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SeaWorld Marks 50 Years In San Diego

Credit: Antoine Taveneaux / Wikimedia Commons

An orca performs in a SeaWorld San Diego show.

SeaWorld San Diego will start its 50th anniversary celebration Friday morning with the opening of Explorer's Reef -- the new visitor's entrance.

An opening ceremony will be hosted by "Good Morning America'' correspondent Cameron Mathison and feature Rep. Susan Davis, D-San Diego, incoming Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and the park's president, John Reilly.

Explorer's Reef is set to be unveiled at the end of the ceremony. Visitors will enter the park beneath a sculpture of a wave crashing into a reef. Four freshwater and saltwater pools will include sharks, rays, and fish that visitors can reach in and touch.

Special Feature What California’s Orca Bill Would Mean For San Diego’s SeaWorld

KPBS Evening Edition host speaks with Miro Copic, San Diego State University marketing professor, about the impact of a bill that would ban SeaWorld San Diego from using orcas in its shows, March 7, 2014

The celebration comes amid controversy over keeping orcas in captivity, which has been heightened by the documentary "Blackfish.''

A Democratic assemblyman in Santa Monica has introduced a bill to ban shows involving killer whales. Assemblyman Richard Bloom said the legislation was inspired by "Blackfish."

Tuesday, the City Council proclaimed March to be SeaWorld San Diego month in honor of the theme park, which first opened on March 21, 1964.

Since then, more than 156 million visitors have passed through SeaWorld gates in San Diego. The mayor said the theme park has employed 93,000 San Diegans over the years, conducted research on marine life and generated large sums of tax revenue for the city.

SeaWorld plans an 18-month celebration of the anniversary that will include its other two parks, in Orlando and San Antonio.

Visitors at all three locations will get more up-close animal encounters, interactive experiences and new shows, according to SeaWorld. The parks will also have "Surprise Squads'' out each day that will hand out prizes to patrons, like special ride access, behind-the-scenes experiences, reserved show seating, T-shirts or Shamu-themed merchandise.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | March 21, 2014 at 11:32 a.m. ― 3 years ago

I'm horrified that Susan Davis and Toni Atkins have decided to attend this propaganda event for a prison work camp for animals.

I've supported both, but won't anymore (unless Ms. Atkins decides to support Mr. Bloom's bill).

Are ALL San Diego politicians bought and paid for?

It's one thing when a known corporate money hound and biased hack of big business like Mr. Faulconer attends an event like this, in fact it's expected.

But when people you THOUGHT were better than that like Ms. Atkins and Ms. Davis attend, it is really painful to hear.

So far, Lorena Gonzales is the only prominent politican from San Diego that I know of who has come out in favor of Mr. Bloom's bill.

Apparently she is the only SD politician who has a conscious and who has the courage to stand up to powerful corporate interests.

And Ms. Atkins said she is objectively weighing the bill to ban the prison work camps for orcas in CA. Some "objectivity", eh Ms. Atkins?? Flaunting yourself at this pig-fest?? S-H-A-M-E-F-U-L.

I encourage anyone in San Diego who supports animal rights to contact Ms. Atkins and express concern for her involvement in this propaganda stunt and also encourage her to support the Orca bill put forth by Mr. Bloom in Sacramento:

Capitol Office:
State Capitol
P.O. Box 942849
Sacramento, CA 94249-0078
Tel: (916) 319-2078
Fax: (916) 319-2178

District Office:
1350 Front St., Room 6054
San Diego, CA 92101
Tel: (619) 645-3090
Fax: (619) 645-3094

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Avatar for user 'moneil2014'

moneil2014 | March 21, 2014 at 12:37 p.m. ― 3 years ago

Congrats, SeaWorld, on 50 years of continuing to enslave and encapsulate a giant and very social mammal in a tiny space. Such a proud legacy.

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Avatar for user 'TPartyHero'

TPartyHero | March 24, 2014 at 1:58 p.m. ― 3 years ago

Who cares?Orca are really just sea cows

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | March 24, 2014 at 2:50 p.m. ― 3 years ago

LOL, this is hilarious! I will never understand how people can care about animals so much. And why are these people always leftists?

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