With Gov. Ron DeSantis debuted the first few pages of the manual for re-opening Florida’s economy, thoughts immediately turned to the theme parks for many. Well, there is no timetable for those opening, but SeaWorld, which closed its 12 parks worldwide on March 16, has addressed the concerns of the public and its annual passholders with a statement this morning from Interim Chief Executive Officer Marc Swanson.
“For decades, SeaWorld and Busch Gardens parks have invited guests to experience the wonders of our world and the animals we share it with. We want to welcome you back to our parks as soon as possible. We also want you safe,” Swanson said. “We are monitoring this evolving COVID-19 situation closely and coordinating with public health officials to make sure we open in a safe and responsible manner. We’ll continue to keep you updated and we look forward to welcoming our valued guests back to our parks soon. Until then, we hope you’re staying safe and staying home.”
Among the topics:
The park is automatically extending all active Annual Passes and Membership products to SeaWorld and Busch Gardens for the length of time in which the parks remain closed. Domestic single-day tickets and any unused multi-day tickets that expire during the temporary closures will be extended through December 31, 2021. Expiring single-day and multi-day tickets purchased internationally will be automatically extended through the first week of 2022 to provide our guests from overseas additional flexibility. In-park experiences during the temporary closures can also be rescheduled through December 31, 2021. It is also offering discounted tickets to be used when our parks reopen and will be announcing new benefits for all active Pass Members in the coming days.
A team of dedicated and passionate zoological experts is tending to the needs of the animals in SeaWorld care, making sure the animals continue their daily routines and are ensuring their health and dietary needs are met to maintain the highest level of welfare and wellness. While there are no guests in the parks to experience these magnificent animals, the animal care specialists continue to spend time behavioral learning, social stimulation, and exercise. SeaWorld added precautions for animals and employees, such as temperature screening before entering the parks and the use of personal protective equipment, including masks and gloves, when interacting with certain animals.
The SeaWorld Animal Rescue Team is continuing critical animal rescue work, coming to the aid of injured animals; since our parks closed they’ve rescued four manatees, seven sea lions and seven elephant seals among others.
For parents and educators, amid school closures and shelter in place orders, SeaWorld created new educational websites for SeaWorld and Busch Gardens, with 15 sets of comprehensive K-12 activities, videos and teacher guides – all developed by the zoologists. New lessons are added every week and will be streaming live videos of the animals in their habitats.
“Caring for animals is an important part of our mission; educating and inspiring the public about them is an equally important part,” Swanson said. “We’re so proud of how our teams have stepped up to help make sure we can continue to do that.”