SeaWorld San Diego

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SeaWorld San Diego
SeaWorld San Diego logo
Location500 Sea World Drive, San Diego, California, United States
Coordinates32°45′57″N 117°13′38″W / 32.765751°N 117.227275°W / 32.765751; -117.227275Coordinates: 32°45′57″N 117°13′38″W / 32.765751°N 117.227275°W / 32.765751; -117.227275
ThemeOcean Adventure and Exploration
OwnerCity of San Diego
Operated bySeaWorld Parks & Entertainment
OpenedMarch 21, 1964; 54 years ago (1964-03-21)
Previous namesSea World of California Sea World Adventure Park
Operating seasonAll Year
Visitors per annum4,311,000 (2013)[1]
Area189 acres (76 ha)[2]
Roller coasters3
Water rides2
WebsiteSeaWorld San Diego

SeaWorld San Diego is an animal theme park, oceanarium, outside aquarium, and marine mammal park, in San Diego, California, United States, inside Mission Bay Park. The park is owned by the City of San Diego and operated by SeaWorld Entertainment.

SeaWorld San Diego is a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).[3] Adjacent to the property is the Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute, which conducts research on marine biology and provides education and outreach on marine issues to the general public, including information in park exhibits.[4]


Previous entrance replaced by Explorer's Reef on March 21, 2014.

SeaWorld was founded on March 21, 1964 by four graduates of the University of California, Los Angeles. Although their original idea of an underwater restaurant was not feasible at the time, the idea was expanded into a 22-acre (8.9 ha) marine zoological park along the shore of Mission Bay in San Diego. After an investment of about $1.5 million, the park opened with 45 employees, several dolphins, sea lions, and two seawater aquariums, and hosted more than 400,000 visitors in its first year of operation.[5]

Initially held as a private partnership, SeaWorld offered its stock publicly in 1968 enabling them to expand and open additional parks. The second SeaWorld location, SeaWorld Ohio, opened in 1970, followed by SeaWorld Orlando in 1973 and SeaWorld San Antonio (the largest of the parks) in 1988. SeaWorld Ohio was later sold to Six Flags in January 2001.[5] The parks were owned and operated by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich between 1976 and 1989, when they were purchased by Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc. After Anheuser-Busch was acquired by InBev, SeaWorld San Diego and the rest of the company's theme parks were sold to the Blackstone Group in December 2009, which operates the park through its SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment division.[2]

SeaWorld currently leases the land from the City of San Diego with the lease expiring in 2048. The premises must be used as a marine mammal park, and no other marine mammal park may be operated by SeaWorld within 560 miles of the City limits.[2]


Aerial photo of the park.

As of 2017, there are 26 animal habitats, 15 rides, 20 shows, 5 seasonal events, and 11 "distinctive experiences" (including special experiences such as swimming with dolphins).[2]

Bayside Skyride[edit]

Bayside Skyride is a 1967 VonRoll type 101 gondola ride located in the northwest corner of the park behind the "Cirque Electrique" show. It travels over Perez Cove for a 6-minute ride on two 80-foot (24 m) towers, and lands on the other side before returning for a full loop. Bayside Skyride has the longest span between towers out of any VonRoll Skyride ever built—925 feet (282 m). From 1967 to 1988, the Skyride was known as the Sea World Atlantis Skyride, and took riders to the Sea World Atlantis Restaurant which was located on the opposite end of the ride across the lagoon. After the restaurant closed, the ride remained, but took riders on a full loop, passing through the second station instead of stopping.

Journey to Atlantis[edit]

Journey to Atlantis is a Mack Rides water coaster. The ride stands at a height of 95 feet.

Dolphin Point[edit]

(Formerly Known as "Rocky Point Preserve") The park's bottlenose dolphins are on exhibit here in a multi-pool complex where guests have access to pet the dolphins. Guests can also interact with the dolphins during scheduled presentations of Dolphin Point Connection hosted by trainers that give them the opportunity to touch and give training signals to the dolphins. The Dolphin Encounter and Dolphin Interaction Program also take place at this exhibit.


The Sky Tower is a 320-foot (98 m) Gyro tower that was built in 1969 designed by Intamin. The ride was refurbished in 2007 with a new capsule. The ride gives passengers a six-minute view of SeaWorld and San Diego. It rises at a rate of 150 feet per minute (46 m/min) while spinning slowly (1.02rpm).

Sesame Street's Bay of Play[edit]

Sesame Street's Bay of Play is an interactive children's play area that opened in 2008 and is based on the long running Sesame Street children's television series. The area includes three rides: Abby's Seastar Spin, a spinning "teacup" attraction, Elmo's Flying Fish, an attraction in the style of Dumbo the Flying Elephant", and Oscar's Rockin' Eel, an eel themed "Tug Boat" ride.[6][7]

Shipwreck Rapids[edit]

Shipwreck Rapids is an Intamin river rapids ride themed to a shipwreck on a deserted island. At one point riders pass by a sea turtle exhibit. There is also a point where riders go underneath a waterfall into an underground cavern.

Wild Arctic[edit]

Wild Arctic is a simulator ride through the Arctic set in a giant helicopter.


On May 26, 2012, SeaWorld San Diego opened a new mega-attraction called Manta, a Mack launched roller coaster featuring two launches LSM of up to 43 miles per hour (69 km/h) accompanied by a bat ray aquarium and touch pool. A shallow pool for touching bat rays, white sturgeons, and shovelnose guitarfish lies at the entrance of the attraction while two-sided underground aquarium (for riders and nonriders) can be accessed downstairs or via the queue. Manta begins with 270 degree projected media experience at the first launch. The train rocks forward and backward in synchronization with the projected film of a coral reef and school of rays. The two-minute, 2,800-foot (850 m) long ride stands at a height of 30 feet (9.1 m) and features a drop of 54 feet (16 m). The layout is characterized by multiple turns, short but sudden drops, and crossovers.[8][9]

Manta roller coaster at Sea World San Diego


SeaWorld San Diego is home to three aquariums. Aquaria: World of Fishes features both fresh and saltwater fish, including Piranhas, Alligator gar, leopard sharks, and many tropical marine fish, and also features a tide pool outside. Freshwater Aquarium features a variety of freshwater animals, including Electric eels, stingrays, turtles, Poison dart frogs, and many other freshwater fish. Aquarium de la Mer features cephalopods, including multiple species of octopuses, cuttlefish, and nautilus.

Animal exhibits[edit]

Explorer's Reef[edit]

Opened on March 21, 2014, Explorer's Reef is an attraction that contains animal attractions and structures.[10] Featuring four different touch pools, Explorer's Reef gives guests the opportunity to interact with a variety of fish, including 400 Brownbanded bamboo shark and white-spotted bamboo sharks, more than 4,000 cleaner fish, and horseshoe crabs.


There are four species of dolphins at SeaWorld San Diego: common dolphin hybrid, both Atlantic and Pacific bottlenose dolphins and Pacific short-finned pilot whales. The parks dolphins may rotate between Dolphin Amphitheater, Dolphin Point, and Animal Care as their needs change.

Animal Care: Malibu (F), Corona (F), Kali (F), and Koa (F).

Dolphin Point: Gracie (F), Crunch (M), Cometta (F), Cascade (F), Kolohe (F), Dottie (F), Tobie (F), Razzle (M), Belle (M), Steime (F), Daphne (F), Maggie (F), Bugs (F), and Sarasota (F).

Dolphin Amphitheater (Dolphins): Sandy (F), Melanie (F), Beaker (F), Bullet (F), Zana (F), Venus (F), Captain (F), Cocoa (F), Avalon (F), Connie (F), Lanakai (F), Bodie (M) and Melanie's calf (M).

Dolphin Amphitheater (Pilot Whale): Argo (M).


Killer whales[edit]

Kasatka performing "The Shamu Adventure".

SeaWorld's main attraction are its killer whales, ten of which are housed in San Diego in a 7 million gallon habitat. Shamu was the name of the first killer whale brought to SeaWorld San Diego in 1965. "Shamu" is now used as the character name for the costume character at the park entrance. SeaWorld San Diego ended their theatrical Killer Whale shows at San Diego in January 2017. San Diego was the first of the three SeaWorld parks to premiere "Orca Encounter,” a more educational presentation that gives insight into various aspects of a killer whale’s life.[12]

Killer whales: Corky (F), Ulises (M), Orkid (F), Keet (M), Shouka (F), Nakai (M), Ikaika (M), Kalia (F), Makani (M), and Amaya (F).

Wild Arctic[edit]

SeaWorld's Wild Arctic is home to various spices of cold water animals, including beluga whales and different species of pinnipeds.

Belugas: Ferdinand (M), Allua (F), Klondike (M), Atla (F), and Pearl (F).

Harbor seals: Grimsey (F), B.B. (F), Gunner (M), and Pellet (F).

Ringed seal: Natchek (M).

Pacific Walruses: Dozer (M), Chouchou (F), and Mitik (M).

Sea Lions[edit]

SeaWorld San Diego houses California sea lions in both its Sea Lion Point exhibit, as well as Sea Lion & Otter Amphitheater.

Sea Lion & Otter Amphitheater: Duke (M), Harvey (M), Jorge (M), Victor (M), Kiawe (M), Murdoch (M), Ozzy (M), Tank (M), Diesel (M), and Jay (M).

Sea Lion Point: Chita (F), Diamond (F), Khloe (F),


2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
4,000,000[13] 4,000,000[13] N/A 4,260,000[13] 4,260,000[13] 4,147,000[14] 4,200,000[15] 3,800,000[16] 4,294,000[16] 4,444,000[1]
2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
4,311,000[1] 3,794,000[17] 3,528,000[18] 3,528,000[19] 3,100,000[20]

Aquatica San Diego[edit]

SeaWorld Entertainment purchased one of the Cedar Fair-owned "Knott's Soak City" water parks in late 2012. In 2013, the water park opened as Aquatica San Diego.[2][21][22] The park is located approximately 23 mi (37 km) southeast of its sister park, in Chula Vista, California. The park features 30 slides.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "TEA/AECOM 2013 Global Attractions Report" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association. 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 6, 2014. Retrieved June 6, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e f SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. (December 12, 2013). "SeaWorld Prospectus (Form 424(b)(4))" (PDF). Retrieved January 5, 2014.
  3. ^ "Currently Accredited Zoos and Aquariums". AZA. Retrieved March 20, 2011.
  4. ^ "Mission and Values | 50 Years of Sea Life Solutions". Archived from the original on April 5, 2014. Retrieved April 6, 2016.
  5. ^ a b "History of the Park". Busch Gardens. Retrieved March 20, 2011.
  6. ^ "SeaWorld Timeline". Busch Gardens. Retrieved March 20, 2011.
  7. ^ "Sesame Street Bay of Play". SeaWorld. Archived from the original on February 27, 2011. Retrieved March 20, 2011.
  8. ^ "Sea World San Diego To Open New Roller Coaster Next Year". Beverly Hills Courier. February 9, 2011. Archived from the original on July 7, 2011. Retrieved February 10, 2011.
  9. ^ MacDonald, Brady (February 9, 2011). "SeaWorld San Diego to add Manta coaster in 2012". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 10, 2011.
  10. ^ Entertainment, SeaWorld Parks &. "Explorer's Reef". Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  11. ^
  12. ^ Weisberg, Lori (6 January 2017). "SeaWorld bids farewell Sunday to Shamu show". The San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  13. ^ a b c d "Theme Park Attendance". Coaster Grotto. 2014. Retrieved September 3, 2014.
  14. ^ "TEA/AECOM 2008 Global Attractions Report" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association. 2008. Retrieved June 25, 2014.
  15. ^ "TEA/AECOM 2009 Global Attractions Report" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association. 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 2, 2010. Retrieved June 25, 2014.
  16. ^ a b "TEA/AECOM 2011 Global Attractions Report" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association. 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 18, 2015. Retrieved June 25, 2014.
  17. ^ "TEA/AECOM 2014 Global Attractions Attendance Report Report" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association. 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2015.[dead link]
  18. ^ "TEA/AECOM 2015 Global Attractions Attendance Report Report" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association. 2016. Retrieved June 3, 2016.
  19. ^ "TEA/AECOM 2016 Global Attractions Attendance Report Report" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association. 2016. Retrieved June 7, 2017.
  20. ^ "TEA/AECOM 2017 Global Attractions Attendance Report Report" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association. 2017. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  21. ^ Grieco, Sarah (November 21, 2012). "SeaWorld Acquires Knott's Soak City". NBC San Diego. Retrieved November 21, 2012.
  22. ^ Garcia, Jason (November 20, 2012). "SeaWorld buys California water park, plans 3rd Aquatica". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved November 21, 2012.

External links[edit]