In 1964 SeaWorld was developed by four graduate students of UCLA, led by Milton Shedd. The concept started as an underwater park and restaurant but grew instead into the idea of a marine life park to be situated in Mission Bay of San Diego. The SeaWorld park began with an investment of $1.5 million to buy 22 acres of property in Mission Bay along with sea lions and dolphins to be raised and showcased to salt water aquariums. Initially opened on March 21, 1964 in San Diego the SeaWorld theme parks went public in 1968 and expanded operations to other cities in the United States. In 1970 a SeaWorld park was opened in Aurora, Ohio and another in 1973 opened in Orlando, Florida. The largest SeaWorld park was built in 1988 in San Antonio, Texas.
Currently SeaWorld is owned and operated by the Anheuser-Busch Companies, makers of the popular Budweiser beers, having bought the SeaWorld parks from Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc (HBJ) in 1989.
Currently the Busch Entertainment Corporation (BEC) division of the Anheuser-Busch Companies oversea the day to day operations of this San Diego theme park. The Ohio SeaWorld park was sold to Six Flags Entertainment in 2001, with the remaining still controlled by BEC. According to their web page SeaWorld parks have had 24,000 animals born in all of their parks including 20 killer whale births over 100 dolphin births.
Tickets are pricey but discounts can be made available in San Diego if needed.