De Su Mama

Legacy of Multiracial Motherhood

So Many Reasons To Feel Good About SeaWorld This Summer

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I went to SeaWorld last week and I feel so good about the experience. After not going for several years, I received an invitation stating that the marine animal park was undergoing its most significant changes to date. Also, considering last year’s announcement that they were ending their orca breeding program, our generation of kids will be among the last to see these majestic animals up close. I decided to go with an open mind to learn how to feel good again about a place that I have so many childhood memories of.

But SeaWorld is about so much more than orcas and, after our visit, I have a much better understanding of all the important work they do. I encourage you to read through for detailed information on all the ways we can feel good about SeaWorld again, including this compelling article on The Truth About Blackfish.

New SeaWorld Changes: Orca Encounter, All Day Orca Play

SeaWorld Conservation & Education

SeaWorld San Diego has been a global leader in marine and animal care, education and conservation – not to mention research and rescue – for more than five decades. While SeaWorld visitors are enjoying shows, exhibits and themed rides, behind the scenes there is a mission: to care for the environment and the animals that extend beyond the park’s borders.

During our visit, we were given a tour of SeaWorld’s Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation area behind the park gates. It was the highlight of our visit! We caught a glimpse of the Oiled Wildlife Care Center where two baby elephant seals were being looked after. I asked our guide about how you can take your kids to see the same things and he assured me that visitors are able to purchase all similar behind-the-scenes tours we experienced.

SeaWorld’s Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation Program allows for unparalleled access for scientific research and provide award-winning education programs that include structured teaching. SeaWorld has eliminated the use of plastic bags, polystyrene products and continue to advance water conservation knowledge. They’ve also rescued and released 17,000 animals and their fund has granted $14 million in support of projects around the world.

They’ve definitely been busy doing important work that we can feel good about!

New SeaWorld Changes: Orca Encounter, All Day Orca Play New SeaWorld Changes: Orca Encounter, All Day Orca Play New SeaWorld Changes: Orca Encounter, All Day Orca Play

New Orca Encounter at SeaWorld San Diego

This summer, SeaWorld San Diego is rolling out it’s biggest new attractions lineup in park history!

The Orca Encounter presentation has replaced the outdated Shamu show and is based on the killer whale’s behavior in the wild – how they move, hunt and navigate, what they eat and even how they communicate. This new encounter will be a live documentary-style presentation helping visitors gain a deeper appreciation for orcas with a beautiful infinity video screen that will illustrate imaginary and graphics about the whales. A shift from previous shows, Orca Encounter will empower and encourage visitors to preserve these majestic animals, underscoring the vital connection we all share as a protectors of the planet.

Also new is All Day Orca Play, which just launched last week! In an effort to give visitors comprehensive insider knowledge about the park’s killer whale family, All Day Orca Play will offer unprecedented access to the earth’s most majestic creatures. The program will host a full day of events and activities, including encounters that introduce each whale and their personalities and live chats with orca behaviorists/educators.

New SeaWorld Changes: Orca Encounter, All Day Orca Play New SeaWorld Changes: Orca Encounter, All Day Orca Play

Feeling Good About SeaWorld

Ya’ll know I ask a ton of questions and the representatives of SeaWorld that accompanied us during our visit were honest and forthright with their answers. Truly, every single person I met (the orca trainers, dolphin trainers, veterinarians, educators, and on and on) would get emotional talking about how much they loved their job, the animals and the work they were doing at SeaWorld. To this end, I want to be clear: I don’t feel as though I was being fed a bunch of fluff.

These folk believe their efforts in public educatation through SeaWorld’s immersive experience ultimately enhances the environment and lives of all marine animals.

I talked at length with orca trainer Mike about how much fun my little boy was having and how he now wants to work at SeaWorld. Trainer Mike shared with me that he and his wife (also a SeaWorld trainer!) have a son that enjoys spending time at the park, too. We talked about their family’s love for the whales (which are really not whales at all, but rather the largest species of dolphin!) and how impeccably well cared for the orcas are at SeaWorld. I bluntly asked him if they would be better off released in sanctuary pens or the like. He responded with various explanations (especially related to the animals born in captivity) and I left that conversation feeling good about supporting SeaWorld’s decision to keep their orcas.

It was also recommended that I read the book Killing Keiko by Mark Simmons, which details the attempt to return the whale from “Free Willy” to the wild and its unfortunate death. New SeaWorld Changes: Orca Encounter, All Day Orca Play New SeaWorld Changes: Orca Encounter, All Day Orca Play New SeaWorld Changes: Orca Encounter, All Day Orca Play

New: Ocean Explorer + Electric Ocean

The launch of Ocean Explorer will create an expedition of wonder across the seven seas. The area is still closed off but will open this summer (2017) and my kids are already super excited! The new attraction will combine multiple aquariums, new and exciting rides and digital tech that is designed to engage our little ones with a sense of exploration and adventure. A likely favorite will be the pop ups into the aquarium where kids can get an up-close look at their favorite sea creatures. My little dude is SO excited to see an octopus up-close!

Did you know SeaWorld has rides, too? My daughter went crazy for Manta (she rode it 4 times!) and is especially excited for the new rides at Ocean Explorer.

Also new for Summer 2017 will be Electric Ocean as SeaWorld will transform into a brilliant ocean of vibrant colors and energy. This new, nighttime spectacular will immerse visitors in a glowing sea of wonder with dance parties and pathway entertainment. The Electric Ocean party kicks off June 17!

New SeaWorld Changes: Orca Encounter, All Day Orca Play

Ultimately, after this visit, I feel good going to SeaWorld and offering this exposure to my kids. Like other zoos in our area, SeaWorld works hard to educate and conserve animals that would otherwise go completely ignored by the masses. Funds wouldn’t be raised for their safety, changes and policies wouldn’t be supported without the research, without the attention, traffic and revenue that places like SeaWorld command.

So yes, I went to see SeaWorld and will go again and again…. and the best part is, I feel really good about it. You can, too.


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