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|Location||500 Sea World Drive, San Diego, California, U.S.|
|Theme||Ocean Adventure and Exploration|
|Owner||City of San Diego|
|Operated by||SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment|
|Opened||March 21, 1964|
Sea World of CaliforniaSea World Adventure Park
|Operating season||All Year|
|Visitors per annum||4,311,000 (2013)|
|Area||190 acres (77 ha)|
|Website||SeaWorld San Diego|
SeaWorld San Diego is an animal theme park, oceanarium, outside aquarium, and marine mammal park, located in San Diego, California, United States, inside the city's Mission Bay Park. The park is owned by the City of San Diego and operated by SeaWorld Entertainment.
SeaWorld San Diego is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Adjacent to the property is the Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute, which conducts research on marine biology and provides education and outreach on marine issues to the general public, including information in park exhibits.
SeaWorld was founded on March 21, 1964 by four graduates of the University of California, Los Angeles. Although their original idea of an underwater restaurant was not feasible at the time, the idea was expanded into a 22-acre (8.9 ha) marine zoological park along the shore of Mission Bay in San Diego. After an investment of about $1.5 million, the park opened with 45 employees, several dolphins, sea lions, and two seawater aquariums, and hosted more than 400,000 visitors in its first year of operation.
Initially held as a private partnership, SeaWorld offered its stock publicly in 1968 enabling them to expand and open additional parks. The second SeaWorld location, SeaWorld Ohio, opened in 1970, followed by SeaWorld Orlando in 1973 and SeaWorld San Antonio (the largest of the parks) in 1988. SeaWorld Ohio was later sold to Six Flags in January 2001. The parks were owned and operated by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich between 1976 and 1989, when they were purchased by Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc. After Anheuser-Busch was acquired by InBev, SeaWorld San Diego and the rest of the company's theme parks were sold to the Blackstone Group in December 2009, which operates the park through its SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment division.
SeaWorld currently leases the land from the City of San Diego with the lease expiring in 2048. The premises must be used as a marine mammal park, and no other marine mammal park may be operated by SeaWorld within 560 miles of the City limits.
As of Summer of 2017, there are 26 animal habitats, 15 rides, 20 shows, 2 play areas, 4 special limited-time events, and 11 "distinctive experiences" (including special experiences such as swimming with dolphins). Note that some of the shows may vary during dayparts or seasons, but are counted as separate shows.
Bayside Skyride is a 1967 VonRoll type 101 gondola ride located in the northwest corner of the park behind the "Cirque Electrique" show. It travels over part of Mission Bay for a 6-minute ride on two 80-foot (24 m) towers, and lands on the other side before returning for a full loop. The Sea World Skyride has the longest span between towers out of any VonRoll Skyride ever built--925 feet (282 m). From 1967 to 1988, the Skyride was known as the Sea World Atlantis Skyride, and took riders to the Sea World Atlantis Restaurant which was located on the opposite end of the ride across the lagoon. After the restaurant closed, the ride remained, but took riders on a full loop, passing through the second station instead of stopping.
Journey to Atlantis is a Mack Rides water coaster. The ride stands at a height of 105 feet making it the 2nd tallest attraction at the park after the Skytower. The boat leaves the station and climbs the first lift hill, once at the top of the lift the boat takes a small decline to pick up a little speed and then travels around a right-hand turn that leads to the first tower building. The boat then enters the tower, passes under a fountain, and plunges down a flume 60 feet into a small man-made lake of water.
During the next section of ride the boat slowly travels along a flume of water, makes a left-hand turnaround and approaches the second tower. Speakers placed along the side play ominous music. The second tower contains a brief flood before entering a duel-elevator style lift that can lift two boats simultaneously. In the elevator a projection of the ocean is shown and the elevator rises. The boat slowly rocks side-to-side as it climbs to the top.
Once at the top of the lift the boat leaves the tower and comes to a sign warning the rider to hold on and prepare for the sudden slow-down at the end of the drop. The boat then travels down a 70 foot tall twisting drop that turns about 270 degrees, then rises back up onto a flat section of track containing some block brakes. From here the boat descends down another drop that banks to the right, and then climbs up slightly and makes a banked left-hand turn before descending down a small drop into another pool of water. The boat then slowly travels along a flume of water before making a left-hand turnaround and then heading back towards the station.
(Formerly Known as "Rocky Point Preserve") The park's popular bottlenose dolphins are on exhibit here in a multi-pool complex where guests have access to pet the dolphins. Guests can also interact with the dolphins during scheduled presentations of Dolphin Point Connection hosted by trainers that give them the opportunity to touch and give training signals to the dolphins. The Dolphin Encounter and Dolphin Interaction Program also take place at this exhibit. Adjacent to Dolphin Point is Otter Outlook, home to the park's California sea otters.
Sea Lion Point is home to 23 pinnipeds; 12 California Sea Lions, 8 Harbor Seals and 3 Guadalupe Fur Seals. Many of the animals were rescued and deemed non-releasable, born in the park, or are on loan from other zoological facilities in the U.S. Guests have the opportunity to feed the animals and have the opportunity to watch a feeding session done by the animal team. During the Sea Lions Up-Close Tour, guests have the opportunity to meet some of the resident animals, participate in a training session, feed and have a rare behind the scenes look of how the park cares for all of the pinnipeds.
Around the park, there are some animals that can be found in large, metal pens or exhibits that are not located in the park map. Here are the locations: Tropical aquariums, birds, and sea turtles at Shipwreck Reef Cafe, Turtle Beach, near Bayside Sky Ride, porcupines near Nautilus Amphitheater, and different kinds of birds around Calypso Bay Smokehouse and Explorer's Cafe. Dolphin Amphitheater is home to Tess the two-toed sloth, Peanut the Beaver, Scarlet Ibis, Cockatoos, Asian Small-Clawed Otters, and owls.
The Sky Tower is a 320-foot (98 m) Gyro tower that was built in 1969 designed by Intamin. The ride was refurbished in 2007 with a new capsule. The ride gives passengers a six-minute view of SeaWorld and San Diego. It rises at a rate of 150 feet per minute (46 m/min) while spinning slowly (1.02rpm).
Sesame Street's Bay of Play is an interactive children's play area that opened in 2008 and is based on the long running Sesame Street children's television series. The area includes three rides: Abby's Seastar Spin, a spinning "teacup" attraction, Elmo's Flying Fish, an attraction in the style of Dumbo the Flying Elephant", and Oscar's Rockin' Eel, an eel themed "Tug Boat" ride.
Shipwreck Rapids is an Intamin river rapids ride themed to a shipwreck on a deserted island. At one point riders pass by a sea turtle exhibit. There is also a point where riders go underneath a waterfall into an underground cavern.
Turtle Beach is part of Shipwreck Rapids and Shipwreck Reef Cafe. The turtles inside Shipwreck Reef Cafe are males and the exhibit outside of Shipwreck Reef Cafe, near Bayside Amphitheater, are females. During the Behind the Scenes Tour, guests are given the opportunity to feed the turtles and learn more about them. There are three species of turtles living at Turtle Beach: Green, Loggerhead, and Hawksbill sea turtles.
Turtle Reef is an attraction housing over 60 sea turtles in an aquarium with a variety of fish. In the aquarium is an interactive game called Race for the Beach, where guests can play as sea turtles on a mission to their nesting grounds. At the exit of the aquarium is a ride called Riptide Rescue, which is a spinning flat ride themed after rescue rafts.
Shark Encounter is a multiple pool exhibit featuring a variety of sharks as well other large fish. The first pool features medium-sized sharks, including Black and White Tip Reef sharks, Nurse sharks, Bamboo sharks and Zebra sharks. The second pool, which is the largest, features larger sharks, including Sand tiger sharks, Zebra Sharks, Nurse sharks, Black and White Tip Reef sharks, a Lemon shark, a Goliath grouper, as well as a variety of fish. The third pool features a variety of animals, including Bonnethead sharks, Leopard sharks, Zebra sharks, Tarpon, and a variety of fish. Directly across from the third pool is a touch pool style exhibit containing baby bamboo sharks, however guests are not allowed to touch the sharks. As guests continue on, they will be able to walk through a tunnel at the bottom of the second pool.
Wild Arctic is a simulator ride through the Arctic set in a giant helicopter. It features both a simulator or the option to go straight to the exhibits. After the ride, guests can view animals of the Arctic from both underwater and above. The first exhibit features three adult beluga whales and two adolescent beluga whales. The second exhibit was formerly home to polar bears, however, seals are currently on exhibit. The third exhibit features one female and one male pacific walrus.. When guests continue on, they will be able to view the seals and beluga whales from underwater.
Ocean Explorer opened on May 31, 2017. It is located south of Sesame Street's Bay of Play and between Explorer's Reef and Journey to Atlantis. The Aqua Lab includes California moray eels, a Japanese spider crab, a Porcupine crab, two Giant pacific octopuses, Pinecone fish, and Snipefish. The realm also includes five rides.
On May 26, 2012, SeaWorld San Diego opened a new mega-attraction called Manta, a Mack launched roller coaster featuring two launches LSM of up to 43 miles per hour (69 km/h) accompanied by a bat ray aquarium and touch pool. A shallow pool for touching bat rays, white sturgeons, and shovelnose guitarfish lies at the entrance of the attraction while two-sided underground aquarium (for riders and nonriders) can be accessed downstairs or via the queue. Manta begins with 270 degree projected media experience at the first launch. The train rocks forward and backward in synchronization with the projected film of a coral reef and school of rays. The two-minute, 2,800-foot (850 m) long ride stands at a height of 30 feet (9.1 m) and features a drop of 54 feet (16 m). The layout is characterized by multiple turns, short but sudden drops, and crossovers.
Electric Eel is a Premier Rides Sky Rocket II triple-launched roller coaster. It stands at 150 feet tall making it the tallest roller coaster in San Diego County with speeds up to 62 mph. It is the only coaster in the park with an inversion. It is located between Ocean Explorer and Journey to Atlantis. It will open in the Summer of 2018.
SeaWorld San Diego is home to three different aquariums. Aquaria: World of Fishes features both fresh and saltwater fish, including Piranhas, Alligator gar, leopard sharks, and many tropical marine fish, and also features a tide pool outside. Freshwater Aquarium features a variety of freshwater animals, including Electric eels, stingrays, turtles, Poison Dart frogs, and many other freshwater fish. Aquarium de la Mer features cephalopods, including multiple species of octopi, cuttlefish, and nautilus.
SeaWorld's Animal Care Center has different pools and facilities needed to care for rescued animals and continue their process of rehabilitation and release back into the wild. The main center is on the west side of the park, behind Shipwreck and Bayside Amphitheater. The center has pools to house rescued cetaceans or temporarily house resident cetaceans (health needs, pregnancy, temporary home), kennels to house California Sea Lions, Harbor Seals, Guadalupe Fur Seals and Elephant Seals, small pools to house new animals in quarantine and Sea Turtles, a small pool that is used for space, for around the clock care or to temporarily house the park's Sea Otters or Sea Turtles and an aviary that houses African Penguins, who are used for research. There is also two areas that used to house a Flamingo Breeding Area and a temporary bird exhibit but is currently housing Hawaiian Geese and other duck species. The main center also has the medical and surgical office, the fish room and the SeaWorld Rescue office. This area is accessible for guests only who take the Behind the Scenes or Sea Lions Up-Close Tour but it can be seen from the Bayside SkyRide, Bayside Amphitheater and Shipwreck. The SW Rescue boat and vehicles are also parked here. The other, known as the OWEN center, is located on the east side of the park, behind Penguin Encounter. This facility has aviaries that house different bird species that are rescued and in the rehab process but there are also aviaries that houses Flamingos, clapper rails and other bird species and this center also has an inflatable pool and a small pool and the bird center office to care for the rescued birds and newborn hatchlings. This area is only accessible to the rescue team but guests can get a glimpse of it if they do the Penguins Up-Close Tour, the Behind the Scenes Tour, next to the exit of Penguin Encounter and behind Nautilus Pavilion.
Opened on March 21, 2014, Explorer's Reef is an attraction set to an underwater-themed area that contains animal attractions and structures. Featuring four different touch pools, Explorer's Reef gives guests the opportunity to interact with a variety of fish, including 400 brown-banded bamboo shark and white-spotted bamboo sharks, more than 4,000 cleaner fish, and horseshoe crabs.
There are four species of dolphins at SeaWorld San Diego: common dolphin hybrid, both Atlantic and Pacific bottlenose dolphins and Pacific short-finned pilot whales. The bottlenose dolphins may rotate between Dolphin Amphitheater, Dolphin Point, and Animal Care. The dolphins at Dolphin Point participate in the Dolphin Interaction Program and Dolphin Encounter. There are two Pacific short-finned pilot whales that live at Dolphin Amphitheater.
Dolphin Point: Gracie (F), Crunch (M), Cometta (F), Dottie (F), Kolohe (F), Cascade (F), Razzle (M), Belle (M), Steime (F), Tobie (F), Daphne (F), Maggie (F), Bugs (F), and Sarasota (F).
Dolphin Amphitheater: Sandy (F), Melanie (F), Bullet* (F), Beaker (F), Malibu (F), Corona (F), Zana (F), Venus (F), Captain (F), Cocoa (F), Kali (F), Koa (F), Avalon (F), Connie (F), Lanikai (F), and Bodie (M).
Dolphin Amphitheater: Pacific short-finned pilot whales: Shadow (F) and Argo (M).
SeaWorld's main attraction are its killer whales, ten of which are housed in San Diego in a 7 million gallon habitat. Shamu was the name of the first killer whale brought to SeaWorld San Diego in 1965. "Shamu" is now used as the character name for the costume character at the park entrance. SeaWorld San Diego ended their theatrical Killer Whale shows at San Diego in January 2017. San Diego was the first of the three SeaWorld parks to premiere "Orca Encounter", a new show that SeaWorld is marketing as a more educational presentation.
Ten killer whales live at SeaWorld San Diego: Corky (F), Ulises (M), Orkid (F), Keet (M), Shouka (F), Nakai (M), Ikaika (M), Kalia (F), Makani (M) and Amaya (F). These are the last killer whales that will ever live at SeaWorld San Diego because of SeaWorld's announcement that they will end their killer whale breeding program.
SeaWorld features walruses at Wild Arctic. The last successful walrus birth at SeaWorld San Diego was a male named Dozer (father: Illiyak and mother: Tumuk) on June 21, 1993.
Wild Arctic: Chouchou (F) and Mitik (M).
SeaWorld San Diego is home to over 300 penguins representing 8 different species. In Penguin Encounter, there are 7 species: Emperor, King, Gentoo, Macaroni, Adélie, Chinstrap, and Magellanic. It is one of the few places in the world where emperor penguins are kept in captivity, including a successful captive breeding program. The park also houses Humboldt penguins in an outside exhibit located behind Shipwreck Rapids. Most of the penguins are not named and are identified by colored arm bands, with each color representing a species and number.
Wild Arctic is home to five beluga whales. The park's belugas regularly participate in Beluga Interaction Programs.
Wild Arctic: Ferdinand (M), Allua (F), Klondike (M), Atla (F), and Pearl (F).
SeaWorld's Wild Arctic was formerly home to two female Polar bears: Snowflake, who is on breeding loan at the Pittsburg Zoo, and Szenja, who died in April 2017. There are currently no polar bears living at SeaWorld San Diego. Five seals are currently living in the polar bear habitat.
SeaWorld houses two different species of otters: sea otters, who live at the Otter Outlook exhibit, and Asian small clawed river otters, who perform in the park's sea lion and otter shows and live at Dolphin Amphitheater.
Sea otters (Otter Outlook): Clover (F), Mocha (F), Coco (F) and Pumpkin (F).
River otters (Dolphin Amphitheater): Buffy (F) and Zander (M).
River otters (Sea Lion and Otter Amphitheater): Willow (M), Min (F), Desi (M), Sun (F), Leo (M), Giselle (F) and Hana (F).
The park houses California sea lions at its sea lion show venue as well as its Sea Lion Point exhibit.
Sea Lion and Otter Amphitheater: Duke (M), Jorge (M), Harvey (M), Victor (M), Kiawe (M), Murdoch (M), Jay (M), Tank (M), Diesel (M), and Ozzy (M).
Sea Lion Point: Diamond (F), Chita (F), Dubai (F), Pebbles (F), Zoe (F), Powder (F), Scooter (F), Scoobie (F), Rebar (F), Fancy (F), Khloe (F),
The park houses Harbor seals at Sea Lion Point and Wild Arctic.
Sea Lion Point: Tomas (M), Nessie (F), Anna (F), Annie (F), Olaf (M), Cyclops (M), Mackenzie (F), and Phoebe (F).
Wild Arctic: Grimsey (F), Gunner (M), Pellet (F), and B.B (F).
The park houses Guadalupe fur seals at Sea Lion Point.
Sea Lion Point: Lance (M), Megan (F) and Boldt (M).
The park currently houses a Ringed seal at Wild Arctic.
Wild Arctic: Natchek (M)
SeaWorld Entertainment purchased one of the Cedar Fair-owned "Knott's Soak City" water parks in late 2012. In 2013, the water park opened as Aquatica San Diego. The park is located approximately 23 mi (37 km) southeast of its sister park, in Chula Vista, California. The park features 22 slides.