Wednesday, December 14, 2016

SeaWorld Entertainment Partners with Miral to Open New Park in Abu Dhabi

We've finally received an official announcement about SeaWorld Entertainment's plan to enter into the middle east, the United Arab Emirates to be specific, through the opening of a brand new theme park.

Known as SeaWorld Abu Dhabi, the theme park is planned to open in 2022 - about six years from now - as a part of Yas Island.  It will be a combination of marine life theme park along with the area's first R4 facility - which stands for research, rescue, rehabilitation and return center which will serve local marine life.

© SeaWorld Entertainment
SeaWorld has partnered with Miral, the developer behind the larger Yas Island project, to build the park.  I haven't seen it in any press release yet, but financial outlets have reported that Miral will be paying to build the park, and SeaWorld Entertainment is licensing the name to them and doing the design work - I'm sure more details on that arrangement will come out soon.

Yas Island already contains two operating theme parks, Ferrari World AbuDhabi and Yas Waterworld, and has announced that in 2018 both Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi and Clymb (a large indoor climbing and recreation center) will open.  This video from Miral gives a nice look at Yas Island's offerings:

Since the opening of the new park is still quite far off, there are no details or renderings available that might hit at what exactly will be added.  We do know from press materials that "up-close animal experiences, mega attractions and a world class aquarium" will be featured, and all will utilize the latest technology to engage guests.  SeaWorld is also making it clear that the park will contain no orcas when it opens. An official park roster, along with featured marine animal announcements will come as the park's development moves along.

Joel Manby, President and Chief Executive Officer of SeaWorld said: “We are excited to announce our first international expansion and our partnership with Miral as we design a next generation SeaWorld that engages, educates and inspires, a blueprint brought to life in Abu Dhabi. This new park, combined with a dedicated research, rescue, rehabilitation and return facility focused on marine life care and conservation, continues SeaWorld’s legacy of marine life rescue that spans more than 50 years. This project presents an opportunity for collaboration and greater understanding of how species have adapted to the region’s unique marine environment, and to inspire the next generation of visitors, conservationists and animal care experts.”