SeaWorld opened its gates for the first time in 1964, founded by George Millay, Milt Shedd, Ken Norris and David DeMott. Originally planned as an underwater restaurant, the concept grew into a marine zoological park on 21 acres along the shore of Mission Bay in San Diego. With an initial investment of $1.5 million, 45 employees, several dolphins, sea lions, and two saltwater aquariums, SeaWorld drew more than 400,000 visitors its first year.
Today, there are three SeaWorld parks in the U.S., including the original San Diego, Calif. location, and parks in Orlando, Fla. and San Antonio, Texas. They also created more parks that connect guests with marine life in new ways. Discovery Cove in Orlando is a tropical oasis where guests can swim with dolphins and other sea life. Aquatica in Orlando, San Antonio and San Diego, combines water park thrills, nature and animals for a unique family experience. The parks’ up-close animal encounters, educational attractions and innovative entertainment are designed to inspire guests of all ages to celebrate, connect with and care for the natural world around them.