SeaWorld San Antonio

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For the SeaWorld chain of parks, see SeaWorld.
SeaWorld San Antonio
SeaWorld San Antonio logo
Location San Antonio, Texas, U.S.
Coordinates 29°27′30″N 98°41′59″W / 29.4584°N 98.6998°W / 29.4584; -98.6998Coordinates: 29°27′30″N 98°41′59″W / 29.4584°N 98.6998°W / 29.4584; -98.6998
Owner SeaWorld Entertainment
Opened May 27, 1988
Previous names SeaWorld of Texas[1]
Operating season February to January
Area 250 acres (100 ha)
Rides
Total 9
Roller coasters 4
Water rides 2
Website SeaWorld San Antonio

SeaWorld San Antonio (formerly SeaWorld of Texas) is a 250-acre (100 ha) marine mammal park, oceanarium, and animal theme park, located in the Westover Hills District of San Antonio, Texas. It is the largest of the three parks in the SeaWorld chain owned by SeaWorld Entertainment, a division of Blackstone Group, and the world's largest marine-life theme park. The other two SeaWorld parks are located in San Diego, California and Orlando, Florida. It is a member of the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums (AMMPA)[2] and is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).[3]

History[edit]

This is a picture of the Shamu show at Sea World San Antonio, taken on March 14, 2013.

SeaWorld of Texas was developed by Harcourt, Brace, and Jovanovich (now Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). Built for $170 million, it opened on Memorial Day weekend in May 27, 1988 and welcomed 75,000 people during the grand opening.[4] It had 3.3 million visitors in its first 12 months of operation, placing it among the Top 10 attractions in Texas. At the time of the park's debut, it was billed as "the largest educational, marine-life theme park in the world."

In 1989, Harcourt, Brace, and Jovanovich (heavy in debt and fighting a hostile takeover) sold its SeaWorld and Boardwalk and Baseball theme parks to Anheuser-Busch, Inc.[5] Plans to build a Boardwalk and Baseball park adjacent to SeaWorld of Texas were immediately abandoned.

On 26 November 1988, Kayla (stage named "Baby Shamu") was the first killer whale born at SeaWorld San Antonio.

Under Anheuser-Busch ownership, SeaWorld San Antonio closed less popular attractions such as the Texas Walk, the U.S. Map Plaza, and the Garden of Flags and added its popular Budweiser Clydesdales to the park.

In 2008, Anheuser-Busch merged with InBev; soon after, the newly merged company sold the SeaWorld parks to Blackstone Group.

Attractions[edit]

Roller coasters and thrill rides[edit]

Sesame Street Bay of Play (kiddie rides)[edit]

Formerly Shamu's Happy Harbor, Sesame Street's Bay of Play (opened in March 2011) is an interactive children's play area based on the long-running television series Sesame Street. The Shamu Express kiddie coaster remains the only unchanged attraction from the old Happy Harbor.

Rides:

  • Grover's Roundup (carousel)
  • Abby Cadabby's Rocking Wave (rocking unit)
  • Big Bird's Spinning Reef (mini Ferris wheel)
  • Shamu Express (mini roller coaster)
  • Elmo's Dolphin Dive (mini drop unit)

Activities:

  • Splish 'n' Splash (water play area)
  • Little Bird's Splash (small children's water play area)
  • Tot's Ahoy (small children's playground)
  • Net Climb
  • Playground

Shows:

  • Sunny Days (sing and dance with Sesame Street characters)

Dining[edit]

  • Shamu's Smokehouse (formerly Voyagers)
  • Rosita's Cafe (formerly Mango Joe's Cafe Ole)
  • Rio Loco Grille (formerly Rio Loco BBQ)
  • Azul Treats (formerly The Oasis)
  • SeaFire Grille
  • Castaway Cafe
  • Shamu Soft Serve
  • Eats Beach Grill
  • SeaStar Market
  • Snack Attack
  • Polar Parlor
  • Seaside Coffee
  • Sweet Treats Bakery

Shows and exhibits[edit]

Main gate at Sea World in San Antonio, TX
Park Entrance

Shows[edit]

  • One Ocean (Shamu Stadium): The newest Shamu show featuring the park's killer whales and their trainers.
  • The Cannery Row Caper (Seal and Sea Lion Stadium): A comical "Who done it?" featuring California sea lions Clyde and Seamore, who attempt to unravel the mystery of disappearing fish in a nearby cannery. This show also features walruses and Asian small clawed otters. Final Performance, September 1st, 2014.
  • Cool Vibrations (Ski Stadium): A live-action boat and water-skiing stunt show that runs throughout the park's summer months; formerly called Rockin' Ski Party prior to the park's 2009 season.
  • Azul, Lure of the Sea (Beluga Stadium): This show features professional high divers, aerialists, and synchronized swimmers performing with Pacific white-sided dolphins and Beluga whales.

Exhibits[edit]

Basking sea lions
  • Aviary Habitats: Guests can view a variety of birds from pink flamingo, ducks and geese, among other birds from throughout the Americas.
  • Animal Connection Conservation Center
  • Dolphin Cove Atlantic Bottlenose dolphins are on exhibit here. SeaWorld staff educates the public on their behaviors and lifestyle.
  • Penguin Encounter: Visitors step into the Antarctic wilderness on a moving walkway and view over 200 penguins in a variety of species. There are additional exhibits where one can read about the penguins and view other aquatic birds.
  • Rocky Point Preserve: Seals, sea lions, walruses and otters can be seen at this exhibit. A feeder booth is available and fish for feeding exhibit animals can be purchased throughout the day. This exhibit is also home to the endangered Hawaiian monk seal, with SeaWorld San Antonio being the only facility in the continental United States to have monk seals on display.[citation needed]
  • Sharks/The Coral Reef: Some animals that are found here include sting rays, eels, tropical fish, and a variety of sharks.
  • Alligator Alley: American alligators lounging around Ski Lake.
  • Flamingo Cove: Visitors can stop by and see flamingos by Shamu Stadium.

Entertainment[edit]

  • Boardwalk Games Center: A game center combined with the exit of the Great White roller coaster that features midway games and a video arcade.
  • Sea Star Theater: A 4D theater featuring 3D movies with motion seats.

Animal inventory[edit]

Killer whale at the Shamu Theater

Killer whales[edit]

SeaWorld's main attraction is its killer whales, which are housed in the 7-million-gallon habitats that are known in San Antonio as Shamu Theater. Shamu was the name of the first killer whale brought to SeaWorld San Diego in the 1960s. "Shamu" is now used as a stage name for adult killer whales in performances at SeaWorld parks. The killer whales all have real names.

The killer whales at San Antonio are Kyuquot (M), Takara (F), Tuar (M), Unna (F), Sakari (F) and Kamea (F).

Blue World Project[edit]

On August 15, 2014, SeaWorld announced the Blue World Project; a major renovation to all three of the SeaWorld parks Killer Whale habitats. The project will begin with SeaWorld San Diego in 2015 and is scheduled to be completed sometime in 2018 with a cost in the hundreds of millions of dollars. The company has also pledged $10 million in matching funds for killer whale research.

Features of SeaWorld San Diego's Blue World Habitat:[6]

  • 50 feet in depth.
  • 1.5 acres of surface area.
  • The SeaWorld "Water Treadmill," a fast water current that will allow whales to swim across moving water.
  • A four story high viewing gallery.
  • Spanning more than 350 feet in length.
  • The worlds largest underwater viewing experience of killer whales.
  • 10 million gallons of salt water.

Dolphins[edit]

There are three species of dolphins at SeaWorld San Antonio: both Atlantic/Pacific Bottlenose dolphins and Pacific white-sided dolphins.

Bottlenose dolphins may rotate between Dolphin Cove and Animal Care, while the Pacific White-sided Dolphins reside at Beluga Stadium.

Animal Care: Kai (M), Scotia (M), Gilly (M), Mattie (F), Fathom (M), Brady (M), Alice (F), Cisco (M), Ansley (M), and Haven (F).

Dolphin Cove: Nala (F), Nikki (F), Notchfin (F), Punta (F), Nacha (F), Yoyo (F), Brie (F), Neelee (F), Donley (M), Koko (F), and Blyss (F).

Beluga Stadium: Pacific white-sided dolphins- Betty (F), Catalina (F), Avalon (F), Hailey (F), Dart (M), and Bolt (M).

Belugas[edit]

The Beluga whales at San Antonio are Natasha (F), Martha (F), Imaq (M), Crissy (F), Oliver (M), Luna (F), Samson (M) and Stella (F). The park's belugas regularly participate in Azul and Beluga Story shows/presentations and Beluga Interaction Programs.

On April 17, 2011, Imaq, an adult male beluga from Vancouver Aquarium, arrived to Sea World San Antonio on a 5-year breeding loan.[7] This is the 3rd of three beluga whales on a breeding loan from Vancouver Aquarium to SeaWorld: Nanuq, Allua, Imaq.

In 2009, Nico, Maris, and Natasha from the Georgia Aquarium were moved to SeaWorld temporarily to keep them away from the worst of the noise during construction at the Georgia Aquarium.[8] Nico died on 31 October 2009. A preliminary necropsy was unable to determine if Nico's death was caused by the move or by something else.[9] On 3 March 2010, Maris and a new male, Beethoven, were returned to the Georgia Aquarium while Natasha was paired with a potential mate and remained in San Antonio.[10]

On July 9, 2013, Luna gave birth to a male calf, sired by Imaq. On July 26, 2013, Crissy gave birth to a female calf, also sired by Imaq.[11]

Aquatica[edit]

Main article: Aquatica San Antonio

Aquatica is a water park that was added to SeaWorld in 1993 under the name, Lost Lagoon. Lost Lagoon closed on September 5, 2011 to be replaced by Aquatica San Antonio, a separate gated water park based on the original Aquatica Orlando that opened on March 1, 2008. Some water attractions like The Sidewinders tower (with 4 tube slides and 2 large bowl slides) were re-themed, painted and renamed Tassie's Twister. The splash attack play structure stayed but it was renovated with new theming, new slides, new interactive elements, new landscaping, and a new zero-entry pool that is named Walkabout Waters. The activity pool stayed but was also renovated with new theming, new interactive elements, new pool updates, new landscaping, new beach lounge chairs, inviting waterfalls and a renaming. Those four existing water attractions were kept during the Aqautica San Antonio re-theming. The new expansion opened on Memorial Day weekend May 2012.[12][13]

  • Activity Pool
  • Buckaroo Mountain
  • Castaway Cruisin'
  • Lil' Gators Lagoon
  • Sidewinders
  • Sky Tubin'
  • Splash Attack
  • Wave Wash Pool

Summer Nights[edit]

Summer Nights offers entertainment during the night hours. Shows offered include the following: Shamu Rocks Texas—Where Shamu performs with some of today's most popular music; Sea Lions Tonite- Where you see a sea lion and his trainers day at SeaWorld.

Howl-O-Scream[edit]

2013: Howl-O-Scream is an annual Halloween event that takes place at SeaWorld San Antonio. The Main Icon for the Event would be Jack-O-Lantern, a Pumpkin Head who takes over SeaWorld San Antonio around Halloween Time. In 2013, SeaWorld San Antonio announced that the event would be 'evolving' and changing, sporting a new theme every year. It will also feature a new vampire-theme bar called "Blood Thirsty".

2014:

Attendance[edit]

2010 2011
2,600,000 [14] 2,600,000 [14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Harcourt Sets Layoffs Of 750 at Theme Parks". nytimes.com (The New York Times). 25 August 1988. Retrieved 24 June 2012. 
  2. ^ "Our Members". ammpa.org. Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums. Retrieved 22 October 2010. 
  3. ^ "List of Accredited Zoos and Aquariums". aza.org. Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Retrieved 5 September 2010. 
  4. ^ Hayes, Thomas C. (19 June 1988). "Texas Picks Up the Pieces". nytimes.com (The New York Times). Retrieved 24 June 2012. 
  5. ^ Hayes, Thomas C. (14 August 1989). "Harcourt Near Sale of Sea World". nytimes.com (The New York Times). Retrieved 24 June 2012. 
  6. ^ http://blueworldproject.seaworld.com/seaworld-announces-first-of-its-kind-killer-whale-environment/
  7. ^ http://www.mysanantonio.com/community/article/Male-beluga-whale-arrives-at-SeaWorld-1347634.php
  8. ^ Howard Pousner (5 October 2009). "Georgia Aquarium's beluga whales sent to Texas". AJC.com. Retrieved 25 November 2010. 
  9. ^ Howard Pousner (2 November 2009). "Aquarium beluga dies". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved 25 November 2010. 
  10. ^ Howard Pousner (2 March 2010). "2 Belugas finally go on view at the Georgia Aquarium". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved 23 November 2010. 
  11. ^ http://www.ceta-base.com/lugalogue/dl_swt.html
  12. ^ http://seaworldparks.com/seaworld-sanantonio/aquatica
  13. ^ http://www.mysanantonio.com/business/article/SeaWorld-to-replace-water-park-1392372.php
  14. ^ a b "TEA/AECOM 2011 Global Attractions Report". Themed Entertainment Association. 2011. Retrieved June 25, 2014. 

External links[edit]