It has recently been revealed that a new SeaWorld park is to be created in Abu Dhabi, and it'll be the first outside of the USA!
13 December 2016| Last updated on 29 May 2017
Anyone who uses the Internet nowadays will be most familiar with the media attention the world-famous theme park has garnered over the past few years.
Following backlash towards its orca-breeding program - which was brought to the spotlight in the 2013 documentary 'Blackfish' - company officials have announced that a new SeaWorld park will be developed in Abu Dhabi... Without the orcas.
While many animal rights activists and individuals living in the UAE may be hesitant to learn of SeaWorld's fourth park in the country, for the UAE, it's an exciting addition to Yas Island's landscape... And no doubt a step in the right direction for SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment to recover from blistering campaigns against the captive orcas.
Officials with both SeaWorld and Abu Dhabi-government-backed Miral Asset Management have said that the SeaWorld park will be open in 2022 on Abu Dhabi's Yas Island, a man-made island that is one of the UAE's most favourited go-to tourism and entertainment destinations. Instead, the new Abu Dhabi location will provide research facilities, animal rescue and rehabilitation centers and opportunities for visitors to learn about ocean conservation.
After five years of discussions about a potential park in Abu Dhabi, it's now been confirmed.
SeaWorld ended it's infamous orca-breeding program in March 2016 after years of declining attendance to their parks in the USA, as well as pressure from activists. The critical documentary, 'Blackfish', followed the life of Tilikum, an orca that killed a SeaWorld trainer during a performance in their Orlando park back in 2010, and firmly implied that killer whales become more aggressive in captivity.
Understandably, because of the backlash faced, the news of a new SeaWorld park in the UAE may be hard to hear for some.
Nonetheless, officials are excited and hopeful that this will provide a new opportunity for SeaWorld to reaffirm itself in a strong way, and remove itself from the stereotype that it is a company only about one species, and not about ocean health overall.
What will be at the Abu Dhabi SeaWorld?
Visitors can expect the new Yas Island location to have thrill rides and aquariums, as well as attractions with 3D mapping and virtual-reality technologies that immerse visitors in virtual scientific expeditions and/or deep-sea dives.
Why Yas Island?
The popular island is already home to the Emirate's Forumula 1 track and the Ferrari World theme park. Plus, earlier this year, Miral agreed to develop a Warner Bros. branded theme park on the island, too.
Of course, all of these new projects are a combined effort by the UAE to provide multiple leisure and entertainment facilities ahead of the World Expo in 2020.