Amid the uniquely difficult economic challenges across the international travel industry in 2020, due to the pandemic, there is some exciting and positive news. The development of SeaWorld Abu Dhabi is currently about 40 percent complete, and the massive marine life complex is on track for its projected opening by year-end 2022.
Abu Dhabi’s Miral asset management firm and SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment have partnered on the immense project. The marine life park, research facility, and wildlife rescue center are to become SeaWorld’s first park in 30 years to operate outside North America.
Scott Ross is the Founder and Managing Partner of Hill Path Capital and has served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Inc. since July of 2019. Ross commented on the Abu Dhabi project, stating, “It’s a privilege to partner with Miral, a best-in-class organization, to build the first new SeaWorld park in over 30 years and the first park outside of North America.”
Ross went on to say, “Yas Island is a visionary and transformational project and is already becoming a landmark destination for global travelers. We are thrilled SeaWorld will be a part of this special place, which will further expand our vitally important marine life research, rescue, conservation, and education efforts in the region.”
SeaWorld Abu Dhabi – Marine Theme Park
SeaWorld Abu Dhabi will be one of the premier visitor attractions of the Yas Island resort and entertainment development. Other major features on Yas Island include the Yas Waterworld water park, Warner Bros. World, and Ferrari World, all adjacent to SeaWorld Abu Dhabi. Additional highlights of the massive travel destination island complex include a Grand Prix race track, an upscale marina, a golf course, and a megamall. Seven hotels provide abundant visitor accommodations.
The facility will feature one of the world’s largest indoor aquariums. At the marine life theme park within the expansive SeaWorld Abu Dhabi complex, visitors will experience an immersive journey from Pole to Pole through six eco-realms in its marine life unified “One Ocean” narrative, demonstrating the interconnectedness of all life on the earth and in the oceans. The park will offer numerous interactive marine exhibits and educational experiences to entertain visitors and promote increased awareness and appreciation of the global marine ecosystem.
Departing from SeaWorld’s North American marine parks model, which features more amusement rides to attract visitors, SeaWorld Abu Dhabi currently has only one roller coaster under construction. As the adjacent Ferrari World park is packed with thrilling amusement park rides, including the world’s fastest roller coaster, this makes sense. It reportedly will be launching its Mission Ferrari operations, reputed as the most advanced roller coaster design in the world.
SeaWorld Abu Dhabi – Marine Wildlife Research, Rescue, Rehabilitation, and Conservation
The incomparable design of the SeaWorld Abu Dhabi park is the culmination of SeaWorld’s over half a century of marine research, conservation, and rescue experience. The extraordinary Yas Island complex will feature ecosystems designed to allow multiple marine wildlife species to share habitats in the same way they live in the wild.
The state-of-the-art marine life park will be the first dedicated center for marine life research, rescue, rehabilitation, and return in the UAE. The vital research and rescue work of SeaWorld Abu Dhabi will support the global marine ecosystem. It will also serve as an international hub for sharing knowledge among scientists, researchers, and marine conservationists, to promote and protect the Gulf region’s indigenous marine life and ecosystems.
The Abu Dhabi SeaWorld facility will also extend the reach of SeaWorld’s global wildlife research and rescue efforts. SeaWorld has rescued more than 37,000 animals and returned many back into the wild, and has provided permanent homes for those unable to return to living in the wild safely. The rescue center will provide treatment and rehabilitation for rescued sea turtles and dugongs.
SeaWorld Abu Dhabi – Global Visitor Attraction and Marine Wildlife Welfare Center
Scott Ross added: “Yas Island is a visionary and transformational project and is already becoming a landmark destination for global travelers. We are thrilled SeaWorld will be a part of this special place, which will further expand our vitally important marine life research, rescue, conservation, and education efforts in the region.”
The multi-level, approximately 183,000 sqm (2 million sq ft) new SeaWorld Abu Dhabi park will be one of the world’s largest indoor theme parks. The development is part of Miral’s $12 billion investment since the company was established in 2011 to develop and manage a portfolio of major government assets in Abu Dhabi, including the Yas Island project.
Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of Miral, has expressed, “We are proud to have partnered with SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment on this incredible project, which brings more than 55 years of expertise in marine conservation and world-class marine animal care to Yas Island.”
Mubarak views the value of the SeaWorld project as integral to the Yas Island development: “It will help further position the island as a top global destination and contribute to the growth of Abu Dhabi’s tourism vision.”