This morning at SeaWorld Parks across the united states, ceremonies were held to commemorate a key event in the company’s history: the opening of the original SeaWorld in March 1964 on Mission Bay in San Diego. This morning I attended the Orlando ceremony where the company marked its 50 years of caring for animals as part of its conservation minded mission.
Starting today SeaWorld is kicking off an 18-month “Sea of Surprises” highlighting the most memorable SeaWorld experiences in San Diego, Orlando and San Antonio. During SeaWorld’s 50th Celebration visitors will be invited to take part in the excitement 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.
At this morning’s event, I was able to meet Steve Welch, Creative Director for Entertainment Productions at all three parks in Orlando, and Corey Oxman, Senior Animal Trainer and Animal Ambassador, who talked about what a guest coming to SeaWorld Orlando can expect as part of the celebration:
Below the cut are highlights from the Sea of Surprises and another video focused on the rich 50+ year history behind SeaWorld and its missions. It captures just a small slice of the great work they’ve accomplished over the years:
SeaWorld Orlando’s 50th Celebration Sea of Surprises™ Highlights
- Park pathways come to life with spontaneous entertainment. “Bubble Blowout” is sure to be a guest favorite with a fantastical vehicle creating bubbles of all sizes and shapes throughout Shamu’s Happy Harbor. Engaging performances with sea-inspired costumes and props will pop up at unexpected moments to surprise guests throughout the day, like “Splash Dance,” near Nautilus Theater.
- On June 21, a new nighttime Shamu show, “Shamu’s Celebration: Light Up The Night”, debuts. The high energy show will include new, original music and production elements, as well as new killer whale behaviors.
- The “SeaWorld® Surprise Squad” will roam SeaWorld Orlando on a daily basis giving away, at random, prizes and special gifts, including exclusive access to rides, behind-the-scenes experiences, Shamu-themed merchandise, reserved show seating and more.*
- SeaWorld guests are often greeted by an animal ambassador, many of whom were orphaned or injured in the wild and given a second chance thanks to the SeaWorld Animal Rescue Team. As part of SeaWorld’s 50th Celebration, there will be more surprise encounters with animal ambassadors throughout the day.
- Share the wonder of close-up encounters with amazing animal friends and learn how SeaWorld cares for the natural world at the all-new SEA Garden. Completely re-designed, the SEA Garden is where guests can learn more about SeaWorld’s animals, many of them rescued, including eagles, spoonbills, opossums, and more.
- To showcase SeaWorld’s commitment to the environment and passion for protecting the ocean, four giant sea life sculptures will be displayed at the SEA Garden. SeaWorld commissioned environmental art group The Washed Ashore Project for a collection of larger-than-life sea-themed sculptures – many weighing more than half a ton. The material used to create these pieces comes 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. On display at SeaWorld Orlando are a parrot fish, sea horse, sea anemone reef and octopus.
- As part of its continuing commitment to new technology that enhances the guest experience, SeaWorld’s 50th Celebration will include new ways for fans to connect to the parks and each other though digital devices. The parks will be launching a variety of enhancements, from interactive apps that provide fun new ways to experience the park to new games and video content.