With the current CEO Jim Atchison out as head of SeaWorld CEO, the company is still moving forward with its Blue World project at its SeaWorld San Diego park. The park made an announcement last year that all three of its SeaWorld parks will be receiving new killer whale exhibits.
What is Project Blue? It is a multi-million dollar expansion of their existing killer whale enclosure at all three of their parks. The entire project is projected to cost $300 million and once finished, will be an incredibly immersive experience allowing guests to get up close and personal with the killer whales like never before.
UT San Diego recently talked to SeaWorld about the new exhibit. The park revealed a bit more detail of what we can expect once the new experience is complete.
One area of the new experience is the shoreline. The shoreline will allow guests to walk along a beach-like setting with rocks and plants and even simulated sand watching the killer whales play and interact.
There will even be shallow areas around 4 feet deep for the whales to go into and rub their bodies along the bottom of the surface.
Once guests are done viewing the whales along the shoreline, they will then begin a gradual descent down below the water.
The next stop for guests is called the shelf. The shelf area of the exhibit will allow guests to look down below at the guests that have already reached the lowest point of the exhibit. At this point, guests will be approximately 14 feet underwater. This will give guests a unique “eye to eye” experience with the whales.
Guests will reach the final area of the exhibit via an elevator or escalator, which has yet to be determined. Once there, guests will have the best view of the whales yet at nearly 40 feet underwater. The whales will be swimming around possibly at high speeds, thanks to a newly engineered pump that will simulate a fast water current.
“Blue World is not a reaction to animal extremists,” insists Mike Scarpuzzi, vice president of zoological operations for SeaWorld San Diego. “Blue World is the fourth expansion of our killer whale environment at the park and is a demonstration of our ongoing commitment to their health and well-being.”
The new enclosure is scheduled to be open by 2018 at SeaWorld San Diego. SeaWorld Orlando and SeaWorld San Antonio will follow soon thereafter.