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  1. #1

    • Darkbeer
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    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Blog Entries

    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...


    Anheuser-Busch acquires SeaWorld

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

    Coco Loco Arcade

    New five-million-gallon Shamu® Stadium

    New Main Entrance Plaza

    City Streets show

    Entertainment Bowl @Nautilus

    Rockin’Summer Nights

    Penguin Encounter®

    Sea Lion and Otter Stadium expansion

    (replaces Seal and Penguin arena)

    Marine mammal community pool

    Shark exhibit

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

    Captain Kids’ World (kids’ play area)

    Avian facility

    Sea otter exhibit

    Walrus exhibit

    Whale arena (later becomes Dolphin Stadium)

    Tide pools


    Freshwater Aquarium

    Water Fantasy Show

    Atlantis Restaurant

    Bayside Skyride

    Seal and Penguin Arena

    (later becomes Sea Lion & Otter Stadium)

    First killer whale on public display

    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

  2. #2

    • Iron-Clad Allie
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    Join Date
    Feb 2005

    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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