Friday, June 23, 2017

SeaWorld's new orca show is eye-popping entertainment, a seaworthy spectacle for all ages

  SeaWorld's new Orca Encounter is a more politically correct production which still captures the
beauty, grace and power of the magnificent whale. Orcas exist in all the world's oceans.

Media weekend Orca shows featured
seaworthy pastries in ocean motifs.


Cookie and Keller give "flippers up" to SeaWorld's new entertaining orca show.

Orcas still show off for the SeaWorld audience, but no longer do trainers
swim on or with them.  And the breeding program has been curtailed.

WE LOVED the old orca show at SeaWorld.  Keller grew up with it, took his kids there and retains cherished memories of the mighty orcas. So when it was announced that a more politically correct orca show would evolve, we wondered:
Could it manage to entertain the way the old orca shows did?
Would we still thrill at the orcas' strength and grace? Would people still get soaked in the close-up seats?
The major change in the new program is that trainers no longer swim with the orcas.  But they still interact and touch and play with the orcas.  And, yes, people in the splash zone still get mighty wet, as the animals splash their mighty tails to the delight of the audience.
In the wild, this orca's mighty tail might be used to catch
a seal off-guard and dislodge him from his rock.
SHAMU STADIUM'S stage has been transformed into a captivating Pacific Northwest theme featuring natural rock work, huge faux trees and gorgeous man-made waterfalls surrounding a 138-foot-wide screen.
The impressive, three-story, first-in-the-world high-definition "infinity screen" forms a changing backdrop for the show, accompanying educational commentary about the orcas. They exist in all the world's oceans, and the digital imagery ranges from Arctic ice to tropical waters, as in "real life" the orcas swim, leap and lunge in the 1.7-million gallon tank. We saw the opening weekend in the 5,500-seat Shamu stadium.
Animal behaviorists still interact with the whales and provide the commentary, with the screen's enlarged human images entertaining us as performance in the water below continues.
SeaWorld's well cared for orcas will no longer breed, but will entertain.
The combination of live presentation with the digital backdrop is engaging and SeaWorld's well written script exhibits its 50-year experience with and knowledge of the orca.
SeaWorld's popular, internationally known orca show is enhanced by
a new "encounter" which showcases the orcas against a stunning backdrop.
 The goal is "to immerse our guests in the mysterious world of the killer whale, which most people would never get to experience,” says Brian Morrow, SeaWorld’s vice president of theme park experience and design.
The show has been developed for more than a year, using the talent and knowledge of orca behaviorists,
engineers, researchers and writers.
WE ENJOYED watching SeaWorld orcas breach and show off against the massive infinity screen.
"We're hoping to help create an even deeper connection to the orcas,” says SeaWorld San Diego orca behaviorist, Kristi Burtis.  Visitors also hear how scientific research on killer whales at SeaWorld is benefiting wild orcas.
SeaWorld's orcas are meticulously cared for and SeaWorld's exemplary
program rescues, rehabilitates and returns many creatures to the wild.
The SeaWorld orcas are in tip-top shape, pampered and loved and given medical care and special diets depending on their needs. Like any zoo or animal sanctuary, SeaWorld's orcas spark controversy. Our thinking is that because of the exemplary care given the critters -- and the fact that other whales are still hunted -- this might be the only chance many will ever get to see such a magnificent creature up close.

Off next to San Francisco's Exploratorium where we spend a delightful day!
NEXT UP: San Francisco's Exploratorium explores the world through science, art, and human perception. Its mission is to create inquiry-based experiences that transform learning -- in unique and imaginative ways.  We spent the day recently and had a ball with our Bay Area niece and her lively and curious family. Remember to explore, learn and live and catch us Fridays for a unique spin on nature, the arts and travel.


  1. I, too, grew up with the orca shows. So glad to hear we can still get soaked in the splash zone and that the new show is faithful to the power and Majesty of this graceful king of the sea. Thanks for a good read and beautiful photos.

  2. Haifi Fellow TravelersJune 26, 2017 at 2:30 PM

    Love the orca encounter. Following with interest your fantastic transplant tale, too. You two are inspirational. So full of life, energy and love. May it continue this for many more years.

  3. The orcas are a great show, old or new. But the greatest show on Earth has to be your unfolding health "show", which we follow with rapt attention. So happy it goes well and that SeaWorld plays a part in it. Bonjour and bon temps from Paris.