The first SeaWorld park was originally designed for visitors to see dolphins, but due to the popularity of the land’s penguin exhibit, the dolphin and seal exhibit was remodeled and given its own building. When the park opened in March 1973, it had 20-30 animals and 60,000 visitors daily. Many of the park’s whales and dolphins were imported from the John F. Kennedy International Airport. Later, more animals were added to the park and the attendance reached its peak in the 1990s.
As theme parks go, SeaWorld is known for its animal shows featuring killer whales and other animals. These may be entertaining and educational, but they are also about making money. Forty five years ago, John D. Daly was inspired by the kindness and bravery of animals. He had given services in the U.S. Marines in WWII and felt that, by caring for injured and ill animals, he could demonstrate the utmost loyalty to humans. Daly’s vision was the founding of the Marine Mammal Foundation.
While at a hospital, he noticed a young animal trainer. Daly took notice of his dedication to the life of an animal and asked him to care for the wounded animal at the facility. The young trainer offered to take care of the animal in return for him getting off work. This event set the foundation for what would become the Marine Mammal Rescue and Rehabilitation Hospital at the Marine Mammal Foundation.
SeaWorld Orlando was originally called SeaWorld Adventure Cove and was a 15,000 square-foot facility located at 1015 E. Buena Vista Drive in Orlando. The park was constructed in 1988 and opened to the public on April 18, 1989. It was the first park to be operated by the SeaWorld Corporation. The SeaWorld Park logo was a shark that was an early concept for the park and the logo is still featured on SeaWorld branded merchandise. The theme of the park was an action adventure.
In 1987, the park began building a second park in Winter Haven. Initially known as SeaWorld Village of the Fishes, it was constructed at the north end of Alligator Alley. This video by Scott Glover on Smartplanet lays out the reality that a sea-based theme park about food as with the animals in captivity. The parks are essentially marketing machines with food as the main target and animals playing extras. Find out more: https://discoverycove.com/orlando/