SeaWorld San Diego is a theme park located in Mission Bay Park, San Diego, California. It is a marine mammal park, oceanarium, public aquarium, and marine animal rehabilitation center. Seaworld, the theme park's proprietor, is owned and operated by United Parks & Resorts.

SeaWorld San Diego
Previously known as SeaWorld of California
and SeaWorld Adventure Park
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; -117.227275
OpenedMarch 21, 1964; 60 years ago (1964-03-21)
OwnerUnited Parks & Resorts
Operated byUnited Parks & Resorts
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 marine biology research and provides educational and outreach programs on marine issues to the general public.[4]


Previous entrance replaced by Explorer's Reef on March 21, 2014

SeaWorld was founded in 1964 by Milton Shedd, Ken Norris, David Demott and George Millay. The four graduates of UCLA originally set out to build an underwater restaurant and marine life show. When the underwater restaurant concept was deemed unfeasible, they scrapped those plans and decided to build a park instead, and SeaWorld San Diego was opened on March 21, 1964. With only a few dolphins, sea lions, 6 attractions and 22 acres (89,000 m2), the park proved to be a success and more than 400,000 guests visited in the first 12 months.

SeaWorld was privately held before going public in 1968. The second SeaWorld location, SeaWorld Ohio, opened in 1970, followed by SeaWorld Orlando in 1973, and SeaWorld San Antonio in 1988. The partnership later sold SeaWorld Ohio to Six Flags in January 2001. 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.


Aerial photo of the park from 2012



Shows operate with seasonal changes and include:

  • Orca Encounter: a live show highlighting the park's killer whales and various aspects of their lives, biology, and adaptations. Post-2015, the show focuses less on physical entertainment with the trainers and more on showcasing the animals themselves.
  • Dolphin Adventures (previously named "Dolphin Days"): explaining the whale and dolphin family.
  • Sea Lion and Otter Spotlight (previously named "Sea Lions Live"): a new educational presentation featuring California sea lions and Asian small-clawed otters.



Bayside Skyride


The Bayside Skyride is a gondola ride that first opened in 1967. The ride travels along a stretch of wire over Mission Bay.[5]

Ocean Explorer


Ocean Explorer, designed for children, launched on May 27, 2017. It comprises four attractions: Aqua Scout, offering rides in miniature submarines, Octarock, a swinging experience, Sea Dragon Drop, a scaled-down drop tower, and Tentacle Twirl, a wave swing ride with a jellyfish theme.

The realm originally featured Submarine Quest, an outdoor people mover-like ride with indoor segments, themed around deep sea exploration. The attraction would receive negative reviews due to lackluster theming. Due to this, it quietly closed indefinitely in 2018. 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 Rescue

Chuck's feed and seed, a restaurant located in the theme park

Riptide Rescue is a Huss Airboat ride, featuring 12 gondolas themed as rescue boats.[10]

Rescue Jr.


Rescue Jr. is an interactive children's play area, which originally opened in 2008 as Sesame Street's Bay of Play[11][12] and closed in April 2023.[citation needed] The re-themed area focuses on Sea Rescue and aquatic sea-life. It includes three rides: Tidepool Twist, a spinning teacup attraction; Rescue Riders, an attraction in the style of Dumbo the Flying Elephant; and Rescue Rafter, a raft themed Tug Boat ride.[13]

Shipwreck Rapids


Shipwreck Rapids is an Intamin river rapids ride themed as a shipwreck on a deserted island.



Skytower is a 320-foot (98 m) gyro tower that was built in 1968 by Sansei Yusoki.[14] The ride gives passengers a six-minute view of SeaWorld and San Diego via rising at a rate of 150 feet per minute (46 m/min) while spinning slowly (1.02 rpm).

Tentacle Twirl


Tentacle Twirl, opened on May 31, 2017, is a Wave Swinger built by German manufacturer Zierer.[15][16]

Roller coasters


Arctic Rescue


Arctic Rescue is a Intamin launched coaster that opened on June 2, 2023. This family coaster features arctic theming, as well as the fastest and longest straddle roller coaster on the west coast of the United States. This new attraction replaced the Wild Arctic simulator ride, which closed on January 11, 2020. Arctic Rescue has 3 launches, reaching a high speed of 40 miles per hour (64 km/h), and has a track length of 2,800 feet (850 m), and its straddle seating imitates the feeling of riding a snowmobile.[17][18]

Electric Eel

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 Atlantis


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 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.[19]



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 shallow touch pool for touching bat rays, white sturgeons, and shovelnose guitarfish. 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).[20][21]

Manta roller coaster at SeaWorld San Diego

Tidal Twister


Tidal Twister, opened on May 24, 2019, was a Skywarp Horizon model by Skyline Attractions. The ride reached 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).[22][23] In late July 2023, the ride was permanently shut down and was removed a few months later.[24][25]

Animal exhibits




SeaWorld San Diego has 19 fresh and saltwater aquariums, each housing different types of aquatic animals.

Ocean Explorer Aquarium


This aquarium is home to marine animals including Moray eels, octopuses, and Japanese spider crabs.

Ray Aquarium


This aquarium contains rays and fishes.

Explorer's Reef


Opened on March 21, 2014, Explorer's Reef is an attraction that contains animal attractions and structures.[26] 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, and Pacific and Atlantic short-finned pilot whales.


Kasatka performing "The Shamu Adventure"
Orca Encounter Exhibit

SeaWorld's main attraction is its collection of orcas, eight of which are housed in SeaWorld San Diego in a 7 million gallon habitat. Shamu was the name of the first orca 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 orca 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 an orca's life.[27]

Wild Arctic


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

Seals & Sea Lions

Sea Lion & Otter Amphitheater exhibit

SeaWorld San Diego houses California sea lions.


2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
4,000,000[28] 4,000,000[28] 4,260,000[28] 4,260,000[28] 4,147,000[29] 4,200,000[30] 3,800,000[31] 4,294,000[31] 4,444,000[1]
2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
4,311,000[1] 3,794,000[32] 3,528,000[33] 3,528,000[34] 3,100,000[35] 2,800,000[36] 3,510,000[36]

Sesame Place San Diego


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][37][38] 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 San Diego, 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.[39]

See also



  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 "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. ^ "Bayside Skyride at SeaWorld San Diego Reviews & Info". Retrieved February 6, 2024.
  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.
  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.
  9. ^ "SeaWorld San Diego Update: Electric Ocean Illuminates the Night". July 2021.
  10. ^ "Riptide Rescue at SeaWorld San Diego Reviews & Info". January 1, 2011. Retrieved February 6, 2024.
  11. ^ "SeaWorld Timeline". Busch Gardens. Archived from the original on September 28, 2011. Retrieved March 20, 2011.
  12. ^ "Sesame Street Bay of Play". SeaWorld. Archived from the original on February 27, 2011. Retrieved March 20, 2011.
  13. ^ "Rescue Jr All-New Play Area". SeaWorld. Retrieved May 10, 2023.
  14. ^ Slade, Gary (May 1994). "Tower Power". Inside Track (89). Newark, Delaware: 13. ISSN 1052-1607.
  15. ^ "Tentacle Twirl".
  16. ^ "Tentacle Twirl". Coasterpedia.
  17. ^ "Arctic Rescue". RCDB. Retrieved May 12, 2023.
  18. ^ "Arctic Rescue - Now Open!". SeaWorld. Retrieved May 11, 2023.
  19. ^ "Emperor". RCDB. Retrieved October 11, 2021.
  20. ^ "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.
  21. ^ MacDonald, Brady (February 9, 2011). "SeaWorld San Diego to add Manta coaster in 2012". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 10, 2011.
  22. ^ "Tidal Twister". SeaWorld. Retrieved January 4, 2021.
  23. ^ "Tidal Twister". Retrieved January 4, 2021.
  24. ^ "Tidal Twister - SeaWorld San Diego (San Diego, California, United States)". Retrieved July 23, 2023.
  25. ^ James, Chloe (July 20, 2023). "Roller Coaster "Tore Itself Apart," SeaWorld Allegedly Closes It for Good". Inside the Magic. Retrieved July 23, 2023.
  26. ^ "Explorer's Reef". SeaWorld. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  27. ^ Weisberg, Lori (January 6, 2017). "SeaWorld bids farewell Sunday to Shamu show". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved January 13, 2018.
  28. ^ a b c d "Theme Park Attendance". Coaster Grotto. 2014. Retrieved September 3, 2014.
  29. ^ "TEA/AECOM 2008 Global Attractions Report" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association. 2008. Retrieved June 25, 2014.
  30. ^ "TEA/AECOM 2009 Global Attractions Report" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association. 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 2, 2010. Retrieved June 25, 2014.
  31. ^ 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.
  32. ^ "TEA/AECOM 2014 Global Attractions Attendance Report Report" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association. 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2015.[dead link]
  33. ^ "TEA/AECOM 2015 Global Attractions Attendance Report Report" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association. 2016. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 18, 2016. Retrieved June 3, 2016.
  34. ^ "TEA/AECOM 2016 Global Attractions Attendance Report Report" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association. 2016. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 11, 2017. Retrieved June 7, 2017.
  35. ^ "TEA/AECOM 2017 Global Attractions Attendance Report Report" (PDF). Themed Entertainment Association. 2017. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 2, 2017. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  36. ^ a b "Seaworld California attendance 2022".
  37. ^ Grieco, Sarah (November 21, 2012). "SeaWorld Acquires Knott's Soak City". KNSD News. Retrieved November 21, 2012.
  38. ^ Garcia, Jason (November 20, 2012). "SeaWorld buys California water park, plans 3rd Aquatica". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved November 21, 2012.
  39. ^ 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.