In 1958, Millay and two partners that included David Tallichet, formed Speciality Restaurants Corporation, a destination-restaurant business. Their first location was a Polynesian-themed Reef in Long Beach, California. More than 100 other restaurants across the U.S. followed, including the Proud Bird adjacent to Los Angeles International Airport, and 94th Aero Squadron near Van Nuys Airport.
After selling out of SRC to Tallichet, Millay envisioned creating an underwater zoo. SeaWorld opened in 1964 in San Diego, California. An orca named Shamu was added in 1965 and became one of its most successful attractions. Millay subsequently opened SeaWorld Ohio in 1970 and SeaWorld Orlando in 1973. He also assisted in the development of Magic Mountain.
In 1977, Millay developed the Wet 'n Wild water park in Orlando, Florida. By the time he sold the company in 1998, ten such parks were in operation. Millay was inducted into the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) Hall of Fame in 1994. Ten years later, the World Waterpark Association gave him their first ever Lifetime Achievement Award and named him the official "Father of the Waterpark".
Millay died of complications from lung cancer treatment in San Diego.
- George Millay obituary at allbusiness.com. Accessed 2010 April 26.