SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Attendance at SeaWorld San Diego plunged 7 percent last year, a time when increasing numbers of people visited theme parks in the U.S. and around the world, according to a report released Wednesday.
The report from the Themed Entertainment Association and Los Angeles-based consultant Aecom said more than 3.5 million visitors passed through the gates of SeaWorld San Diego last year, compared to almost 3.8 million in 2014.
SeaWorld San Diego was the 14th most-visited theme park in the U.S. after placing 12th the year before, according to the report. It was the only one of the U.S. top 20 where the number of visitors dropped.
The park has struggled with attendance in recent years following criticism of the handling of orcas. SeaWorld announced earlier this year that it would end captive breeding of killer whales and reformulate its "Shamu" shows.
David Koontz of SeaWorld San Diego said the report is based on estimates, not actual numbers. The report's authors said they obtain numbers from the operators themselves, financial reports and other sources.
Walt Disney World in Florida had the highest attendance at almost 20.5 million.
Attendance at the top 20 U.S. theme parks rose 5.9 percent last year.
"The growth we've seen this year is tremendous for a relatively mature industry," said John Robinett, senior vice president of economics at Aecom. "Over our 10 years of tracking the industry, we have seen steady improvements in business volume -- despite a global recession, the introduction of exciting new technologies and continued internationalization of the attractions world."
Last year saw 236 million visits to the top 25 amusement and theme parks worldwide, up 5.4 percent, the report said.
READ THE FULL REPORT BELOW
New details are being revealed about the horrific case in Riverside County, where a couple is accused of keeping their 13 children captive.
One of San Diego's most decorated war heroes has died at the age of 98. In Tuesday's Zevely Zone, Jeff is in Poway to say farewell to a legend.
The amphibious transport dock ship USS Portland will arrive Monday to make Naval Base San Diego its new home port.
A man who fell off Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach and was never seen resurfacing remained missing Monday morning after a nightlong search by U.S. Coast Guard personnel, authorities said.
Hundreds of Helix High School students staged a walk- out Monday morning to protest police brutality after video emerged over the weekend on social media showing a La Mesa police officer on campus slamming a teenage girl to the ground.
Following rain and snow Friday evening and a weekend of cooler weather across San Diego County, a slight warming trend is expected to begin Monday and continue through at least the middle of the week.
A local war hero is about to be laid to rest. Retired Navy Captain James "Duffy" Hutton spent years of his service as a prisoner of war in Vietnam before he settled down here in San Diego.
Sunday marked day two of the government shutdown - and with the work week beginning Monday - thousands of employees may not go back to work.