I really don’t know where to start in talking about SW. I largely went on an information-gathering mission to provide both comparisons/contrasts to similar local attractions (San Diego Zoo and Birch Aquarium) and just to see what Seaworld actually presents to its guests; I took pictures and video to support these observations.
I was heavily focused on what was presented regarding the orcas. I participated in every available activity to avoid claims that abc information was actually presented in xyz activity I didn’t do. I watched 6 instances of “Orca Encounter”, went on the “Killer Whales Up Close” tour, and did the “Dine With” thing.
The latter two I filmed in their entirety. I recorded the audio from several of the Orca shows (it didn’t really vary). I took pictures of every educational tidbit available. As mentioned in the other post, there was only a single mention of the Southern Residents. Anywhere.
Orca conservation messaging is basically nonexistent. Here’s a view of where the UWV, dining area, its associated pool, and the signage all resides:
If you’re down there, it looks like this:
There’s 3 double-sided signs with general (and..a little questionable) killer whale information.
Nothing about the southern residents. To the left side of the UWV is a small screen playing slow-motion clips of wild whales, with occasional information mirrored from the surrounding items.
What is scattered everywhere: ParkToPlanet, X# of rescues for Y# of years, and Seaworld Cares messaging. I was expecting some stripe of this… but literally every recycling bin had ‘Seaworld Cares’ on it. They also prominently displayed their ‘accreditations’ near the orca and beluga exhibits.
There’s little coin-wells you can toss SWBGCF money into. I saw two of them. The “extra rides” (eg Skytower) admission is stated go to SWBGCF as well.
Seaworld VERY aggressively markets its beluga and dolphin encounters. The signs are large (here’s an egregious example) and common in the associated areas. Educational signage about dolphins was largely about training/interactions; I didn’t see any educational signage at all for the belugas except a list of their names and short bios.
There was more educational signage/conservation messaging for the sea otters (which I never saw out?) than for any of the cetaceans.
The cetacean tanks all look substantially smaller in person than in pictures. I was able to figure out “Keet’s Corner” fairly quickly because … well, Keet was in it. The trainers describe him as “lazy.”
The dolphin show was devoid of information. This was the only sign near it. Do the pilot whales ever get to come out of that one tiny tank? I never saw them anywhere else, and they weren’t in the show.
I’m not really a theme park person (read: I don’t like thrill rides. So no, I didn’t go on any of them.) This was definitively a theme park; I’m not just saying that Because Seaworld, I’m saying that because the nonstop decor and earsplitting din doesn’t let you take much else away from it. Even on a quieter day, the rumble of rides and their accompanying screams could be heard from many places. The park also has either really loud pop music or big, sweeping orchestral music playing almost everywhere.
My opinion of the place came out of my experiences as substantially worse, not better or even unchanged. I felt I was being as open and observational as possible. If anyone wants to see more imagery or discuss any point in further detail I’d be happy to. I sort of want to show people all atypical angles of the thing so you can get a good idea of what’s going on without having to go there.
I’ll save my marketing observations for later/a different post(s), but yhea.