SAN DIEGO (CNS) - SeaWorld San Diego began its 50th anniversary celebration Friday morning with the opening of Explorer's Reef -- the new visitor's entrance.
The opening ceremony was hosted by "Good Morning America" correspondent Cameron Mathison.
Visitors will now enter the park beneath a sculpture of a wave crashing into a reef, and can visit four freshwater and saltwater pools with sharks, rays, and fish that they can reach in and touch.
The celebration comes amid controversy over keeping orcas in captivity, which has been heightened by the documentary "Blackfish."
Assemblyman Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica, has introduced a bill to ban shows involving killer whales. Bloom said the legislation was inspired by "Blackfish."
Tuesday, the City Council proclaimed March to be SeaWorld San Diego month in honor of the theme park, which first opened on March 21, 1964.
Since then, more than 156 million visitors have passed through SeaWorld gates in San Diego. The mayor said the theme park has employed 93,000 San Diegans over the years, conducted research on marine life and generated large sums of tax revenue for the city.
SeaWorld plans an 18-month celebration of the anniversary that will include its other two parks, in Orlando and San Antonio.
Visitors at all three locations will get more up-close animal encounters, interactive experiences and new shows, according to SeaWorld. The parks will also have "Surprise Squads" out each day that will hand out prizes to patrons, like special ride access, behind-the-scenes experiences, reserved show seating, T-shirts or Shamu-themed merchandise.
A man allegedly barged onto a school bus full of children and pulled a knife on the driver Friday in the southeastern reaches of San Diego County, where the struggle ended with a fast-acting bystander disarming the intruder, police said.
As Memorial Day weekend approaches, San Diego Blood Bank CEO David Wellis today encouraged those who haven't recently donated blood to consider scheduling an appointment.
The San Diego Zoo Safari Park is famous for its expansive habitats featuring African and Asian species. The all-new Walkabout Australia gives park guests a view into a new region of the world with interesting and unique species.
Dr. Jen Welter, the first female coach in the NFL, wants to help girls play big, dream bigger, and have a game plan to turn dreams into reality at her upcoming GRRRIDIRON GIRLS Flag Football Camp!
Cathy Clark, who was a force in San Diego news for nearly three decades on three local stations, including CBS News 8, has died.
Millions of Southern Californians will be taking to the roads and airways Friday as the Memorial Day travel crunch goes into high gear, and the large crowds will likely test the patience of motorists and airline passengers.
With Memorial Day weekend signifying summer's unofficial start, San Diego County officials Friday urged beachgoers to use their "Check In Before You Get In'' web application.
Beginning Thursday through July 4, 2018, U.S. veterans and up to three guests may enjoy free admission to SeaWorld San Diego as well as other SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment properties across the country.
Remember the coyote in distress after home video captured the animal with thick plastic around its neck in Rancho Bernardo?
Law enforcement agencies across San Diego County are planning to crack down on drunken driving over the three-day Memorial Day weekend.