the fall of the mythical island kingdom is recreated. Another special feature is the vertical lift, with which the vehicles are pulled up vertically until the visitors can finally make the last descent. “Journey to Atlantis” consists of individual wagons that travel on rails,
The LSM-Coaster Manta is a steel coaster and was opened on May 26th, 2012. The roller coaster can reach speeds of up to 69 km / h over a total distance of 853 meters. A world first is the start of the roller coaster ride. You are in a 270 ° cinema, see mantas swimming back and forth above your heads, the train slowly shuttles back and forth and is then suddenly catapulted out of the tunnel and the two-minute journey begins. The “Manta” also comes from Mack Rides.
Eating in the park
Various restaurants are available to visitors at SeaWorld San Diego, all of which serve sustainably produced dishes. A special feature are the “Breakfast with Shamu” and “Dine with Shamu” programs, where families and their children can dine right next to the orca pool.
In addition, the park offers various other offers, such as dolphin swimming or entire vacation packages in cooperation with hotel partners.
Criticism of the park
SeaWorld has long been criticized by animal rights activists who criticize the keeping of animals and their display in the context of demonstrations. The 2013 documentary “Blackfish” made a particular contribution. Injuries or deaths to employees caused by the animals also caused a stir in the media, such as the death of trainer Dawn Brancheau at SeaWorld Orlando in 2010.
SeaWorld announced in March 2016 that it would no longer breed orcas in the future or capture them in the wild. In addition, the “One Ocean” show in San Diego is to be discontinued at the end of 2016 and replaced by a show that comes closer to the natural behavior of animals.