Once again, SeaWorld is on the leading edge of innovation and science with the announcement of these first-of-its-kind killer whale environments. These new homes will build upon SeaWorld’s legacy of providing state-of-the-art animal living spaces and offering park guests unique killer whale encounters, inspiring generations to come.
The new killer whale homes and related research initiatives have a bold vision: to advance global understanding of these animals, to educate, and to inspire conservation efforts focused on protecting killer whales in the wild.
The first of these environments will be built at SeaWorld San Diego and is planned to have a water volume of 10 million gallons, nearly double that of the existing facility. With a maximum depth of 50 feet and a surface area of nearly 1.5 acres spanning more than 350 feet in length, there will be no other realm like this in the world. The new environment will also have views exceeding 40 feet in height, providing guests with the world’s largest underwater killer whale viewing experience.
Named the Blue World Project because of its size and scope, the new environment will allow for increased engagement with SeaWorld experts through new enrichment experiences and interactive programs. The environment will enhance the educational experience for guests, foster deeper knowledge of killer whales and their ocean environment, and inspire guests young and old to celebrate and conserve the natural world.
Expanding on SeaWorld’s legacy of animal environment design, the enlarged environment will provide killer whales with even more dynamic opportunities. It will support the whales’ broad range of behaviors and provide choices that can challenge them both physically and mentally.
Among other things, it is planned to include a “fast water current” that allows whales to swim against moving water, thus functionally increasing speed and diversity. Innovative features focused on husbandry and animal care will offer SeaWorld’s animal health professionals and independent scientists unique access to the whales that can lead to a better understanding and care of the animals both in the parks and in the wild.
The San Diego environment is expected to open to the public in 2018 with new killer whale homes to follow at SeaWorld Orlando and SeaWorld San Antonio.