Theme Park, Amusement Park and Attractions Industry News

SeaWorld Abu Dhabi to open in May

The highly-anticipated SeaWorld Abu Dhabi, SeaWorld’s first non-US outpost, will open its doors on May 23, 2023, developer Miral has revealed.

The news comes after the landmark launch of Yas SeaWorld Research and Rescue, SeaWorld’s first rescue centre outside the US, and the first dedicated marine research and rescue centre in the MENA region.

Located next door to Yas SeaWorld Research and Rescue on Yas Island, SeaWorld Abu Dhabi is the result of a partnership between leading immersive attractions developer Miral and SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment.

The park has been described as the ‘largest marine life theme park in the world’ and, once complete, will be home to more than 100,000 aquatic animals and occupy five levels across 183,000 sq m (17,000sq ft).

It will consist of eight unique immersive ‘realms’ – Abu Dhabi Ocean, Polar Ocean, Tropical Ocean, Micro Ocean, Rocky Point, Endless Ocean and One Ocean – each offering rides, animal encounters, entertainment experiences and retail and dining options.

The Abu Dhabi realm will teach guests about native sea life, as well as the UAE’s nautical history, including local trade and pearl diving traditions. It will feature a Souk offering several dining and retail outlets, and will also serve as the starting point for the park’s own interactive gaming experience, S.E.A Guardian.

Incorporating the Arctic and the Antarctic, the Polar Ocean realm will explore life at both the north and south poles. It will be home to the walrus and penguin habitats, as well as retail and dining options and an immersive ride.

Tropical Ocean will be the park’s largest realm, offering a rollercoaster and several retail outlets and dining venues, and will also be home to the dolphin and flamingo habitats and a host of tropical birds.

Meanwhile, Endless Ocean will be home to the world’s largest aquarium, containing more than 25 million litres of water and the majority of the park’s animals, with more than 68,000 species residing inside.

The Micro Ocean realm will offer several family-friendly attractions, fun characters and play areas. Visitors will also be able to interact with some of the park’s smallest animals.

Exploring the sea life of the US’s Pacific Northwest, Rocky Point will feature the sea lion’s cove.

The park will be anchored by the One Ocean realm, which houses the park’s animal care centre and a 360-degree multimedia immersive experience. One Ocean also acts as a gateway to the other realms.

The realms have been designed in collaboration with scientists, engineers and animal care professionals to standards set by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). They feature cutting-edge technologies – such as the Animal Life Support System, which manages water quality to support an array of animals living in one environment and the Advanced Animal Lighting System, which provides the health benefits of full-spectrum light while recreating day and night and seasonal light cycles – to create dynamic habitats that will enable the animals to live the way they would in the wild.

In addition, several animal welfare spaces have been created to enable the animal care team to support the animals’ social and seasonal habits. 

“Through its innovative programmes and its state-of-the-art facilities, SeaWorld Abu Dhabi aims to inspire the next generation of conservationists and marine life scientists while fostering a deeper appreciation for the natural world,” said Miral chairman Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak.

“SeaWorld Abu Dhabi’s opening will mark an exciting new chapter in Yas Island and Abu Dhabi’s ongoing efforts to promote tourism, showcase the emirate’s truly unique offerings and position it as a top global destination.”

Scott Ross, chairman of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, said: “Years in the making, SeaWorld’s world-renowned team of animal-care specialists, scientists, and engineers have worked alongside the visionary team at Miral, leading architects and designers to develop a next-generation SeaWorld park.”

“The result is an enriching and immersive experience not only for our animals, but also for our guests.”

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