In a precedent-setting move, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment has announced that plastic bags will no longer be an option at their 10 theme parks. The company is the largest theme park operator to make this commitment.
Within the next year, SeaWorld Parks will eliminate plastic shopping bags and only offer paper bags, made from 100 percent recycled paper, for gift shop purchases. Guests can also choose to purchase reusable bags, which make great souvenirs that can be used and enjoyed every day.
This move will keep an estimated four million plastic bags from entering landfills and the environment each year. Approximately 1.4 billion tons of trash, including plastic bags, enters the ocean annually. Wildlife such as endangered sea turtles often mistake plastic bags for jellyfish, one of their favorite foods. For many years, SeaWorld has not allowed straws and lids for use with drink containers because of the hazards to their animals.
Jim Atchison, President and Chief Executive Officer of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment,
“This is a significant change for our company, one we hope will provide a model for our industry overall. Eliminating plastic bags is an important statement about our commitment to the environment, as well as the need to help protect marine animals from debris. It also allows our guests to play a direct part in making a difference on our planet.”
SeaWorld Parks began exploring the concept at SeaWorld San Diego in 2011 when the park discontinued the use of plastic gift bags to mark the opening of its new Turtle Reef attraction. SeaWorld Orlando is eliminating the bags this month in conjunction with the opening of its new attraction, Turtle Trek.
Opening on April 27, Turtle Trek combines the naturalistic habitats of sea turtles and manatees with the world’s first 3D, 360-degree dome theater film. The film is an immersive look into a sea turtle’s extraordinary journey.
View a video of Jack Hannah at SeaWorld Orlando’s new Turtle Trek on Fox News.
Also adding to the ways park guests can consume responsibly, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment and the Coca-Cola Company have introduced paper cups for guests. Guests use more than 13 million paper cups each year throughout the 10 parks. Made with 85 percent renewable resources, this endeavor is part of a new 10-year partnership.
SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment operates 10 parks across the United States, including the newly formed SeaWorld Pictures division. Locations include SeaWorld in Orlando, San Antonio and San Diego, Busch Gardens Tampa and Williamsburg, the waterparks Adventure Island Tampa and Water Country USA Williamsburg, Sesame Place in Philadelphia, PA, and Discovery Cove and Aquatica in Orlando, FL.
With a strong commitment to its “animal ambassadors,” SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment created the SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Conservation Fund to protect wildlife, support habitat conservation and provide research, education and animal rescue programs. The company cares for more than 60,000 animals, including 200 endangered or threatened species, and has rescued more than 18,000 orphaned, injured or ill animals over four decades. To learn more about this private, non-profit foundation, please visit www.SWBG-ConservationFund.org.
View a slideshow of SeaWorld Orlando’s lineup of showy sea creatures.
Located just 55 miles from Richmond in the historic triangle of Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown, Busch Gardens Williamsburg offers more than 200 beautifully landscaped acres of thrilling coasters, family fun rides, KIDsiderate attractions, and animal encounters, including the Highland Stables, Jack Hanna’s Nature Reserve, Eagle Ridge and Wolf Valley.
While there are no sea turtles and other ocean creatures at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, there are some pretty cool Clydesdales. The park is also consistently named Most Beautiful Amusement Park by the National Amusement Park Historical Association’s ‘Amusement Park and Attractions Survey.’
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