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  1. #1

    • Darkbeer
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    Happy 43rd Anniversary to SeaWorld San Diego

    On March 21st, 1964 the first SeaWorld opened in San Diego, here is a bit of history provided by the PR department of Busch Entertainment.

    SeaWorld was founded in 1964 by four graduates of the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). They had originally considered the idea of building an underwater restaurant. Although this idea was not technically feasible, the concept grew into the idea of a marine zoological park on 22 acres along the shore of Mission Bay in San Diego. With an initial investment of $1.5 million, 45 employees, several dolphins, sea lions, and two seawater aquariums, SeaWorld drew more than 400,000 visitors its first year—a clear indication of the public’s curiosity and fascination for marine animals.

    In the earliest years, the park was held as a private partnership. Then, in 1968, SeaWorld offered its stock publicly, enabling the company to grow. In 1970, a second SeaWorld park was built—in Aurora, Ohio, near Cleveland. It was followed by a park in Orlando, Florida in 1973, and the largest park, which opened in San Antonio, Texas in 1988.Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc. (HBJ), owned and operated SeaWorld from 1976 to 1989. Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc. purchased the SeaWorld parks from HBJ in November 1989. The parks are owned and operated by Busch Entertainment Corporation (BEC), one of the Anheuser-Busch Companies. BEC also owns and operates Adventure Island in Tampa, Florida; Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia; Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida; Sesame Place in Langhorne, Pennsylvania; and the newest member of the BEC family—Discovery Cove in Orlando. In January 2001, BEC sold SeaWorld Cleveland to Six Flags.Over the years, SeaWorld has grown from a small collection of marine animals into one of the largest and most respected marine zoological collections in the world. Its three parks are accredited by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA)—a recognition that these facilities have achieved high levels of animal husbandry techniques; medical care; and management competence in their zoological exhibition, collections, public education, and park operations.

    Throughout SeaWorld’s history, the parks have remained committed to SeaWorld’s founding principles of quality in the areas of education, entertainment, research, and conservation.

    And a timeline of the early years...


    1989



    Anheuser-Busch acquires SeaWorld
    1988


    First successful killer whale birth (Orkid born Sept. 23)


    Coco Loco Arcade
    1987


    New five-million-gallon Shamu® Stadium


    New Main Entrance Plaza
    1986


    City Streets show


    Entertainment Bowl @Nautilus
    1985




    Rockin’Summer Nights
    1983




    Penguin Encounter®
    1982


    Sea Lion and Otter Stadium expansion


    (replaces Seal and Penguin arena)
    1979




    Marine mammal community pool
    1978




    Shark exhibit
    1977




    Seal and sea lion exhibitMission Bay Research Foundation becomes Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute
    1976




    Captain Kids’ World (kids’ play area)
    1975




    Avian facility
    1973




    Sea otter exhibit
    1972




    Walrus exhibit
    1971




    Whale arena (later becomes Dolphin Stadium)
    1970




    Tide pools
    1969




    Skytower
    1968


    Freshwater Aquarium


    Water Fantasy Show
    1967


    Atlantis Restaurant


    Bayside Skyride
    1966


    Seal and Penguin Arena


    (later becomes Sea Lion & Otter Stadium)
    1965




    First killer whale on public display
    1964


    Parks opens March 21 on 22 acres on Mission Bay and includes:
    Japanese Village
    Lagoon Stadium
    Saltwater Aquarium
    Sea Grotto
    Hawaiian Punch Village
    Theater of the Sea
    (The Mission Bay Research Foundation is founded in 1963 before park opens)
    Check out my Theme Park Photos at http://darkbeer.smugmug.com

  2. #2

    • Iron-Clad Allie
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    Re: Happy 43rd Anniversary to SeaWorld San Diego

    SeaWorld has always been a phenomenal park...even before Busch aquired it. I remember ridig the sky tram to the atlantis restaurant, and taking a cruise on a hydrofoil boat. Can't wait to ride the Journey To atlantis flume coaster in the future.

    We owe SeaWorld a debt of gratitude for bringing to the world a new appreciation for ocean life. I believe this goes hand in hand with an instilled desire to want to protect the wonderous creatures of the sea.

    Kudos to you Darkbeer for this thread.
    To Boldly Go Where No MiceChatter Has Gone Before!


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