One of Orlando’s big-three theme parks, SeaWorld offers acres of ocean-related attractions, whale and dolphin shows and thrill rides, attracting some five million visitors a year. However, since the release of the 2013 film Blackfish, an exposé on the dangers and questionable ethics of keeping killer whales in captivity, it has been embroiled in an epic PR disaster. Visitor numbers and stock price have both been hit, and several airlines, tour operators and performing artists such as Willie Nelson have ended their ties with the brand.

Given the global opportunities to watch whales and dolphins in the wild, SeaWorld’s use of these fiercely intelligent marine mammals for entertainment seems increasingly anachronistic; its recent pledge to invest more money in research and enlarge its killer whale enclosures is unlikely to see a U-turn in public or corporate opinion any time soon.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

USA features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Summer of Love: a journey through San Francisco 50 years on

Summer of Love: a journey through San Francisco 50 years on

San Francisco was the epicentre of the Summer of Love, a movement intent on changing the foundations of American society forever. Half a century later, Tamara…

04 Jul 2017 • Tamara Hinson local_activity Special feature
Where to stay in LA: an area by area guide

Where to stay in LA: an area by area guide

Few regions of the world have been as idealized and mythologized as California – and yet it seldom fails to live up to the hype. The glamour, surf beaches and…

22 Jun 2017 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
The 15 most spectacular sights in Southwest USA

The 15 most spectacular sights in Southwest USA

A vast expanse of stunning desert scenery, the Southwest is arguably the USA’s most spectacular region. For splendour and sheer scale, the landscape consisten…

06 Jun 2017 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right