SeaWorld San Antonio

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For the SeaWorld chain of parks, see SeaWorld.
SeaWorld San Antonio
SeaWorld San Antonio logo
Slogan Real. Amazing.
Location 10500 Sea World Drive
San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas 78251 United States
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 Parks & Entertainment
General Manager Carl Lum
Opened May 27, 1988; 28 years ago (1988-05-27)
Previous names Sea World of Texas[1]
Operating season Year-round (closed on most weekdays)
Area 250 acres (100 ha)
Rides
Total 9
Roller coasters 4
Water rides 2
Website SeaWorld San Antonio

SeaWorld San Antonio is a 250-acre (100 ha) marine mammal park, oceanarium, and animal theme park, located in the Westover Hills District of the City of San Antonio in 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 SeaWorld San Antonio, taken on March 14, 2013.

Sea World 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 Sea World 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]

# Name Opened Description Image
1 Wave Breaker: The Rescue Coaster 2017 An Intamin double-launch coaster based on SeaWorld's animal rescue team. - Opening Summer 2017
2 The Great White 1997 The park's first coaster, a Bolliger & Mabillard inverted roller coaster that debuted in 1997. Top speed of 50 mph (80 km/h). It is the first roller coaster of its kind in Texas. Lift height is 108.2 ft. The total track length is 2,562 ft.
3 Steel Eel 1999 Advertised as "the first and only hypercoaster in Texas," it reaches speeds close to 70 mph (110 km/h).
Steel Eel at SeaWorld San Antonio
4 Journey to Atlantis 2007 The first ride of its kind in North America, it debuted in 2007. It is a combination of a roller coaster and log flume ride.
5 Shamu Express 2004 A Zierer kiddie roller coaster with cars themed as Shamu.
6 Rio Loco 1993 A river rapids ride.

Shows[edit]

Park Entrance
Kyuquot (back) and Tuar (front) perform at Shamu Theater during "One Ocean"
  • One Ocean (Shamu Theater): The newest Shamu show featuring the park's killer whales and their trainers.
  • "Killer Whales: Up Close": a more educational show on killer whales
  • Clyde and Seamore's Sea Lion High (Sea Lion Stadium): An all-new comical show featuring California sea lions Clyde and Seamore, students of Sea Lion High, who try to pass their classes before the final bell on the last day of school in order to graduate. This show also features walrus Principal Maximillian Worthington and otter O.P. Otter.
  • 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.
  • Pets Ahoy! (Sea Star Theater): A comical show featuring the talents of dogs, cats, birds, rats, pot-bellied pigs, and other animals. All of the trained cats and dogs in the show are rescue animals from shelters in the San Antonio area.

Exhibits[edit]

Basking sea lions
  • Animal Connection Conservation Center
  • Dolphin Lagoon: The naturalistic centerpiece of Discovery Point now allows guests to experience dolphins in two whole new ways, by reserving an up-close signature Dolphin Swim experience, and by observing them above and below the surface along the pool wall or through an underwater viewing area.
  • 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.
  • Pacific Point Preserve: A west-coastal themed habitat featuring Seals, sea lions, and otters. A feeder booth is available and fish for feeding seals and sea lions can be purchased during select times throughout the day.
  • Explorer's Reef: Some animals that are found here include sting rays, a naturalistic coral reef, tropical fish, and a variety of sharks.
  • Alligator Alley: American alligators lounging around Ski Lake.
  • Flamingo Ponds: Visitors can stop by and see flamingos by Shamu Theater and near the park's main entrance.

Sesame Street Bay of Play[edit]

Formerly Shamu's Happy Harbor, the Sesame Street Bay of Play (opened in March 2011) is an interactive children's play area based on the long-running television series Sesame Street.

Rides:

  • Grover's Roundup (carousel)
  • Abby Cadabby's Rocking Wave (rocking unit)
  • Big Bird's Spinning Reef (mini Ferris wheel)
  • 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)
  • Block Party (An end of night dance party featuring; Sesame street characters, dancers and an emcee)
  • Elmo's Christmas Wish (Shown during SeaWorld's Christmas Celebration)
  • Jingling Around The Block Party (Shown during SeaWorld's Christmas Celebration)

Dining[edit]

Dine with Shamu dining area
  • Dine with Shamu (All-you-can-eat buffet; reservation-only)
  • Shamu's Smokehouse (BBQ smokehouse)
  • Rosita's Café (All-you-can-eat pizza and pasta buffet)
  • Trimmings (Casual burgers and BBQ)
  • Azul Treats (Pizza and snacks)
  • Harbor Market (food-court style restaurant)
  • Sea Star Market (Sandwiches and salads)

Snacks[edit]

Entertainment[edit]

  • Boardwalk Games: A game center combined with the exit of the Great White roller coaster that features midway games and a video arcade.
  • Sea Star Theater: An indoor theater featuring comical pet show, "Pets Ahoy!"
  • Nautilus Amphitheater: a covered amphitheater that features seasonal shows.
  • Ski Stadium: a large lakeside outdoor stadium along Ski Lake that hosts ski and lumberjack stunt shows during the summer and spring break.

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), Sakari (F), and Kamea (F).

A female orca, Unna, died on December 21, 2015.[6]

Takara, a female killer whale at the park, is pregnant and is expected to give birth sometime next year. Her calf will be the last killer whale to be born at any SeaWorld park since the company's decision to end killer whale breeding.

Dolphins[edit]

There are several species of dolphins at SeaWorld San Antonio: Atlantic Bottlenose dolphins, Pacific Bottlenose dolphins, Atlantic/Pacific Bottlnose hybrids, and Pacific White Sided Dolphins.

All 21 Bottlenose dolphins are residing in the Animal Care pool, while their new home Discovery Point is being constructed. The Animal Care pool is currently a part of the temporary Dolphin Walk attraction, a tour that takes guests to the back area of the park to view the dolphins, and other species of animals that the SeaWorld-Busch Gardens Conservation Fund cares for. The park's Pacific white-sided Dolphins reside at Beluga Stadium and are part of shows there.

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

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

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

On February 5, 2016, Dart (M) a pacific white sided dolphin died. His cause of death is unknown.

Belugas[edit]

The Beluga whales at San Antonio are Natasha (F), Martha (F), Crissy (F), Imaq (M), Luna (F), Oliver (M), and Samson (M). 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. The calf was named Stella, but on November 13, 2015, the whale died. On June 20, 2015, Martha gave birth to a female calf.[11]

After Martha gave birth prematurely to a female calf on June 20, 2015, it has since died.

Discovery Point[edit]

Discovery Point is a tucked-away oasis within SeaWorld San Antonio. There, an expansive Dolphin Lagoon is home to a playful pod of bottlenose dolphins. Guests can watch them from its sand-swept shores, or go deeper at a Dolphin Underwater Viewing area. Guests can even reserve Discovery Point's Signature Dolphin Swim – the only place to swim with dolphins in Texas – or discover the thrill of swimming alongside Beluga Whales at Beluga Bay or Sea Lions at Sea Lion Shallows. You’ll also find Explorer’s Reef, home to several species of sharks, many of which are endangered, along with exotic fish and a living coral reef.

Discovery Point officially opened to the public on May 21, 2016.

Aquatica[edit]

Main article: Aquatica San Antonio

Aquatica is a water park that was formerly a section of SeaWorld under the name, Lost Lagoon. Lost Lagoon opened in 1993 and 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 park opened on Memorial Day weekend May 2012.[12][13]

Separate ticket gates for SeaWorld and Aquatica were added at the beginning of 2016. Before they were added, Aquatica's entrance was located inside of SeaWorld, thus obligating Aquatica guests to pay for SeaWorld admission in order to enter the water park unlike the other Aquatica parks in Orlando, FL and Chula Vista, CA which are separate from SeaWorld. The separate gates now give guests the opportunity to visit each park individually just as their other California and Florida counterparts do.

Annual events[edit]

Wild Days[edit]

An event that features special shows and presentations by locally and nationally known conservationists accompanied by animals, some endangered.

Seven Seas Food Festival[edit]

Guests are invited to set sail on a culinary voyage during the annual Seven Seas Food Festival. Throughout the park, festival goers can sip and savor delicious international foods, unique wines and craft beers and cocktails representing 12 countries near the Mediterranean, North Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, North Pacific, Pacific Ocean and South Atlantic. The Seven Seas Food Festival offers bold flavors for every taste on Saturdays and Sundays. The festival is open from 11:00 a.m. to park close on all event days.

Just For Kids![edit]

An event featuring concerts and games aimed towards children.

Summer Soak Party[edit]

Summer Soak Party is a summer event at SeaWorld San Antonio that offers extended park hours, a splash zone, giveaways, nightly shows, and fireworks. Shows include Hydro Power 2.0, Shamu's Celebration: Light Up The Night, Sol Celebration and nightly showings of two day shows, "Sea Lion High" and "Azul."

SeaWorld's Halloween Spooktacular[edit]

SeaWorld's Halloween Spooktacular is an annual children's Halloween event that takes place at all three SeaWorld parks on October weekends. Activities and attractions include trick-or-treating, photo opportunities, a hay maze, and a kiddie train called SeaWorld Express. The event ends at 6 pm as the park prepares for Howl-O-Scream which begins at 7 pm.

Howl-O-Scream[edit]

Howl-O-Scream is an annual Halloween event that takes place at Busch Gardens Tampa, Busch Gardens Williamsburg, and SeaWorld San Antonio. The main icon for the event at SeaWorld San Antonio 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". The theme of the 2016 event was "Evil Encore"

SeaWorld's Christmas Celebration[edit]

SeaWorld's Christmas Celebration is an annual Christmas event that takes place at all three SeaWorld parks during Christmastime on select dates. The event offers Christmas themed areas, shows, and attractions. SeaWorld San Antonio announced that SeaWorld's Christmas Celebration will break the record for the largest Christmas light display in Texas by over 5 million lights in 2016. It was also announced that a new themed area based on the TV classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer will be introduced to the event in 2016.

Attendance[edit]

2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
2,600,000[14] 2,600,000[14] 2,678,000[15] Not listed Not listed Not listed

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. ^ "SeaWorld killer whale dies at San Antonio park - Business Insider". Business Insider. 22 December 2015. 
  7. ^ Vincent T. Davis
    vtdavis@express-news.net (21 April 2011). "Male beluga whale arrives at SeaWorld". San Antonio Express-News.
     
  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. ^ "Ceta-Base". 
  12. ^ SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment. "Aquatica, SeaWorld's Waterpark™ - San Antonio, Texas". 
  13. ^ Ana Ley
    aley@express-news.net (24 May 2011). "Beach life looms for SeaWorld". San Antonio Express-News.
     
  14. ^ a b "TEA/AECOM 2011 Global Attractions Report" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association. 2011. Retrieved June 25, 2014. 
  15. ^ "TEA/AECOM 2012 Global Attractions Report" (PDF). 

External links[edit]