SeaWorld to end nightly fireworks; theme park set to debut new shows and rides
Published - 04/18/17 - 12:10 PM | 49220 views | 3 3 comments | 43 43 recommendations | email to a friend | print
SeaWorld plans to cease its nightly fireworks over Mission Bay during the summer. / Photo by Thomas Melville
SeaWorld plans to cease its nightly fireworks over Mission Bay during the summer. / Photo by Thomas Melville
Orca Encounter will debut this summer with temporary seating around the orca underwater viewing area pool.
Orca Encounter will debut this summer with temporary seating around the orca underwater viewing area pool.
SeaWorld San Diego is transforming its decades-old business model.

Recently scrapping its heretofore trademark Shamu shows, the marine mammal theme park is also silencing, for now, its nightly summer fireworks displays.

“This summer we are debuting our new summer nighttime extravaganza called Electric Ocean,” said SeaWorld spokesman David Koontz. “At dusk, we will transform the park into an underwater world of colorful vibrancy immersing our guests in a glowing sea of bioluminescent-like lighting, music and pathway entertainment, and a dance club.”

Koontz noted Electric Ocean “will be a nighttime version of our Cirque de la Mer show (a summer daytime show the last 12 years), which will be take place in our Cirque Stadium on Mission Bay. Complementing Cirque Electrique will be another new nighttime show featuring overhead laser lights and an interactive RFID (radio frequency identification) experience, acrobats and live musicians and an illuminated parade.”

Koontz added SeaWorld's “Putting our fireworks on hiatus, other than on the summertime three-day holiday weekends, and for a handful of other special events. This new nighttime spectacular will have no impact on general aviation in that area, nor will it impact air traffic departing and arriving at Lindbergh Field.”

The cessation of SeaWorld's summertime pyrotechnics was hailed by long-time opponents as a major step forward.

Martha Sullivan, spokesperson for SeaWorld fireworks opponents, who launched a successful online petition drive garnering more than 11,000 signatures against summertime displays, labelled SeaWorld's announcement shelving them as a victory.

“It's an evolution that we've been encouraging them to do,” Sullivan said. ”They're using new technologies and adjusting their business model to the current conditions of their customer base.”

Sullivan added the marine park is “realizing they need to be good neighbors.”

Asked why fireworks became an issue, Sullivan replied, “I think it was just people being really fed up with it.”

SeaWorld fireworks detractors claim research shows “noise pollution from nightly fireworks causes harm to humans and other animals. … Effects of noise pollution to humans include (damage to the) physiological and psychological health of human beings: hypertension, annoyance, high stress levels, aggression, hearing loss, tinnitus, sleep disturbance, etc.”

Meanwhile, SeaWorld is transitioning from theatrical orca shows to a more educational presentation reflecting natural behaviors of the whales. The final "One Ocean Shamu" show was conducted Jan. 8.

The first of these live documentary-style presentations, called Orca Encounter, will debut at SeaWorld San Diego this summer with temporary seating around the orca underwater viewing area pool.

Patrons will learn how killer whales behave in the wild, how they move, hunt and navigate, what they eat and even how they communicate. Orca Encounter will also look at broader themes such as research, rescue, conservation, habitats and distribution, husbandry and care, and social structures. 

“This will inspire as well as educate guests about the majesty of these complex animals and reinforce the company’s commitment to provide educational experiences with the park’s resident orcas,” Koontz said. 

Other game-changing developments at SeaWorld San Diego include development of the Electric Eel, 150-foot high ride roller coaster debuting summer 2018, and Submarine Quest, a submarine-inspired attraction. 

Both attractions are coming to SeaWorld as part of the park's new Ocean Explorer area. Participants will experience digital technology and can interact with the ride to "save" ocean creatures.  

Through Ocean Explorer, debuting later this year, guests, through an interactive mini-sub, can get up close to some of the ocean's most fascinating creatures, then take a spin on three new family friendly rides.

With three new attractions, this is SeaWorld's biggest roll-out in 53 years. 

For more information, visit

Comments-icon Post a Comment
Bay Park Resident
April 23, 2017

Do you really think 3 minutes of nighttime fireworks has a bigger noise impact than jets flying overhead every 15 minutes all day or motorboats and jetskis on bay? I agree that one cannot make an argument for the utility of fireworks, but we happen to enjoy seeing them every night and I would challenge anyone to show me data that the biggest environmental threat to the area is a 3 minute fireworks show rather than the parade of cars on 5, motorized transport on the bay, people's slovenly habits in the park, jets flying overhead OR the periodic dumps of human waste into the bay. Not to mention the desire for increased "densification" along the Morena corridor.

How people assess risk continues to be an absolute mystery to me.
Fireworks Loving Guy
April 18, 2017
You've gotta be kidding me. The killjoy levels of the vocal minority are out of control. What's next? No more ice cream shops? GET A F&*^% LIFE PEOPLE.
April 21, 2017
There are many ways to celebrate without explosive noise.

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