The original aquarium made theme park SeaWorld has been known for its variety of attractions, and interactive experiences. Only through this theme park would most people ever have the chance to see the giant creatures of the deep or the variety of fish on a coral reef. Enabling those to pursue their curiosity, SeaWorld embarked on their path of creating environments that never lost their aquarium foundation.  More Than An Aquarium Starting out as an aquarium that was intended to only have a dining area it quickly escalated to having live orca shows and interactive swimming events. However that never slowed down the building of species and environments for aquatic life. To this day San Diego's SeaWorld hosts four hundred and thirty-four different species of marine life. Including animals that had never been seen before in captivity, most famously orcas or killer whales. As well as dolphins and a variety of sharks that are known for not doing well physically in captivity. 
Giving Back To the ocean, literally. In 2012 a sea lion that SeaWorld rescuers named 'Valentine' was caught, treated for a bullet wound and released shortly after being fully rehabilitated. Just as in 2011 when two pilot whales were rehabilitated and released back into open waters after being beached in Key West, Florida.  This and a much longer history of helping animals make it back to their home in the wild is accompanied by many other efforts in wildlife conservation. A ten million dollar match in donations for Orca research and preservation was recorded in 2013.  Making History In Attractions What really brought SeaWorld into this next level of success as a theme park was the interactive experience that guests could have. Belugas, dolphins, and penguins can all be seen up close or even have the chance to swim with these marine marvels. SeaWorld was the first theme parks of this kind in offering attractions that enhanced the guest experience while not focusing on only thrill rides. Straying from the general sense of wonder and fantasy to accompany the thrill rides at other theme parks; SeaWorld started out with the concept of bringing the large scale life of the ocean into an environment that we could see, appreciate and understand.   Shamu 
SeaWorld, Orlando
The original Shamu made her debut in 1965! Orca's have been performing under this stage name since she retired from being the star of the show. Aside from the stage name being one of the most recognizable of popular culture animals, Shamu has her own national day, September 26th is National Shamu the Whale Day! This day was chosen because it was the day that the first 'Baby Shamu' was born in captivity. While this success was a first it has led to about eighty percent of SeaWorlds inhabitants being bred in captivity.
San Diego and Beyond San Diego, San Antonio, and Orlando are all host to SeaWorld theme parks. A former location was previously closed in Aurora Ohio in 2007. It extended its family to include Aquatica a water park and Discovery Cove the hands on animal handling experience.  Photo Credits: Jeremy Thompson, Josh Hallett