SeaWorld Orlando is offering guests a glimpse into rarely-seen backstage areas over three weekends in January, calling it “an inside look at what it takes to maintaintain a premier zoological institution.”
The “Inside Look” tours will run January 12, 13, 19, 20, 26, and 27.
“This truly first-time-ever access features six of the least seen and most interesting portions of the park,” SeaWorld said in a press release.
The six locations include the SeaWorld Rescue Center, where the park’s veterinary staff and lab technicians care for the park’s own animals as well as those helped by SeaWorld rescue and conservation efforts, and the Animal Ambassadors Hamlet, the home of small mammals, exotic birds and reptiles that visit with guests inside the park and make promotional appearances for SeaWorld.
Other locations include the housing for the park’s sea lions, otters, beluga whales, seals and walruses. Guests will be able to see areas away from the public exhibits, like the animals’ holding pools and the scales used to weigh the belugas.
For dedicated fans who visit all six locations, they’ll be able to collect stamps to earn an exclusive “Expert Explorer” pin. Tours will be available at each location at various times each day and are included with regular admission to SeaWorld.
In addition to the tours, the “Inside Look” weekends will feature some special guests. Marine artist and conservationist Guy Harvey will appear on January 12-13, followed by Chris Fischer, founder of oceanic research nonprofit OCEARCH, on January 19-20, and zookeeper and TV show host Jack Hanna on the event’s final weekend.
SeaWorld is wrapping what has been a comeback year for the once beleaguered brand. 2018 saw the chain’s revenue and attendance grow after years of declines following the release of the documentary “Blackfish,” which criticized the treatment and use of captive killer whales in its parks. The park hopes to capitalize on that momentum with the opening of its new Sesame Street area in 2019, feature six rethemed rides.