History of SeaWorld San Antonio

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SeaWorld San Antonio, located in the Hill District of San Antonio about 10 miles from downtown, is the newest addition to the SeaWorld Parks. This park offers many animal exhibits, heart racing rides, animal interactions, plenty of shows, and the water park Aquatica. Unfortunately this is not one of the SeaWorld parks open year around, it’s only open from March to December. SeaWorld San Antonio is opened until 5 p.m in the colder months and until 10 p.m in the summers.

Contents

  • History
  • Building SeaWorld San Antonio
  • The Grand Opening
  • Ownership
  • Changes to SeaWorld San Antonio
  • Today

History

Building SeaWorld San Antonio

SeaWorld San Antonio was founded by Harcourt, Brace, and Jovanovich . The 250 acre park cost $170 million to build and at the time of it’s opening it was the biggest of the SeaWorld parks.

The Grand Opening

SeaWorld San Antonio first opened on the Memorial Day weekend of May 27, 1988 twenty eight years ago. The grand opening held 750,000 visitors and during its first year is welcomed 3.3 million visitors.

Ownership

In 1989 the park was sold to Anheuser-Busch, Inc a brewing company in St. Louis. Anheuser-Busch, Inc made major changes to the park after buying it. The first change to occur was stopping the construction for the Boardwalk and Baseball theme park that Harcourt, Brace, and Jovanovich planned. Then they started closing attractions that weren’t as popular among the public such as the U.S Map Plaza, the Texas Walk, and the Garden of Flags. After closing these attractions Anheuser-Busch, Inc added the Budweiser Clydesdales.

In 2008 the park was sold to the Blackstone Group, a private equity business, after Anheuser-Busch was merged into InBev.

Currently SeaWorld San Antonio belongs to the SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment company.

Changes to SeaWorld San Antonio

1993- SeaWorld San Antonio opens Rio Loco a river rapid ride Also opened in 1993 was the water park Lost Lagoon

1997- The first roller coaster of SeaWorld San Antonio, The Great White was opened. It was the first inverted roller coaster in Texas designed by the engineer company Bolliger & Mabillard. The coaster is 2,562 feet long and travels up to 50 miles per hour.

1999- The Steel Eel was built and it reaches close to 70 miles per hour. It’s described as a “hypercoaster”. The Steel Eel has a vertical drop as tall as 15 stories and camelbacks that provides the feeling of being weightless.

2004- SeaWorld San Antonio opened a kiddie roller coaster designed after Shamu called Shamu Express.

2007- The Journey of Atlantis was the first log ride roller coaster built in North America. It provides a 360 view of the park from it’s peak. The ride ends with a plunge into a lake, soaking the passengers.

2011- A interactive play area called Sesame Street Bay of Play was opened for children, based off of the popular children’s show Sesame Street. Lost Lagoon was closed and in it’s place Aquatica was opened. Aquatica water park replaced the Lost Lagoon because SeaWorld San Antonio wanted to base their water park off Orlando’s. Aquatica open officially in 2012.

2015- The popular show Clyde and Seamore’s Sea Lion High was first introduced. This hilarious show uses adorable sea lions, a walrus, and an otter in a comical story about trying to pass high school. Also opened in 2015 was the Pacific Point Preserve a habitat for seals, sea lions, and otters. Pacific Point Preserve is a great way to learn more about sea lions and other coastal life.

2016- The Explorer’s Reef aquarium was renovated to include even more animal exhibits including a variety of sharks, stingrays, a new coral reef that include tropical fishes. Explorer’s Reef aquarium mainly focuses on sharks and their importance to the ocean. Discovery Point was opened to the public 2016 and is the home to dolphins, sea lions, and belugas. It is the only place in Texas where you can actually swim with the dolphins. This hidden oasis is a wonderful way to learn about the playful bottlenose dolphins.

Today

SeaWorld San Antonio is currently owned by the SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment company. In 2016, SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment announced that the killer whales currently at SeaWorld San Antonio will be the last. After the killer whales cease to exist at the park the Killer Whale shows will be replaced with the Orac Encounters show. SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment expects the Orac Encounter show to be open some time in 2019.

Opening the summer of 2017 at SeaWorld San Antonio is the Wave Breaker: The Rescue Coaster. The Wave Breaker, designed by Intamin a Swedish roller coaster designing company, is a double launch coaster. This ride is based on SeaWorld’s animal rescue team.

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