SeaWorld Opening New Park Without Orcas in Abu Dhabi
SeaWorld announced today that a new SeaWorld park will open in Abu Dhabi (in the United Arab Emrates) in 2022, becoming the first SeaWorld owned park outside the United States. Following the announcement earlier this year to end the orca breeding program, this will be the first SeaWorld park without orca whales.
SeaWorld is partnering with Miral, a theme park development company in the United Arab Emrates.
“SeaWorld Abu Dhabi is a unique project for the region which complements our portfolio of attractions and enriches Yas Island as the most exciting destination for our visitors,” said Miral CEO Mohamed Al Zaabi. “As Abu Dhabi’s developer of unique and exciting destinations, the opportunity to design a next generation marine life themed park in partnership with SeaWorld is bold and ambitious. Miral will continue to develop and create leading destinations on Yas Island that offer unique, immersive and exciting experiences for everyone.”
The first-of-its-kind marine life-themed park on Yas Island will incorporate the United Arab Emirates’ first dedicated marine life Research, Rescue, Rehabilitation, and Return Center with world-class facilities and resources for the care and conservation of local marine life. Also known as the “4-R Center,” this facility will open before the theme park.
SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby said “the Abu Dhabi park is an important step for the company’s move away from orcas”. Whales have been the signature feature of the SeaWorld Parks, appearing in their logos as well as being the park’s main attraction.
After major criticism from animal rights groups, SeaWorld slowly phased out its emphasis on killer whales at all of their parks. After attendance was hit by negative attention surrounding the documentary “BlackFish,” SeaWorld said it would stop using the animals in its theatrical shows and no longer mate them. The Abu Dhabi park will be the first SeaWorld park without orcas, but it will still integrate up-close animal experiences, mega attractions, and a world class aquarium, bringing the latest technology in visitor engagement.
Joel Manby, president and CEO of SeaWorld said:
“This project presents an opportunity for collaboration and greater understanding of how species have adapted to the region’s unique marine environment, and to inspire the next generation of visitors, conservationists and animal care experts”.
SeaWorld will complement Miral’s Yas Island’s four theme parks, which includes Ferrari World, Yas Waterworld, and the recently announced Warner Bros World and Clymb. The Middle East is really becoming an increasingly popular destination for theme park fanatics.
After extensive planning since 2011, SeaWorld Abu Dhabi is expected to open in the UAE city’s Yas Island in 2022. For more information, visit the official SeaWorld Entertainment website by clicking here.
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