On March 21, 1964, the first SeaWorld opened on Mission Bay in San Diego, the brainstorm of four UCLA fraternity brothers. The opening day ceremonies were hosted by Art Linkletter, one of the celebrities who hosted the Disneyland opening less than a decade before.
One of the four park founders, George Millay, who passed away in 2006, became the park's first president, as well as its creative force. Under his direction, SeaWorld eventually expanded to Ohio and Orlando. (Millay, incidentally, went on to found the Wet n' Wild water park in Orlando after being ousted at SeaWorld.)
SeaWorld, of course, became more than ocean-themed amusement park, becoming an accredited zoo with a strong animal rescue program, and of course, a slew of animal shows.
In honor of SeaWorld's birthday, here are links to two stories I did on the park last summer, including my time in the tank with the park's beluga whales.
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Walt Disney World
Tokyo Disney Resort