We have a lot of fun here at SeaWorld - amazing shows, exciting rides, and endless opportunities for families to have a great time together. But the most important thing we do has always been taking care of animals - both in our park and out in the natural environment. Ever since the very first SeaWorld opened in San Diego CA back in 1964, we have consistently been there to answer the call when animals need our help.
Thousands of animals have been rescued, rehabilitated, and released back into their habitats by our SeaWorld Animal Rescue Team. Our non-profit SeaWorld Busch Gardens Conservation Fund has donated over 7 million dollars to hundreds of projects world-wide dedicated to animal rescue, conservation, and education. Our Education and Conservation department has shared our passion for animals with millions of guests, hoping that after spending time with us learning about animals, they will leave the park ready to make changes that lead to their conservation.
We love animals, and we're proud of our efforts, but we also understand that taking care of animals is something that everyone has the ability and responsibility to do, and we wanted to find a new way to share that message. Last year, members from the Education and Conservation and the Animal Ambassador departments from each of our parks teamed up to develop a new school outreach program - SeaWorld Cares.
In this presentation, we discuss reasons animals may need our help - both natural and human related causes. We share some of our favorite rescue success stories, including the story of J.J. the orphaned gray whale, and a large scale effort to rescue penguins affected by an oil spill off the coast of South Africa. We also share personal stories about rescued animals in our own parks with live animal appearances. Students meet ambassador animals that have been part of our rescue and conservation programs including a Roseate spoonbill, American alligator, and Magellanic penguins.
Most importantly, we discuss how we all can make a difference for animals in our own backyards, just by making small changes such as recycling, conserving water, and spending more time outdoors appreciating wildlife. We also share a new website www.seaworld.org/kids which was created specifically for students to learn more about what they can do to help wildlife, and share their own ideas with us.
This new outreach program was launched last fall in schools in our park's hometowns (San Diego, Orlando, and San Antonio). The response from the students was wonderful, and much time was spent after each program chatting with the kids about their ideas and how they are going to help animals. This spring, we are getting ready to go "on the road" with SeaWorld Cares, and we are excited to bring our story to students across the country, and hear about their ideas on how we can all make a difference in protecting and caring for the world we share.
Are you planning on visiting SeaWorld this year, and would like to learn more about SeaWorld’s dedication to animals? Join us on our Behind the Scenes Tour, and get an up-close look at our animal care facilities, visit rescued and endangered animals, touch a shark, and touch and feed stingrays. Two dollars from each tour admission is donated to the SeaWorld/Busch Gardens Conservation Fund, where 100% of each dollar raised goes directly to projects helping animals worldwide.