We’re back with an all-new update from SeaWorld San Diego! Today we’ll be taking a look at the extravagant SeaWorld Christmas Celebration event that runs through January 4th.


This event is by far the one I look forward to most at SeaWorld every year. And the decor just grows and improves every year!  Because of the construction going on in the new entrance area, SeaWorld has gone all out with decorations at the temporary entrance.

You may recognize these from previous years.


New this year is a color-changing Christmas tree near the temporary entry. At two different times each night, the tree will illuminate with patterns and dramatic color changes.

It’s a bit like a one tree version of the Orlando park’s Sea of Trees. We sure would love to see that extravaganza move to San Diego next year.


Every year, the area in front of the Animal Encounters attraction holds several different activities.

Starting off with a reindeer viewing area.
Isn’t he just the cutest?


Other activities include cookie decorating, a booth to purchase kettle corn, and Santa’s Cottage.


Unfortunately, Santa has left his cottage for this Christmas, but he’ll be back next December.


Between the Pet’s Rule stadium and Snow World is an enchanting wintery walk-through area lit with hundreds of lights. Snow falls here at random times throughout the day.


And speaking of snow . . . Snow World, the extremely popular holiday attraction, returned this year as well.


Guests can play in the snow, play arcade-style snow ball games, and the little ones can go sledding . . .

Sled hill


Between Wild Arctic and the Penguin Encounter, you’ll find a statue of penguins and polar bears trying to get the star on top of the tree.



And surrounding the Natallius Pavillion event area are these twinkling lights…

The icicle lights have grown in number this year


One of the cutest parts of the event is the Cat’s Christmas Parlor, located on the side of the Pet’s Rule stadium.


Of course the cats are asleep…


…but it’s still worth a visit. !



The Calypso Smoke House has also been decorated for the season!


And while you’re walking around the park, you’ll notice that even the light fixtures have been decorated to fit the season…

…some more elaborate than others.
Turtle Reef has gotten into the Christmas spirit as well.


The trees in front of the Blue Horizons stadium have returned.
Palm trees surrounding the SeaLion & Otter stadium have also been lit.



The Mission Bay Theater, which houses the Madagascar Live! Operation: Vacation, has also been decorated, inside and out. The show has been renamed Madagascar Live! Operation: Christmas Vacation. The show ends with a Christmas song mash-up.

These have been added near the flamingo area (next to Manta).


It seems that SeaWorld has heard the complaints of the lack of any sort of…well anything in the second half of the Manta ride. So this year, SeaWorld has added Christmas trees all over the area.



And this isn’t new, but I was struck by the lighting of the front of Manta, which is year-round. It’s really gorgeous.



And of course the Skytower of Lights have returned.


The trees around Shamu stadium are surrounded with these lights, which really give off a stunning effect, especially when watching the Shamu show and seeing them in the background.



The Shamu show has been given a couple visual and audio tweaks.


The changes include a new introduction, a slightly revamped soundtrack (which you may not even notice), and new visuals on the LED screens.









Overall, the SeaWorld Christmas Celebration is an exceptional delight. It’s something that is a tradition for my family and we love watching the celebration grow and change every year.

Construction Central: Explorer’s Reef!

Now, let’s do a quick park update. There’s a bit of news to share.


The walkways to the Shamu Stadium and to the SkyTower have been reopened with new pavement.  Also, SeaWorld has released a new video on their YouTube channel, providing a sneak peek at the SeaWorld Store, a part of the new entrance, and will be opening on January 3rd! Take a look:

In addition, here is the last video covering the new construction for Explorer’s Reef! It sure seems to be coming along quickly!

We’ll have more on the new entrance in our next update, as we count down to its opening on March 21st!

That’s it for todays update from SeaWorld. We will see you In The Parks

Now enjoy the latest episode of the Unofficial SeaWorld Podcast where Eric, Mike and Erin talk about SeaWorld Christmas at all 3 SeaWorld parks, and they share audio with Sr. Trainer Sara McGuire who spoke to the MiceChat.com meet up group on December 15th at the SeaWorld Orlando meet up.

  • Eric Davis

    Great update Joseph! I love seeing all the updates happening in the parks, and I love seeing what is happening for christmas there in San Diego.

  • jcruise86

    The small Cats Christmas Parlor is a brilliant way for Sea World to say, “You hippicrites! See how your indoor house cats suffer the same confinement as our orcas?” Well played, Sea World!

    Maybe Sea World should become Animal World. They already have Pets Rule, which is probably inoffensive outside of PETA circles. Hard to argue about dogs with obvious exhibitionist streaks. And this would be convenient if Sea World builds parks in S. Korea or Central China . . .

    I can’t tell you how excited about Sea World’s entrance.

    • jcruise86

      ^^typo: how excited I am.

      Eric, thanks for the update!

  • lighttragic

    I was down at the park on December 30th curious to see how the crowds would be and if blackfish had any impact on the attendance. See world hit nearly 27,000 that that day and it was packed . constant announcements of shows reaching capacity. According to some execs i spoke with the winter has been busier than some weeks in summer

    • AaroniusPolonius

      Beyond anecdotal evidence (which is anything but,) and skewered managerial perspectives (this summer was a really bad season for SeaWorld; one would hope that winter was better, and it’s Christmas to New Year’s week: historically the big time for theme park business in warm weather climates,) I’m really curious to see if their business takes at hit.

      It might be the case that Blackfish is playing to a receptive choir, which is to say to people who already wouldn’t go to SeaWorld in the first place, those who find the business practice distasteful. Now, the documentary may have switched some of them over to more strident activism, but they were already in the “skip SeaWorld” camp, so maybe there won’t be ANY downtick in business. To put this another way, did “An Inconvenient Truth” facilitate large-scale change or did everybody rush out and buy a massive SUV and house in the exurbs? (Data indicates the latter, in droves.)

      Still, considering the recent SeaWorld skewering of online polls, ridiculous “it was the weather” quarterly claims (which didn’t affect nearby competitors at all,) and massive dumps of stock, I’d say their PR and marketing department is in overdrive trying to mitigate a slew of damage to their bottom line.

  • yichku59

    Wow Shamu’s dorsal fin looks extra floppy. Maybe if he performs all his circus tricks without messing up Santa will give him a new one.

    • Disneyfan58

      Hi yichko59,

      The next Boycott SeaWorld demonstration will be on Jan. 19th at 10:00am.


      • Eric Davis

        MiceChat comments are not recruitment centers.

    • AaroniusPolonius

      OK, that’s some great snark. Bravo.

  • Disneyfan58

    SeaWorld has for many years presented itself as pure clean family entertainment. This is purely superficial. SeaWorld is to whales and dolphin’s what the circus is to elephants. People, please have compassion for animals that have been stolen from their families and are living a lifetime sentence in prison, performing stupid tricks. SeaWorld is the worst. There are many ways to enjoy these animals in the wild, Southern California has many whale / dolphin watching boat trips that will educate and entertain all that join. You will also know that you were not taking part in the abuse of innocent animals. Boycott SeaWorld. The next Boycott SeaWorld Demostration will take place on Jan. 19th at 10:00am

    • evergreen

      Thank you very much for your efforts. It’s greatly appreciated by those of us who are unable to attend your protest. We support you. It’s imperative that people get educated about these maginificent animals and the hell they endure for the sake of corporate profits.

  • Disneyfan58
    • GDub80

      ^ Looks like you are alone on this one. Have fun protesting outside, while we are all inside learning about these fascinating animals, and supporting the good the SeaWorld has done for 50 years in helping rescue, rehabilitate and return so many beautiful animals back home. The park is thriving more than ever, partly because of the publicity that protestors like yourself are giving the company. So, thank YOU for keeping SeaWorld’s attendance up higher than it has been in years!! Your efforts are going toward more love and appreciation toward the animals, and I am certain the SeaWorld thanks you in advance!!

      • evergreen

        So what do you learn about these animals by going to Sea World? Please enlighten us by telling us ONE thing you’ve learned that you couldn’t learn by googling it.

        And you state that you love the animals. If you truly loved them, you wouldn’t want to see them held captive in small cement ponds and forced to perform.

      • AaroniusPolonius

        evergreen, your mistake was in taking the bait laid by GDub80. Two wrongs don’t make a right; they just facilitate an online rant.

        Some debate points for you both:
        Stating that “SeaWorld’s attendance [is] up higher that it has been in years” doesn’t make that true, nor does it make it a fact. According to SeaWorld’s own quarterly statements, their attendance has been down for most of this year, and, in general, their attendance has shrunk since 2011. Now, whether or not that has to do with the death of Dawn Brancheau, the documentary Blackfish, general trends in the market, or increased competition in their competitive markets (Disney/Universal; SoCal/Orlando) is certainly up for debate. But, attendance is down. Profit per person attending is up, masking the declines in attendance, but that can only go so far.

        Stating the good that SeaWorld does doesn’t mitigate the perceived bad of captive orcas. The Catholic Church gives a lot to charity, and helps a lot of poor people. Should we let their priest keep raping little boys, despite the good. It’s a very poor argument and defense.

        Asking for “ONE thing you’ve learned” is setting you up for failure. “I learned that orcas aren’t fish.” “I learned that orcas can do backflips.” “I learned that I like rock music at orca shows.” You could present this fact (that google and wiki could easily provide the knowledge without captive circus marine acts,) and note that the information would come free without the cost of admission. In that manner, you’d make your point, make a point about smart spending, and not invite spurious non-debating online rants.

        How does one define “truly loving?” For right-wing Bible-people, “Truly loving” a homosexual involves restricting their rights and condemning their lifestyle. They truly believe that they have “true love” for the gays this way. If one “truly loves” the environment, one would truly live in dense, urban settings and not suburbia, and yet, a whole lot of green people live in the ‘burbs, defining their “truly loving” the earth in a different manner based on their own opinion. So, while I don’t agree, for some, they “truly love” orcas IN CAPTIVITY. And since it’s an opinion, they are as right as you are.

      • evergreen

        AaroniusPolonius, thank you for your intelligent and sober comments. You are right – and I’m sorry I ranted. So thanks again. I appreciate it.

  • Disneyfan58

    Tomorrow, My wife and I will be taking a beautiful whale watching trip. We will be learning and watching whales and dolphins swimming free, behaving naturally. The cost of this trip is less than a ticket to SlaveWorld. I have been whale watching twice before, once in Maui and once in Juneau, Alaska. These trips are wonderful.


    • Eric Davis

      let while whales be wild, and free from humans driving them from their feeding grounds. Whale watching in the wild actually does massive harm due to noise pollution and pollution from the boats to wild whale pods.

      Safely view whales at SeaWorld.

      • evergreen

        Simply not true. Whale watching does not do “massive harm” to the whales. Whale watching is strictly regulated by the Federal government.

  • Disneyfan58

    Evergreen, you rock !

  • tooncity

    San Diego Sea World existence will become untenable once the very active California State Legislature gets their hands on this one. With their nation influence, with passing legislation that is often duplicated across other states. A Bill that that bans the display of Orcas and Dolphins will get passed in some fashion. The debate will be huge, and will only further damage SeaWorld. The 2 California Aquatic (Africa-USA) theme parks will just move the Orcas to out of state parks. Other states with Orcas will also get the pressure to end the display of these animals as California just did. Sea World will just have to give up, and only display them in Fl. Florida will never ban the display, but the damage will have been done with none of the parks surviving. Why do you think the Buy Value Disney Corporation never bought Sea World when it was available? They forecasted the damage this issue can do to a brand.
    Just think all the political issues, proposition, social movements and the CA Supreme Court decisions that have gotten started in CA, then spreading across the country. Sea World San Diego is on leased public park land. The public is turning on them. They are vulnerable. That half heart newspaper ad was just weak. Not detailed, not creditable and Ineffective. The slide has begun.

  • josephtaylor

    Last night I was reading the first comment on this issue written by DisneyFan58. I clicked the link and I went to the Protest SeaWorld SD page and saw all that was going on. I ended up becoming infuriated, writing this lengthy, sarcastic reply, which I’m sure will be deleted. However, last night I couldn’t sleep because of this issue. This is an issue that is very close to my heart.

    To those who are against SeaWorld, I must ask you: When will it end? When will all this end? You don’t want animals in captivity. You want SeaWorld and our Zoos to go to ruin. But don’t you see what will happen if you get your way? Don’t you understand that if we did not have places like SeaWorld and the Zoos, many more animals would be endangered and extinct today than there are now? How can you not see that? I’m sure you have pets. What’s the difference between Shamu being in a ginormous pool and your fish in the fish tank? Or the dogs and cats in the animal shelter? Should we release all the pets in the shelters and return all the fish? What good would that do?

    I just can’t understand how you people can be so cruel and narrow-minded. Yes, I agree with you. Animals shouldn’t be in captivity. You’re absolutely right. But guess what? They are. And if we were to release the Orcas – most of which were born at SeaWorld and know nothing else – they’d be dead anyways, and much sooner than you’d think! SeaWorld takes good care of their animals. SeaWorld rescues and rehabilitates thousands upon thousands of animals every single year. And you want to shut them down? In San Diego alone, every time there is a beached whale or a SeaLion with it’s flippers cut, stranded on the beach, SeaWorld is the FIRST TO THE SCENE. EVERY.SINGLE.TIME. And you want to shut them down?

    You say you love animals. But how can you love animals and boycott SeaWorld?

    To those of you who know the truth and support SeaWorld, I encourage you to like our new Facebook Page: “Stand With SeaWorld”. While we literally just made the account today, we will be more active on it as time progresses and we’d appreciate your support. || Facebook.com/standwithseaworld

    • Eric Davis

      Thank you Joseph! I am grateful for you column, and I am glad to have another SeaWorld supporter!

    • evergreen

      You wrote: “What’s the difference between Shamu being in a ginormous pool and your fish in the fish tank?” The fact that you even ask that tells us how much educating we still have to do. OK, here’s some help for you:

      1. “Shamu” is not in a “ginarmous pool” – not in relation to an orca’s size. They are ocean mammals, used to swimming great distances and diving to great depths. The pool is small for an ocean mammal that size. It would be like putting a person in a small prison cell 24/7 without ever letting him out.

      2. Orcas rely on their sonar. The cement walls of the pool cause their sonar to bounce around creating a “hall of mirrors” effect.

      3. Orcas are intelligent mammals.They have intense emotions and feelings and a complex social structure. Fish are, well, fish.

      4. “Shamu” is forced to perform daily for his food. Fish are not.

      5. Captive orcas have a lifespan that is far shorter than the lifespan of wild orcas.

      6. Captivity causes unnatural behavior in orcas and dolphins. (Orcas are the largest members of the dolphin family.) Famed oceanographer Jacques Cousteau once compared the behavior of captive dolphins to the behavior of concentration camp prisoners.

      7. The whales do not have a choice in their captivity. They are forced to swim in a circles all day and perform for food whether they like it or not. They are, in effect, slaves.

      8. I simply don’t believe tha Sea World rescues “thousands upon thousands of animals every single year”, as you stated. Each year they do a few high-profile rescues for publicity. They are a billion-dollar business, not a charity.

      9. Orcas are not endangered, as you stated.

      10. Orcas and dolphins are highly-intelligent animals.The bottom line is that they are suffering in captivity for your entertainment and for corporate profits. No other reason.

      Finally, you stated that those of us who want to see these animals swimming free are cruel. I don’t get your logic, but it is most certainly cruel to hold these magnificent creatures in captivity and force them to perform daily on schedule. I can’t understand why that isn’t obvious to you.

      How do I know all of this? Because I used to a trainer. And I knew many of these captive animals personally.

      • josephtaylor

        First of all, your “facts” do not answer to the point I was trying to get across in my reply. These animals were born at SeaWorld. They don’t know much else! And you want to release them? Are you not aware of the story of Keiko, the whale from Free Willy? They WILL die soon after they’re released. These animals are not equipped to live in the open ocean environment anymore. Do you not see that?

        And I did not they Orcas are endangered. I’m aware that they’re not. I said that if we release animals from SeaWorld and our Zoos, so many more animals will become endangered if not extinct, and that includes Orcas.

        “Shamu” is NOT forced to perform daily for their food. That is an absolute lie. They are fed whether or not they perform, and what they are fed is top notch, restaurant quality cuisine. There is no positive repercussion to stop having them perform. Studies have shown that performing these behaviors increase an their mental health prolongs their fitness and increasing quality of life.

        Trust me, if SeaWorld was the cruel monster you have them out to be, I would definitely agree with you that something needs to be done. I’m a animal lover. I always have been and I always will be and I want nothing but the best care for these animals. And that is why I have and always will support SeaWorld, because that’s all they do.

      • armyofrobots

        1. you’re right, the whales aren’t in oceans. But many of the whales, at least here in Florida, were injured or raised in captivity. They wouldn’t make it in the waild.

        2. Orcas rely on sonar for traveling and finding others/food. Trainers provide the animals their food, so this is kind of a moot point, no?

        3. well, fish are just fish. So, I guess it doesn’t matter if they’re kept in tanks? Okay.

        4. I’ve been to more cancelled shows than I’ve seen the show because the whales don’t feel like performing. “Forced” is stretching.

        5. The average male Orca lives 30 years. Tilly, for exmaple, is 33. They live the max age of 50-60. Corky II is 46 So…you know…there’s that.

        6. okay, cool. Can we have some other sources than a paraphrased quote from Jaques.

        7. Again, most whales are also injured or born in captivity. Like your household dog or cat you love dearly and wouldn’t set free because they would probably get injured…

        8. Fact. Sea World does. You’re ignorance can’t get you out of this one.

        9. also, fact.

        10. Opinion.

        And I highly doubt you were a trainer. Sorry, dude.

      • armyofrobots

        there are also a few grammatical errors and typos. I, too, am an idiot.

      • evergreen

        Reply to armyofrobots:

        1. For the record, I do NOT believe that captive-born orcas should be released into the wild. But neither should they be destined for a life of living in a cement pond for corporate profit. I would like to see a facility built that would be a natural enclosure (a cove) where they can live protected and cared for yet also have the option to swim out into the ocean/bay if they choose.

        2. Their sonar is their NATURAL way of seeing the world. Yes, they use it to find food. They also use it to detect disease in each other. They use it for lots of things. Messing with their sonar causes them to live in an unnatural way.

        3. Fish are fish. Yes, tanks are OK.

        4. What do you think happens when the animals refuse to perform? Do you think the trainers go “aahh” and treat them kindly? Here’s what happens: The front office fires off a memo or places a call to the trainers chastising them about a missed show (that the tourists paid money to see and are now complaining to the front office about). So what do the trainers do? They withhold food! How do you think they get them to perform? By being nice? Have you ever seen an orca show done WITHOUT fish? No! They must be hungry to have a show! That is a basic fact of animal training.

        5. The average lifespan for captive killer whales is about 7 years. That is a FACT. Pointing to one or two orcas that have lived long lives in captivity is merely an anecdote, not science.

        6. What kind of source would you like? Maybe a former trainer?

        7. Please refer back to my point #1 above.

        8. It’s NOT a fact. It’s something you believe to be true. If Sea World does ‘thousands” of rescues each year, that would mean they do at least 5 or 6 rescues EACH DAY. That’s obviously impossible. How could they do that? Where are these THOUSANDS of animals kept? As I stated earlier, they are a business, not a charity. (If you think I am wrong, please provide some proof for your assertion. I am certainly open to learning.)

        9. Agreed.

        10. My statement that they are suffering in captivity is my opinion – based on my personal experiences with these amazing animals. I’ver seen orcas bang their heads against the walls of their tank. I’ve seen orcas attack trainers. Your opinion that they are not suffering in these tanks is based on what?

        Yes, I was a trainer. You were not. Sorry dude.

        (I apologize if my tone or attitude in my posts seems arrogant or angry. However it does frustrate me when people can not or are not willing to see the truth.)

      • Amber

        In response to evergreen…
        1. Sure, everyone would love to see a cove-like environment where the whales could swim freely but a cove is you’re interpretation of what is the most stimulating and best for these animals, and is not necessarily correct. What happens when these pseudo captive animals get sick. Should they not perform their voluntarily behavior of giving blood? And as far as this cove, Whos going to pay for it? The creators of blackfish? Doubtful. Sea world spends millions on their whales. As a former trainer, you must know how much a killer whale eats each day and the tremendous monetary cost of keeping them fed and healthy.

        2. They’re sonar….(can we call it echolocation since we’re having a serious discussion?) is not disrupted in their sea world environment. It is disruptive by things like actual sonar or loud boats, allegedly, which are in the ocean. It bounces off things to tell the whales what they are looking at, be it a wall, another whale, a ball, or an open or closed gate. I’ve never read a paper about them using it to detect disease in each other, but I’d like to.

        3. Should octopus not be kept in tanks? They’re intelligent. Cuttle fish? Whale sharks? Turtles? These are non mammals that can live long lives and demonstrate high levels of cognitive ability and be trained to perform complex behaviors.

        4. While I don’t doubt that people complain if a show gets cancelled, you as a former trainer would know that an animal is always given a base diet. Also, I am continuously amazed at how many behaviors the whales preform in a show without immediate reinforcement in the form of fish. Sometimes they will do entire show sequences before they are fed. But as a former trainer you know all about things like secondary reinforcers and other ways to reward behavior. You must also know that food is not the only or even the strongest motivator in some animals. Also, as a former trainer, you know that shows are not where the whales receive all of their diet. How are they reinforced when all of those show behaviors are being trained? What about medical behaviors? Just because an animal does not perform in a show does not mean that they are not fed.

        5. Average lifespan of captive orcas is 7? Huh? I don’t know where to begin with that. You call it a fact. I say show me the scientific data. Do you know how big a 7 year old is? It would be pretty easy to tell if they average sea world animal was 7. News to me.

        6. Sure captivity causes unnatural behavior. They eat dead fish for starters. People that live in studio apartments behave differently that people that lives on farms. unnatural doesn’t necessarily mean negative. Animals evolve by exhibiting unnatural behaviors.

        7. Saying whales are forced to swim in circles all days and are slaves is sensationalism at its finest. I’d like to have a debate about facts, not over dramatic analogies.

        8. As a former trainer, you would know what a huge rescue program sea world does have. I find it odd that you seem to have all the “facts” yet are so off based on this one. Maybe not thousands, but easily hundreds each year. Google sea lion crisis 2013 and you will get a glimpse into what they were dealing with. As a former trainer, you have obviously been through the backstage areas of sea world where they care for these rescued animals and know that it is by far the busiest and loudest place in the park. I’m sure you can call them and get some raw data on the number of rescued from each year.

        9. Orcas may not be endangered yet, but they are changing. There are new sub species of orcas that are behaving “unnaturally”. Some orcas are beginning to eat dolphins and other mammals because fish is not as readily available. My point is that the ocean is not this perfect haven for these animals to thrive in.

        10. My opinion is that they are not suffering but I understand that yours is.
        No one is suggesting that we go out and capture killer whales. The intentions of blackfish and some of its supporters are highly questionable. I do think there is a story to be told in the corporate management and how it handled everything that happened with tillikum and Dawn, but to say these animals are abused is wrong and terribly misinformed.

      • evergreen

        Reply to Amber:
        Thanks for your comments. Here are some replies:

        Food is the most powerful motivator when dealing with intelligent animals such as orcas and dolphins. (Fear has been tried as a motivator but is ineffective.) The animals must be hungry in order to guarantee a show. Yes, they do get fed if they don’t perform. but only enough to keep them alive and heallthy – but not enough to make their stomachs full. To repeat: It is impossible to guarantee a show on schedule unless the animals are hungry. If you can prove otherwise, I’d be delighted to hear about it.

        When you see an orca do several behaviors together without food reward, that is called “chaining.” Each behavior is compensated by a specific food reward. A small behavior may be rewarded with herring or smelt. A bigger behavior may be rewarded with blue runner or mackerel. It is not difficult to chain several behaviors together. The animal knows that, instead of receiving one small reward after each behavior, he’ll get one large reward for doing three behaviors in a row They are still working for food.

        As for cuttlefish, octupuses, turtles and other non-mammal marine creatures, they cannot be trained (as far as I know) to perform complex behaviors. If you can show me where a turtle or whatever has been trained to do so, please let me know.

        As for the lifespan of captive orcas, there are many sources for this info. I got the “7 year” figure from the U.S.D.A. which oversees the display and care of captive marine mammals. Here is another good source:

        Finally, you said I was “misinformed” on this subject. I am baffled by this comment. I was a trainer. I was there. I did the things you hear about. I was on the “inside.” Please let me know what more I can do in order for you to consider me “informed.” Thanks.

      • Amber

        ^ thanks for your response.
        As far as being misinformed, I don’t know how you can explain your opinion of sea worlds rescue efforts. Saying they do a few high profile rescues a year is simply inaccurate, so rather than assuming you are blatantly spreading false information, I would assume you are misinformed. It boggles my mind that as a former trainer, for any length of time, you wouldn’t know this. Unless you were a trainer there long before the rescue program was in place.

        As far as the 7 year expectancy, I don’t really find an anti-captivity site to be a valid source. Maybe they are including still borns, which is common with first time moms as well as in the wild. When you were a a trainer, what were the ages of the whales you worked with?

  • AaroniusPolonius

    Evergreen, I certainly respect your passion, and I think I share your position. I’m just of the belief that passionate outbursts get us nowhere. It’s truly sad that we’ve regressed into this sort of pithy “debate,” if one can call it that. And one can’t exactly have a reasoned debate when one is basically declaring emotional statements. There are just a bunch of loaded statements that put people on the defensive, which gets us nowhere, slow.

    I will say this: I’m amazed and astonished that even this, Blackfishgate, where nobody outside of those who work in the marine mammal display industry have a vested interest in keeping orcas in captivity, even THIS provokes a now-all-too-common level of reductive discourse. I mean, I’m kind of amazed that there are “pro-captivity” and “pro-SeaWorld” people out there, and that in lieu of trying to figure out where we go from here, are arguing for the continuance of orcas in captivity. I’m kind of amazed that without a vested interest or a cultural/religious bias, the slippery slope argument (first the orcas, then all the animals) is being employed, the “look over here but not there” tactic is in use, and that we’re in the Bushian nightmare of being “for us or against us.”

    Case in point: the absurdity that an apex mammal that lives a long time with vastly high intelligence in a tank is equivocal to a really dumb, short-life goldfish in a tank. And so on.

    How absurd.

    I mean, it’s not as if we’re legalizing same-sex orcan marriage or universal health care for whales or turning off the A/C in the parks to save the environment. There’s basically no vested personal interest in being against the ending of orcan captivity. None. And yet, here we are.

  • Disneyfan58

    This debate can go on and on…. My wife and I just returned from a fantastic dolphin and whale watching trip. I have never been whale watching off the southern California coast. Before we had left the breakwater, in the distance, the naturalist on board spotted a Gray Whale, we followed him for several miles, witnessing one breach! Leaving this whale to pursue his final destination, we then went looking for dolphins, first we found several small pods of Common Dolphins (including babies), they would come up right to the boat. Towards the end of the trip we found a Humpback Whale along with many bottlenose (Flipper) dolphins that were playing with it. This trip was fantastic, seeing these animals in the wild, acting naturally was very special. I will begin to take at least two or three of these whale watching trips each year. A tip for anyone that would want to try one of these trips: we choose an outfit that had a boat specially built for sightseeing. Some operators are really just sport fishing boats that also offer whale watching.
    Anyway, weather or not SeaWorld is right or wrong, seeing these beautiful animals swimming freely in the ocean is breathtaking!

  • Disneyfan58

    Just read the comments from Eric Davis, There are regulations that these boats do not get within 100 yards of the whale, do not get in front of them, do not hinder there progress. Many of these animals will swim up to the boat. The biggest difference here is that whale watching boats allow the animals to continue on their way. SlaveWorld, well, they will net them, grab the young ones, transfer them to one of their prisons, and keep them there for the remainder of their lives!
    As far as the recruitment comment, I believe it’s called free speech. : )

    • Amber

      Whale watching is also a business. One that is far less regulated that sea world.

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