Sea World set to implement new experience in lieu of Shamu show

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Sea World gained approval from the Coastal Commission last Friday to implement a new program that will supplant its current Shamu show in favor of a more educational experience.

The theme park has undergone a dramatic increase in controversy since the airing of the movie Blackfish on Netflix in 2013, which caused enough public outcry to spark a change in how they present their killer whale show—which has been their trademark spectacle since it opened its doors to the San Diego location in 1964.

Last year, in an effort to stem the tide of lost fans and members, the park announced that this will be the last generation cycle of killer whales as they will no longer be breeding them.

The new educational show is slated to be ready at the San Diego Sea World Park by April of 2017 while the other parks will follow in its steps in 2019. It will deviate considerably from the current acrobatic splash-fest that it has been known for since its beginnings. The experience will provide a more in-depth informational experience that introduces patrons and guests to the orca’s behaviors in the wild.

With planned construction to begin in January, the set will be outfitted with a artistic rendering of the Pacific Northwest, which will replace the current LED screens that air the One Ocean introductory movie prior to each performance. The new scenery is certainly not lacking any ambition as it will include increased lighting upgrades, waterfalls, makeshift rock cliffs, Douglas fir trees, and an embedded informational large-screen that will serve to educate onlookers of fast facts about killer whales.

Of course, the new move has been subject to much opposition from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) group, which released a statement shortly afterwards.

“By decorating its underwater prisons with a backdrop of a fake ocean stretching out behind them, SeaWorld would make a mockery of the animals’ lack of opportunity to swim in the real ocean,” the activist group said in a statement. “This marketing ploy is designed to deceive visitors while doing nothing for the orcas floating listlessly in tiny concrete tanks.”

The more pressing concern has been whether the company’s new move will be enough to cultivate its new image. After all, the killer whale show has been the main attraction to San Diego’s Sea World theme park as well as the other locations across the country.

While the company moves forward into uncharted waters, it remains to be seen if they can revive the success they have had  prior to the censorship it has received from ex-empoloyees, animal rights organizations and disgruntled fans.

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