SeaWorld San Diego
Location: San Diego, CA
One of the most stunning things about being near the ocean is the wildlife that you can see both on land and in the sea. Four graduates thought about this when they started what would eventually become Sea World in San Diego, California. Today Sea World: San Diego is an animal theme park, oceanarium, outside aquarium, and marine mammal park all rolled into one massive area. The park was first opened in 1964 and today is owned and operated by the Blackstone Group under the Sea World Parks and Entertainment division.
Sea World was founded in 1964 by for graduates from UCLA. Originally they wanted to have an underwater restaurant, but that was going to be impossible, so they opted for a 22 acre zoological park that would include marine mammals along the shore of Mission Bay. The park opened with dolphins, sea lions, two ocean aquariums and other attractions. The success of the park was immediate as it hosted close to 500,000 guests it its first year. In 1968, the stock in the company went public allowing more Sea World’s to be built and by 1989, only three of the parks still remained. In 1989, the Sea World Parks were purchased by An Anheuser-Busch and operated until they were bought out by InBev. Sea World San Diego was then purchased by the Blackstone Group in 2009 and still operates the park today.
The park consists of almost 30 animal habitats, 10 thrill rides including the Manta coaster and 20 live shows. One of the main attractions is the Journey to Atlantis water ride/coaster. The Manta roller coaster was billed as the next big thing to come to the park and in 2012 it was an instant success. The coaster was built by Mack and is a launched coaster that includes a viewing experience with movements of the train at the beginning. There is also an interactive touch pool with rays and other sea creatures at the exit of the ride. The park also is known for their many live shows and animal performances throughout. You will want to make sure you grab a show schedule and see some of the exhibitions throughout the day.
Another amazing part of Sea World is the Aquatica waterpark that was opened 2013. Formerly the Knotts Water Park, it was purchased from Cedar Fair and transformed into a water park themed around Sea World. With such an amazing array of things to do and see, Sea World San Diego can be a weekend getaway or even a week long vacation destination. Next time you are in the region, make sure you save some time to swim with the dolphins!
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