SeaWorld San Diego

SeaWorld San Diego is an animal theme park, oceanarium, outside aquarium and marine mammal park, in San Diego, California, United States located inside Mission Bay Park. It is owned and operated by SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment.

SeaWorld San Diego
Previously known as SeaWorld of California SeaWorld Adventure Park
SeaWorld San Diego logo.svg
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
OpenedMarch 21, 1964; 58 years ago (1964-03-21)
OwnerSeaWorld Parks & Entertainment
Operated bySeaWorld Parks & Entertainment
General managerJim Lake
ThemeOcean Adventure and Exploration
SloganReal. Amazing.
Operating seasonYear Round
Attendance4.311 million (2013)[1]
Area189 acres (76 ha)[2]
Roller coasters5
Water rides2
WebsiteSeaWorld San Diego

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 is located on San Diego's Mission Bay. 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. It successfully 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 it 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. The partnership later sold SeaWorld Ohio to Six Flags in January 2001.[5] Harcourt Brace Jovanovich owned the parks between 1976 and 1989, when Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc. purchased them. After InBev acquired Anheuser-Busch, it sold SeaWorld San Diego and the rest of the company's theme parks 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]

The park was closed between March 16, 2020, and April 12, 2021, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and two stay-at-home orders issued by California Governor Gavin Newsom.


Aerial photo of the park from 2012.


Many of SeaWorld's shows are seasonal and may change based on the time of year.

  • Orca Encounter: a show highlighting the park's killer whales and various aspects of their lives.
  • Dolphin Adventures: guests can meet the Whale & Dolphin family and learn what inspires their trainers. The name change simply came after the remodeling of the stage. It is still the same format as Dolphin Days
  • Sea Lion and Otter Spotlight: a brand new educational presentation that replaces Sea Lions Live, featuring California sea lions and Asian small-clawed otters.
  • Sea Rescue: an indoor theater that shows episodes of the television series of the same name, which follows marine rescue efforts.
  • Cirque Electrique: a summertime evening show featuring world-class acrobatic performers. Formerly known as Cirque de la Mer, it is performed Wednesday through Sunday as part of the park's Electric Ocean event.


Bayside SkyrideEdit

Bayside Skyride is a 1967 VonRoll type 101 gondola ride located in the northwest corner of the park behind the Bayside Amphitheater. 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.

Ocean ExplorerEdit

Ocean Explorer is a kids' realm that opened on May 27, 2017. The area includes four rides: Aqua Scout, a ride that bounces in mini submarines, Octarock, a swing that rocks back and forth, Sea Dragon Drop, a child-size drop tower and Tentacle Twirl, a jellyfish-themed wave swing ride. This addition also features an original 45 minute orchestral soundtrack by composer, Rick McKee.

The realm originally featured Submarine Quest, an outdoor people mover-like ride with indoor segments, themed around deep sea exploration. The ride cars featured a touchscreen dashboard that contained minigames and interactions during the ride. Amid negative reviews, the ride only began to operate intermittently after the summer season, and quietly closed indefinitely in 2018 with little fanfare. SeaWorld staff initially indicated that Submarine Quest had been temporarily closed for maintenance, but by May 2018 references to the ride had been removed from SeaWorld's maps and website.[6][7][8] When the park re-opened on April 13, 2021, demolition of the ride track and show buildings began, leaving the animal enclosures intact.[9]

Riptide RescueEdit

Located outside Turtle Reef, Riptide Rescue is a spinning flat ride, with the vehicles being themed to SeaWorld's rescue boats.

Sesame Street's Bay of PlayEdit

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.[10][11]

Shipwreck RapidsEdit

Shipwreck Rapids is an Intamin river rapids ride themed as 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 a cavern.


Skytower is a 320-foot (98 m) Gyro tower that was built in 1968 by Sansei Yusoki.[12] 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 (1.02 rpm).

Roller coastersEdit

Electric EelEdit

Electric Eel at night

Opened on May 10, 2018, Electric Eel is a Sky Rocket II model by Premier Rides. Electric Eel stands at 150 feet (46 m) tall, with a track length of 853 feet (260 m) and speeds of up to 62 miles per hour (100 km/h).

Journey to AtlantisEdit

Journey to Atlantis is a Mack Rides water coaster that was built in 2004. The ride stands at a height of 95 feet (29 m) and contains three drops and an elevator lift. In addition, the ride hits a max speed of 42 miles per hour (68 km/h).


Emperor is a Dive Coaster manufactured by Bolliger & Mabillard. With a height of 153 ft, Emperor is the tallest, fastest and longest Dive Coaster in California. The ride contains 2,500 feet (760 m) of track, an Immelmann loop that stands at a height of 143 feet (44 m) and has a 90 degree drop that reaches speeds of over 60 miles per hour (97 km/h). The ride opened on March 12, 2022.[13]


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 the two-sided underground aquarium (for riders and nonriders) can be accessed downstairs or via the queue. Manta begins with a 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.[14][15]

Manta roller coaster at Sea World San Diego

Tidal TwisterEdit

Tidal Twister is a Skywarp Horizon model by Skyline Attractions. Tidal Twister is the first Skywarp Horizon and is the second coaster manufactured by Skyline. The ride reaches a top speed of 30 miles per hour (48 km/h), with a height of 22 feet (6.7 m) and a track length of 320 feet (98 m). The ride was opened on May 24, 2019.[16][17]

Animal exhibitsEdit


SeaWorld San Diego is home to 19 aquariums. Each aquarium houses different types of aquatic animals, both fresh and saltwater.

Ocean Explorer Aquarium: This aquarium is home to a variety of marine animals including Moray eels, Octopuses, and Japanese spider crabs.

Ray Aquarium: Located adjacent to Journey to Atlantis, this aquarium features a variety of rays and fishes.

Explorer's ReefEdit

Opened on March 21, 2014, Explorer's Reef is an attraction that contains animal attractions and structures.[18] Featuring four different touch pools, Explorer's Reef gives guests the opportunity to interact with a variety of fishes, including 400 Brownbanded bamboo sharks and white-spotted bamboo sharks, and more than 4,000 Cleaner fishes and horseshoe crabs.


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

Killer whalesEdit

Kasatka performing "The Shamu Adventure".
Orca Encounter Exhibit

SeaWorld's main attraction is its collection of killer whales, eight 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 in San Diego in January 2017. San Diego was the first of the three SeaWorld parks to premiere "Orca Encounter," an educational presentation that gives insight into various aspects of a killer whale's life.[19]

Wild ArcticEdit

SeaWorld's Wild Arctic is home to various species of cold water animals, including beluga whales, a walrus, and sea otters.

Seals & Sea LionsEdit

Sea Lion & Otter Amphitheater exhibit

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


2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
4,000,000[20] 4,000,000[20] 4,260,000[20] 4,260,000[20] 4,147,000[21] 4,200,000[22] 3,800,000[23] 4,294,000[23] 4,444,000[1]
2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
4,311,000[1] 3,794,000[24] 3,528,000[25] 3,528,000[26] 3,100,000[27]

Sesame Place (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 was opened as Aquatica San Diego.[2][28][29] The park is located approximately 23 mi (37 km) southeast of its sister SeaWorld park, in Chula Vista, California. The park features 26 slides. On October 21, 2019, SeaWorld Entertainment announced that Aquatica San Diego would be converted into Sesame Place, the first Sesame Place theme park on the West Coast. Aquatica San Diego closed its final season in September 2021, and was re-opened as Sesame Place San Diego, on March 26, 2022. The new park retained the water park attractions from Aquatica San Diego.[30]

See alsoEdit


  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 "SeaWorld Prospectus — Form 424(b)(4)" (PDF). SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. December 12, 2013. Retrieved January 5, 2014.
  3. ^ "Currently Accredited Zoos and Aquariums". AZA. Retrieved March 20, 2011.
  4. ^ "Mission and Values". Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute. Archived from the original on April 5, 2014. Retrieved January 4, 2021.
  5. ^ a b "History of the Park". Busch Gardens. Retrieved March 20, 2011.
  6. ^ Weisberg, Lori. "Why did SeaWorld mysteriously close submarine ride less than a year after it opened?". Retrieved May 16, 2021.
  7. ^ MacDonald, Brady. "SeaWorld San Diego answers critics with a slow and boring new Orca Encounter show". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved May 16, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. ^ "Test Drive: SeaWorld makeover opens with an orca splash and kid-friendly kicks". San Diego Union-Tribune. June 3, 2017. Retrieved May 16, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. ^ "SeaWorld San Diego Update: Electric Ocean Illuminates the Night". July 2021.
  10. ^ "SeaWorld Timeline". Busch Gardens. Retrieved March 20, 2011.
  11. ^ "Sesame Street Bay of Play". SeaWorld. Archived from the original on February 27, 2011. Retrieved March 20, 2011.
  12. ^ Slade, Gary (May 1994). "Tower Power". Inside Track. Newark, Delaware (89): 13. ISSN 1052-1607.
  13. ^ "Emperor". RCDB. Retrieved October 11, 2021.
  14. ^ "Sea World San Diego To Open New Roller Coaster Next Year". The Beverly Hills Courier. February 9, 2011. Archived from the original on July 7, 2011. Retrieved February 10, 2011.
  15. ^ MacDonald, Brady (February 9, 2011). "SeaWorld San Diego to add Manta coaster in 2012". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 10, 2011.
  16. ^ "Tidal Twister". SeaWorld. Retrieved January 4, 2021.
  17. ^ "Tidal Twister". Retrieved January 4, 2021.
  18. ^ "Explorer's Reef". SeaWorld. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  19. ^ Weisberg, Lori (January 6, 2017). "SeaWorld bids farewell Sunday to Shamu show". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved January 13, 2018.
  20. ^ a b c d "Theme Park Attendance". Coaster Grotto. 2014. Retrieved September 3, 2014.
  21. ^ "TEA/AECOM 2008 Global Attractions Report" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association. 2008. Retrieved June 25, 2014.
  22. ^ "TEA/AECOM 2009 Global Attractions Report" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association. 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 2, 2010. Retrieved June 25, 2014.
  23. ^ 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.
  24. ^ "TEA/AECOM 2014 Global Attractions Attendance Report Report" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association. 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2015.[dead link]
  25. ^ "TEA/AECOM 2015 Global Attractions Attendance Report Report" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association. 2016. Retrieved June 3, 2016.
  26. ^ "TEA/AECOM 2016 Global Attractions Attendance Report Report" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association. 2016. Retrieved June 7, 2017.
  27. ^ "TEA/AECOM 2017 Global Attractions Attendance Report Report" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association. 2017. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  28. ^ Grieco, Sarah (November 21, 2012). "SeaWorld Acquires Knott's Soak City". KNSD News. Retrieved November 21, 2012.
  29. ^ Garcia, Jason (November 20, 2012). "SeaWorld buys California water park, plans 3rd Aquatica". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved November 21, 2012.
  30. ^ Freeman, Mike (October 21, 2019). "SeaWorld plans a new Sesame Place theme park in Chula Vista". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved January 4, 2021.

External linksEdit