SeaWorld Shows Signs of Evolving Away From Its Circus Theme

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SeaWorld Rehabilitation Facility

There are some positive signs emerging from SeaWorld that it is moving in new directions, trying to keep pace with a changing world. The public is increasingly turning away from circus shows, and with the hot water surrounding SeaWorld at the moment over the death of trainer Dawn Brancheau last year, SeaWorld may have to give up having trainers in the water permanently. (OSHA hearings)
Recent good news came when SeaWorld’s Orlando park chose to put both of the rescued pilot whales together – a move guaranteed to help both adjust to their lives in captivity, and the kindest choice for the animals. In previous years SeaWorld would no doubt have placed the animals in different parks to increase the attendance at each.
Now it appears as though SeaWorld is prepared to re-invent itself, albeit slowly.  They want to tap into the children’s market with movies and other ‘consumer products’, and according to this article at least, will be relying heavily on material from the past.

SeaWorld, the brand wrapped around 10 marine-themed amusement parks across the US, has taken its first steps into the kids entertainment biz with its newly formed SeaWorld Pictures division.
…Helmstedter says the company is also exploring TV and animated content, which will be produced within their own divisions. At press time, he couldn’t give details on the yet-to-be-named divisions or their development slates, but says there are several projects in the pipeline in-house and with partners that will be announced in coming months. Beyond that, he says the company is very focused on the kids space and will be on the hunt for new live-action and animated projects at MIPCOM next month and Kidscreen Summit 2012.
Additionally, Helmstedter says SeaWorld has plans to expand its currently modest consumer products program and further leverage its library of music and the more than 30,000 hours of film footage amassed since the first park opened in 1964. It depicts rescues, conservation activities and SeaWorld’s menagerie of animals.

SeaWorld has a golden opportunity with this new direction to change from a corporation built in a time when circuses regularly exploited and mistreated wild animals, to a company that embraces modern attitudes of conservation and kindness.

Of course, they may attempt to indoctrinate another generation of children into the myth of Shamu, but that would be huge mistake.  Today’s parents are savvy and want to expose their children to experiences that reflect the values of their own generation.
Pilot Whale

We’ll still be watching…
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