In August 2014, a couple of days after posting their latest financials which saw their stock valuation crash by a third, SeaWorld announced a new project called the Blue World Project that will take place in their three marine theme parks in Orlando, San Diego and San Antonio.
SeaWorld has been badly hit financially by the negative social media generated by the activist film “Blackfish” and various online petitions. Peoples views on keeping large animals in captivity is changing and SeaWorld is looking to the future.
The aim of the Blue World Project is to build first-of-its-kind killer whale environments, help enhance global understanding of killer whales through research and education and to fund new programmes to protect killer whales in the wild and the health of the oceans. Killer whales in the wild are suffering increasingly from the effects of pollution.
The first development will be at San Diego where they will nearly double the size of the killer whale facility to 10 million gallons covering 1.5 acres with depths of up to 50 feet.
Built into the enclosure will be a 40 foot high viewing area giving unprecedented views of killer whales underwater allowing up close and personal encounters like never before.
Guests will be able to see the killer whales as if stood on the seashore, looking down of them from a birds-eye view or see them in the depths. Some of the concept artwork looks a little like the dolphin lagoons found at Discovery Cove.
The killer whales environment will be enhanced by fast water currents that will allow the whales to swim against the current.
SeaWorld is also setting up an independent scientific Advisory Panel amongst marine and animal experts to help provide the best possible habitat.
The new enclosure will open in 2018 with Orlando and San Antonio following on later. No dates have been given at this time.
In conjunction with the new developments will be further funding into killer whale research and threats to their environment with more announcements to follow.
More details can be found at SeaWorld’s Blue World Project web site (opens in a new window).