SeaWorld as a whole has been attempting to bring awareness to their numerous conservation efforts. The entertainment company has been a leader in animal rehab and conservation for decades, but many of those efforts are unknown by the general public.
The company has turned to Twitter
, used celebrities, and award-winning children’s programming to help highlight the rehabilitation efforts SeaWorld does. Until now, the general public has had to only see the worst end of those rehab efforts. When animals are deemed too handicapped to be returned to the wild they call SeaWorld, or other educational facilities, which allows guests the opportunity to learn about the rescue efforts and about other animals that were able to be released into the wild.
Strong rumors now suggest that the general public will be able to have a firsthand sneak peek into the backstage rehabilitation efforts of SeaWorld.
The manatee viewing area, near the entrance of Turtle Trek, has been behind construction walls
since early January. The exhibit typically receives a short refurb each year around this time but, unlike this one, the refurb usually only lasts a few weeks. This one has been much longer than past refurbs, leading many to question what is involved with it this year. The construction walls stretch well beyond the guests areas, stretching all the way to the backstage manatee rehabilitation area.
The strongest rumor involves a new boardwalk that will wrap around the current manatee viewing pools, all filled with manatees rescued and unable to be released back into the wild. The boardwalk will then allow for a small viewing area that will look into the backstage manatee rehabilitation area itself. The boardwalk wouldn’t enter into the rehab area but would allow for guests to see the rehab center and on special days may allow for viewing of high-profile rescue efforts.
The animals in the rehabilitation center would likely not be able to see the guests and guests will likely not see any specific animals. The boardwalk will allow for new viewing opportunities to view the current manatees and give a small peek into the backstage facilities. Informational signage and possible interactive touch-screens will allow for guests to learn more about these conservation efforts SeaWorld leads. The manatee viewing area currently is staffed by employees, knowns as Ambassadors, who help answer questions about manatees and SeaWorld’s efforts to help protect them. These Ambassadors will return when the area reopens.
SeaWorld Orlando’s sister park Busch Gardens Tampa opened an Animal Care Center
with large viewing areas for guests a few years ago. That has proven to be a popular "attraction" for many and has been featured numerous times on SeaWorld’s children’s reality show The Wildlife Docs.
SeaWorld has yet to confirm the new boardwalk bridge or the new backstage viewing area.