Friday, January 13, 2017

Changes at Sea World include a natural 'encounter' for Orca lovers

SeaWorld's popular Orca show will no longer be part of the offerings at the internationally famous nature and
amusement park.  In its place, visitors will enjoy a more natural viewing of the killer whales and their life and habits. 
Trainers and audience alike were misty eyed at the finale of the killer whale
shows at SeaWorld.  A completely full house filled the stands to bid adieu. 

The new Orca show will offer an opportunity to 
view the beautiful creatures in a more natural setting.


The final Orca shows attracted thousands of tourists and San Diego locals.


MY PARTNER BRUCE Keller, whose photos illustrate this blog, has long been a fan of SeaWorld and its internationally famous Orca encounters.
He credits these beautiful killer whale shows with spawning his fascination with the ocean, and encouraging his lifelong pursuit of sea adventure.
So we were part of an enthusiastic audience for the final weekend of the traditional Orca shows.
For more than a half century, they have fascinated a worldwide audience of millions.
Keller, left, and Cookie, spent the weekend at SeaWorld
with its magnificent dolphin and whale exhibits.
THE SHOWS entertained crowds with what some considered "unnatural" behavior.  Precisely performed  "tricks" and playful antics exhibited the intelligence and strength of the whales in their interaction with humans.  Positive re-enforcement and rewards of food taught the whales to swim with humans, dive and breach on cue, slip up onto a viewing platform and more. Not everyone gave the shows "thumbs up."
SeaWorld listened to critics and responded to public opinion.
 "Society is changing and we’re changing with it," a spokesman said, "finding new ways to deliver on our purpose to inspire guests to take action in protecting wild animals and wild places."
THE NEW exhibits will no longer feature the Orcas performing in a stadium environment. Instead of "performance," the exhibit will focus on the animals' natural behaviors. The new program is being developed by SeaWorld experts and consultants to offer a new way for people to
The Orca show featured the intelligent killer whales at play, performing
tricks learned over a period of months and years to illustrate their
beauty and speed, graceful behavior and intelligence.

connect with the ocean’s most powerful predator. SeaWorld calls it "Orca Encounter," and promises viewers the opportunity to witness the magnificent creatures and their natural behavior set against an expansive infinity screen. SeaWorld promises to bring the whales' story to life with "exciting, immersive detail, designed to give viewers a deeper appreciation of Orcas." The exhibits will teach viewers about the Orca's hunting techniques and complex communication codes, a spokesman said.
ORCA FANS will learn about the Orcas' important family structure, with opportunities to watch the whales bond, play and eat. The new exhibits will be open by summer of this year, with a goal to "excite the sense of wonder and help viewers feel the connection between whales and our oceans..''
 SeaWorld has not collected marine mammals from the wild for decades. It also ended its breeding program, but will continue its highly regarded rescue program which has saved hundreds of birds and sea creatures from fishing lines and human-caused injury through the years.
THE TEN ORCAS at SeaWorld were either born there or have spent most of their lives in human care. Their names are Corky 2, Kasatka, Keet, Ulises, Orkid, Nakai, Kalia , Ikaika, Shouka, and a young male Makani, born to Kasatka on February 14, 2013.
These majestic Orcas will not be caged or released into the ocean. They could not survive there, having no skills in competing for food. They would also not survive unfamiliar diseases, and have no experience with environmental concerns such as pollution and other man-made threats.
SeaWorld fans came out in full force to pack the houses
for the final Orca presentations. A new encounter is planned.

At SeaWorld, they will continue their long, healthy lives with loving care of a dedicated veterinary and specialists. SeaWorld's long respected goal continues: to "inspire generations to be conservationists around the world." The hope is that the new “live documentary”-style presentation and expansive infinity screen will help visitors gain a deeper appreciation and respect for Orcas and that they will leave the park with determination to help preserve these majestic animals.
Find out more about SeaWorld's plans for its Orcas at

"Marjorie Prime" is on tap at Northcoast Repertory
Theater and San Diego's variety of theater offerings makes
it worthy of a plane ticket to escape the rain and snow.

A bevy of theatrical treasures enlivens the bleak and dreary days of winter nationwide. In San Diego, a glut of theatrical riches! A splendid production of "Marjorie Prime" is on tap. This fascinating play at Northcoast Repertory Theater delves into the futuristic prospect of human looking robots as an antidote to loneliness.  Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, Northcoast's production is up through Feb. 4. We previewed a sold out opening SRO performance of this fascinating show. Welk Resort has a wonderful production of "My Fair Lady" and New Fortune Theatre has a sizzling production of "Les Liaisons Dangereuses" at the Lyceum.  Call your favorite box office wherever you are, or head to San Diego -- worth an airplane ticket from snow country.  Remember to explore, learn and live and catch us weekends when we post a new piece with our unique twist on the arts, travel and the natural world.


  1. Grew up with these shows.....Great reporting on the changes. Spectacular photos as usual.

  2. Saw the migrating greys yesterday....What a thrill to live in this lovely corner of the whale world.