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SeaWorld Orlando: A Theme Park and Marine Zoological Park

Since it opened up almost half a century ago (1973), SeaWorld Orlando has been one of the most popular amusement parks in the United States, hosting nearly 5 million visitors in 2018. This is a combination marine zoological park and theme park that not only provides fun for the whole family but plays a significant role in the rescue, conservation, and biological research of aquatic creatures.

Spread out over 200 acres, SeaWorld Orlando hosts a variety of attractions, including rides, exhibits, seasonal events, interactive tours, restaurants, animal enclosures, and more. Combined with its sister parks, Aquatica and Discovery Cove, it is a significant figure in Florida’s rich theme park ecosystem.

Let’s take a closer look at SeaWorld Orlando, highlighting what you can expect to see there on your next visit.

What to Expect at SeaWorld Orlando

In the summer of 2014, SeaWorld made major renovations to its layout, segmenting its exhibition areas into different ‘seas.’ They each have their themes, rides, attractions, animal shows, and overall atmosphere. Check them out:

Port of Entry

This is the first area you’ll encounter coming into the park and is designed to evoke a ‘Tropical Florida’ theme, featuring a massive freshwater marina. It serves as a great introduction to all you might encounter within the areas coming afterward.

Sea of Legends

This area is themed around ocean legends such as the lost city of Atlantis, said to have been lost underwater eons ago. Its main attraction is the boat ride featuring elements of a roller-coaster known as the Journey to Atlantis. Visitors may also enjoy the Kraken, which is a floorless roller-coaster.

Sea of Ice

This was initially known as Antarctica in correspondence with the area’s theme. There’s only one ride situated here, but it's a very popular one known as Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin.

Sea of Power

This area plays host to the venue’s killer whale exhibits, including the Shamu Stadium, Wild Arctic indoor pavilion, as well as live animal exhibits featuring harbor seals, Pacific walrus, beluga whales, and a motion simulator. Shamu Stadium is a 7,000,000 gallon exhibit that hosts the group of killer whales that the park has. While the specific shows change every couple of years, previous crowd favorites have included productions such as Orca Encounter, Shamu Christmas Miracles, Ocean Discoveries, and so on.

A Killer Whale posing for the tourists cameras in Seaworld Orlando Florida

Sea of Mystery

Here you’ll find the Nautilus Theater, Shark’s Underwater Grill, the Shark Encounter exhibit, as well as the Mako, which is a steel hypercoaster produced by Bolliger & Mabillard. The area was recently upgraded to include the Infinity Falls rapids ride and the waterway grill restaurant. The Nautilus Theater has a rich history, having once been home to the production labeled A’lure: The Call of The Ocean, a sophisticated circus production much in the same vein as Cirque du Soleil.

More recently, however, it has been designated to play host to Valerie and George’s Amazing Animal Friends!, a production that promises attractions for the whole family. It will feature seasonal displays featuring animals such as plains zebras, reticulated giraffes, African leopards, brown bears, scarlet macaws, sulfur-crested cockatoos, king vultures, peregrine falcons, common chimpanzees, Indian elephants, western lowland gorillas, greater roadrunners, lions, peacocks, cheetahs, black panthers, Arctic wolves, common ravens, Siberian tigers, Barbary lions, lappet-faced vultures, and more. During the winter events, visitors may even catch sight of polar bears and reindeer at the exhibit.

Sea of Delight

The Sea of Delight is designed to evoke the atmosphere and surroundings of a seaside Mediterranean village, featuring the park’s only land animal exhibits. This is known as Pets Ahoy, located near the Seaport Theater. You’ll also find the Sky Tower ride here.

The Seaport Theater was initially designed to host animals that had previously been rescued from animal shelters in the state of Florida, but budget cuts occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic saw it shut down, although there are plans to open it back up.

On a happier note, the Seafire Grill continues to offer up great food in combination with its live animal exhibits, which feature favorites such as striped hyenas, emus, southern cassowaries, California condors, African penguins, Bornean orangutans, secretary birds, leopard seals, polar bears, and more.

Sesame Street Land

The area that used to be known as Shamu’s Happy Harbor or Sea of Fun, now referred to as Sesame Street Land, is the section of the park specifically dedicated to children. Visitors will find attractions here, including Super Grover’s Box Car Derby (roller-coaster). It is designed to mirror the popular children’s television show of the same name.

Sea of Shallows

Here is where you’ll find most of the sea animal exhibits located in the park, in addition to the Dolphin Theater. The Key West exhibit, designed to imitate the city of the same name, features landscapes and architecture that recall the city. The Manta roller-coaster is also located here, as well as Turtle Trek, which is a 360-degree domed cinematic experience that follows the life story of a turtle.

Animal lovers will have their fill of variety here, with exhibits featuring animals such as southern stingrays, cownose rays, greater flamingos, American alligators, West Indian manatees, brown pelicans, Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, hawksbill sea turtles, green sea turtles, and so on. As an added treat for visitors, the dolphin and stingray habitats offer opportunities for them to feed the animals.

Final Thoughts

While the COVID-19 pandemic and all the associated ramifications that came with it dealt a heavy blow to theme parks across the United States, SeaWorld Orlando not excepted, the park has managed to keep its doors open to the public. Even so, the public is generally advised to observe basic safety precautions while visiting the park. SeaWorld Orlando has the most stringent health, safety, and sanitation measures in place to keep all our visitors, employees, and of course, animals safe and sound. Set a date for your next visit. You won’t regret it!

Interested in learning about becoming a resident in Florida or moving there? Read more.

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