Marine Park: Seaworld San Antonio - a Potted History

24 May 2010

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The Kemah Boardwalk / Kennywood / Joyland Amusement Park / Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort 


SeaWorld San Antonio is a marine park located in the Westover Hills area of San Antonio, Texas. 

The marine park began life as ‘SeaWorld of Texas’ back in 1988 when it was opened by the publishing company Harcourt, Brace and Jovanovich. It was built and developed at a staggering cost of $170 million and was billed as “the largest educational marine-life theme park in the world” so it had much to live up to. However, the marine park attracted over 3.3 million visitors during its first year of operations.

Nevertheless, in 1989, the owners ran into heavy financial difficulties and the marine park was eventually sold to Anheuser-Busch. Following this takeover, the new owners began to place less of an emphasis on the educational focus of the marine park and started to introduce more thrill-seeking rides. 

These include the Rio Loco - a river rapids ride at the marine park, the Texas Splashdown which is a log flume ride featuring two frightening 60 foot drops, the Steel Eel which is often referred to as a ‘hypercoaster’ and which can reach speeds of up to around 65mph and there’s also the Shamu Express, a roller coaster at the marine park aimed at all of the family and themed around and dedicated to SeaWorld’s original signature killer orca whale, named Shamu. 

As a marine park, Shamu played an integral part in SeaWorld’s (the company) history as it was the first Orca to be brought to the company’s San Diego operations back in the 1960s. 

So, in addition to the thrill rides at the marine park, there are some spectacular shows and exhibits featuring marine mammals to enjoy.

These include the Penguin Encounter where you can step out onto a replica of the Antarctic landscape and witness over 200 penguins of several different penguin species. You can also watch the seals, otters and sea lions at play or basking in the warm sunshine at the marine park. Viva is a spectacular show at the marine park where you’ll see high diving, aerial acrobatics and synchronised swimmers performing alongside dolphins and beluga whales.  One of the most visually incredible shows at the marine park however is ‘Believe’ where you’ll get to learn what made Shamu and his like so special. In fact, if you are on the first few 20 rows, do be prepared to become splash ‘victims’.  

There is also Cool Vibrations which is an all-action boating and water ski-ing stunt show at the marine park which also hosts a summer night entertainment programme as well as featuring lots of other attractions.

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