SAN DIEGO (CNS) - SeaWorld San Diego opened its doors for the first time 48 years ago Wednesday.
The original park was spread over 22 acres, with two aquariums, a few dolphins and sea lions, and had 45 employees. It grew out of an original vision of an underwater restaurant by four UCLA fraternity brothers.
The first year, it attracted more than 400,000 visitors, according to SeaWorld. In the years since, 145 million have passed through the turnstiles.
The theme park now covers 189 acres, with parks in Orlando and San Antonio also carrying the SeaWorld name. SeaWorld has become a leader in marine conservation and is world famous for its "Shamu" whale shows.
No birthday activities took place at the park today, but plans are in the works for SeaWorld's golden anniversary in 2014, spokeswoman Kelly Terry said.