All the SeaWorld parks -- in Orlando, San Diego, and San Antonio -- have lowered their kids' ticket prices to just $5 through the the end of 2010.
According to the promotional Web page, SeaWorldCares.com, as long as an adult buys a full-price admission ticket (currently $78.95 in Orlando, the most expensive park), a kid age 3 to 9, the standard age range for children at theme parks, can get in for $5, which will fully go to a wildlife conservation cause chosen from a list by the ticket purchaser.
The list isn't specific about organization names, but it lists conservation areas by animal: sea turtles, dolphins, coral reef fish, and manatees. A SeaWorld rep said that specific organizations for these efforts have not yet been earmarked.
The offer is even valid during the high-volume summer season.
The catch? You only get one kid's ticket for every full-price adult ticket, so single parents with multiple kids can't get the $5 deal for all of them. Regular kid's tickets in Orlando cost $68.95.
Considering the unpleasant attention that SeaWorld garnered in February when one of its Shamu killer whales apparently played too rough with a trainer, killing her, the move could be viewed as cynical. The warm-and-fuzzy feelings resulting from this move could indeed help toward image rehabilitation of the animal parks, but in fairness, SeaWorld has a long history of animal rescue and supporting conservation causes.
This time, following the orca attack and the theme park group's purchase by the private equity firm The Blackstone Group, it's making more public relations hay of the practices. Fortunately, the efforts can save you $64
In fact, SeaWorld Orlando's manatee rescue program is one of Florida's most active, and representatives from the park have told me the company only keeps animals raised in captivity and has not captured dolphins from the wild since 1969. I'm one of those people who has gone on record as saying that although animal captivity is not ideal, in our disconnected society any instrument that introduces urban kids to animals and to a respect for them is urgently needed, and we can't afford to send inner-city kids on safari, can we?
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