After 60 years in the business, SeaWorld Entertainment has become a thing of the past as of February 12, 2024.
60 Years in the Business
SeaWorld Entertainment, founded by George Millay, Milt Shedd, Ken Norris, and David DeMott, began with the opening of the first SeaWorld location along the shore of Mission Bay in San Diego, California, in 1964. The location was originally planned as an underwater restaurant, but over time, the concept took on a form of its own, ultimately growing into a 21-acre marine zoological park.
The initial investment in the park was only $1.5 million, but in its first year, SeaWorld drew in over 400,000 visitors with a staff of just 45 employees, two saltwater aquariums, and a small group of marine life.
The company now has three SeaWorld parks in the United States: SeaWorld San Diego, SeaWorld San Antonio, and SeaWorld Orlando.
In May 2023, SeaWorld Entertainment opened its first park in Abu Dhabi, the capital city of Abu Dhabi Emirate and the national capital of the United Arab Emirates. SeaWorld Abu Dhabi is the first-ever marine park in that region.
The company also has other parks, including Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida, which serves as a tropical paradise where guests can swim with sea life. SeaWorld Aquatica, the company’s water park brand, can be found in Orlando, San Antonio, and San Diego near the original SeaWorld parks.
SeaWorld Entertainment also operates Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Sesame Place Philadelphia, Sesame Place San Diego, Adventure Island in Tampa, Florida, and Water Country USA in Williamsburg, Virginia.
SeaWorld’s parks are known for offering up-close animal encounters, educational attractions, and innovative entertainment.
A Thing of the Past
Despite the growth of the company–and more likely because of that success, SeaWorld Entertainment is no longer a theme and marine life park corporation as of February 12. The organization has changed its name to United Parks & Resorts, though its theme parks will not undergo a rebranding.
The name change is an effort on the organization’s part to better reflect the diversity of the company’s offerings.
“Our new company name, United Parks & Resorts Inc., better reflects that we have been, and will continue to be, a diverse collection of park brands and experiences,” CEO Marc Swanson said in a recent news release announcing the name change.
Only the parent company was affected by the name change, as none of the company’s parks in the United States or in the United Arab Emirates have undergone name changes or rebrandings.
As SeaWorld Entertainment became United Parks & Resorts, Inc., on February 12, 2024, the stock symbol changed to $PRKS.
FEBRUARY 12: SeaWorld Entertainment will formally change its corporate name to United Parks & Resorts Inc.
— Momo Queen (@QueenofMOMO) February 11, 2024