I have been a big fan of going to the SeaWorld park in San Antonio ever since it first opened its doors over thirty years ago. It made quite the splash in the Alamo City as the first major theme park in the city, but not the last, as Six Flags would absorb the Fiesta Texas park some time later.
During the COVID shut down, many questions were asked by the public about how life in a major theme park like this could continue. Thanks to Chuck Cureau, Marketing Leader and Public Relations employee at the park, I was able to get answers. Heading out to the park as they reopen this weekend? Check out these new guidelines.
DG: The park opens up on the 19th, I believe?
CC: Yes, beginning Friday, June 19 SeaWorld’s operating hours are 10 am-9pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Thursdays, Sundays, and Mondays our hours are days 10am-5pm. SeaWorld will be closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. As per the governor’s orders, SeaWorld will be operating at 50% capacity. Reservation must be made online at https://seaworld.com/san-antonio/tickets/reservations/
DG: Hand sanitizer stations. How many more? Located where? Will they be on the map?
CC: We have installed approximately 400 sanitation stations across our parks. Plenty of opportunities for guests! Although guests will not have to look far to find one, some of the stations will be located on the park maps.
DG: Will masks be required?
CC: Employees and guests 2 years of age and older must wear face coverings while in the park. Guests are not required to wear them while eating and drinking, or in designated relaxation areas of the park. These areas will be listed on the park maps.
DG: Stadium seating arrangements that deal with the “six foot” rule. How will they change?
CC: Guest will be encouraged to social distance between parties while seated in our stadiums. The stadium has been configured so that there is an empty row in front of and behind guests.
DG: SeaWorld San Antonio has some outstanding restaurants. How will the seating change?
CC: Restaurants across the parks will include arranged seating layouts to accommodate physical distancing. Tables and chairs will be sanitized with increased frequency, condiment and topping stations will be closed, utensils will be pre-packaged, and guests with refillable products will be provided single-use alternatives. In lieu of traditional menus, single-use paper menus will be used and additional grab-and-go and pre-packaged food offerings will be added. Buffet-style service areas will be adjusted or closed until further notice.
DG: Is the disease dangerous to the numerous animals SeaWorld has in the park?
CC: Covid-19 is a human disease and animals are at low risk. There are no reported cases of Covid-19 in any of the species that participate in our guest interaction programs. You will see throughout the park our animal health and care professionals wearing masks or face coverings and frequently washing their hands even while working with the animals. These added measures have been implemented to minimize the risks for people to spread SARS COV 2, and to minimize the already low risks to animals. From the animal’s standpoint, with the exception of the zoological team wearing masks, nothing has changed.
DG: There are more than a few places where people can stand at various exhibits (sea turtle, penguin, flamingo, etc). How will social distancing be handled there?
CC: In all open animal viewing spaces, we will add markings to queues to indicate required distancing. Certain animal interactions will be modified and only tours allowing for physical distancing will operate. Some tours and interactions will be restricted to one-party at a time
DG: What changes will be expect at the numerous rides SeaWorld has like the Steel Eel and Great White?
CC: Queue lines for all rides will have markings for physical distancing and modified seating will be implemented to maintain physical distancing. We will have hand sanitizer available at the entrance and exit of all rides and will increase the frequency of cleaning and sanitizing.