The Company maintains one of the largest animal collections in the world and has helped lead advances in the care of species in zoological facilities and in the conservation of wild populations. SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment also operates one of the world’s most respected programs to rescue and rehabilitate ocean marine animals that are ill, injured and orphaned, with the goal of returning them to the wild. The SeaWorld® rescue team has helped more than 22,000 animals in need over the last four decades.
For nearly five decades, SeaWorld has surprised and amazed guests with unique entertainment, thrilling rides and up-close encounters with marine animals. During SeaWorld’s 50th Celebration visitors will be invited to take part in the celebration through new interactive experiences, shows and pathway performances, even more up-close animal encounters throughout the park and the SeaWorld “Surprise Squad” treating guests with prizes every day.
SeaWorld’s 50th Celebration Sea of Surprises™
There will be more surprise encounters with animal ambassadors throughout the day. A pair of Magellanic penguins, a sloth or even a parade of flamingos could surprise guests at any moment at all three SeaWorld locations.
The SeaWorld “Surprise Squad” will roam the SeaWorld parks on a daily basis giving away prizes and special gifts. Guests could receive exclusive access to rides or behind-the-scenes experiences, celebration T-shirts or Shamu-themed merchandise, reserved show seating.
First impressions make lasting impression. When you walk into the entrance of SeaWorld® San Diego you experience Explorer’s Reef™, a multi-million dollar renovation that opens to the public starting March 21, 2014. The new concept replaces the existing ticket booths with a beach-themed, concierge-style ticketing area that provides guests with a single location to purchase admission, as well as sign up for tours, animal interactions and dining experiences.
Guests enter the park beneath an immense wave sculpture, nearly 30 feet tall and 100 feet long, giving them the impression of actually entering an underwater world. It’s an undersea oasis that allows visitors to interact with a variety of fish in four different touch pools.
The first tank we experienced was the 4,000 cleaner fish touch tank. These tiny fish start kissing or nibbling gently on your hand once you dip it into the water.
Next, were four hundred brown-banded and white-spotted bamboo sharks swimming in a touch tank. SeaWorld staff member, Mike Price gets so excited when he watches children touch a shark for the first time. “All of the sharks in this tank touch tank were born in SeaWorld,” said Price. “These creatures are really mellow and smooth.”
The horseshoe crabs and round sting rays are located in another fascinating tank. “Did you know a horseshoe crab is really not a crab, but more like a scorpion or spider?” shared Price while standing next to me. “They have eight eyes and have been on earth for 450 million years.” Horseshoe crabs won’t win any beauty contests, like the round Sting Rays. “Aren’t they as cute as a button?” said Price.
“These rays like shallow water, so we educate guests to do the ‘Sting Ray Shuffle’ when going into the water at the beach. The movement scares the rays and they will get out of your way. If you step on one, their barb can sting you.
There is also a tank with shark eggs. “Did you know that there are over 470 sharks in the world,” said Price. SeaWorld educates the public about these endangered species. “
To showcase SeaWorld’s commitment to the environment and passion for protecting the ocean, a series of giant sea life sculptures will be displayed throughout the parks. SeaWorld commissioned environmental art group Washed Ashore for a collection of larger-than-life sea-themed sculptures— many weighing more than half a ton. The materials used to creates these pieces come from the billions of pounds of garbage mostly plastics— that wind up in our oceans. These amazing works of art point to the urgent need to protect marine animals from such dangers and preserve their ocean habitats. At SeaWorld San Diego (located near Cirque Stadium), the sculptures will depict a sea turtle, a tufted puffin, a trigger fish and sea lilies (sea animals that look like plants, but are related to starfish, sand dollars and sea urchins).
For more information and continuing news about SeaWorld’s 50th Celebration and the Sea of Surprises, visit www.SeaWorld.com/Celebration.