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Welcome to the most in depth history of Seaworld you'll find anywhere.  This is a summery of what I've found in my 5 years of work, looking into the history of the Gold Coast.  Seaworld has one of the most rich historys of any theme park I can find, with it origans back in 1958, in the form of the Surfers Paradise Ski Gardens.

In 1971, the show out grew its home on the banks of the Nerang river, and was moved to its current site, and opened on March, 1971, as 'Ski Land Australia'.  After a disasterious first year, the direction was changed completly, and by October of that year, Seaworld was born. 

It was origanally in direct competition with Marine Land, which was on the site of the Sheraton Mirage, but by 1973, Seaworld had finally defeated Marine Land, and moved its animal stock to Seaworld. 

Now that the compition was none, money became avaliable to expand, and with that came Seaworld's railway, a 2/3 scale train, customs house, dockside tavern, Ice Cream Parlor, and Dolphin and Sealion Stadium.

Seaworld's attendences began to sag in the late 1970's, and so Seaworld embarked on its most succesful mission to date; to build a new attraction to attract the family's to the park.  The Viking's Revenge Flume ride was the result, and was 100% designed by Seaworld for $300,000.  One US company quoted 1.5million for the ride.

In 1981, Seaworld's first real competitor was opened.  'Dreamworld' opened with a paddle boat ride, log ride, Imax cinema, and vintage car rides.  Seaworld responded by building the 'Wild Wave' rollercoaster, and Pirate Ship.

When in 1982, Dreamworld opened the 'Thunderbolt', Seaworld responded by building the Corkscrew, which was billed as a ride with "unparalleled rider comfort".

In 1984, Seaworld was bought by Pivot Lesiure, who continued devoloping the park, and in 1986, was listed on the Australian stock exchange.  The money created allowed Seaworld to expand faster then ever, adding the monorail (Australia's first, and the most expensive theme park attraction in Australia), Lassiters Lost Mine, and the water park in little over 3 years.  In 1987, Seaworld opens the Research and Rescue Fondation.

1988 saw the opening of the Seaworld Nara resort, which was a joint venture between the Seaworld Property Trust, and the Nara group of hotels in Japan.  Expo '88 also helps Seaworld tap the Japanese market.

In 1991, Seaworld, Village Roadshow, and Warner Bros. studios opened 'Warner Bros. Movie World.  In 1992, Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow bought out Pivot Lesiure. 

In 1994, Seaworld closed the Lassiters Lost Mine Ride, and replaced it with the Bermuda Triangle.  The ride has since been cloned twice, one copy going to Movie World Germany.  1995 saw Seaworld break its own attendence record, helped by the Bermuda Triangle. 

Seaworld added Dolphin Cove in 1996, and with that, The dolphin and Sea-lion celebration, was replaced with two seprate shows - The Dolphin Cove Show and with 'Quest for the Golden Seal.

Another show was replaced in 1998, it was the 3D movie 'Sea Dream', replaced by the Pirates 3D Adventure, and the year after Cartoon Network Cartoon Beach was constructed.

The biggest attraction to date has been the attraction released in 2000, and they are the Polar Bears, Ping Ping and Kanook.  The bears from Bejing Zoo and Reid Plans Zoo repectively, are now Seaworld's residents.  Seaworld hopes the pair will breed to help the gene pool by mixing Asian Captive Polar Bears with the Polar Bears in the US.

In 2001, Seaworld announced that the popular Shark Encounter would be closed, and replaced with the new Reef Discovery.  The Reef Discovery show has now been open since June. 

Seaworld has come along way since 1958, when it was nothing but a ski show, and the park is still, always adding new ground breaking attractions, and Keith Williams plan to turn the park into Australia's greatest Marine Theme Park have without any doubt been fulfiled. 
Surfers Paradise Ski Gardens 1958-1971
Ski Land
March 1971- October 1971
Dreamworld opens, Seaworld fights back with the 'Corkscrew' 1981-1982
Seaworld takes Marine Land
Seaworld opens second ride 1979
Seaworld is born
Movieworld becomes Warner Village's second park on the Gold Coast.  66% of Seaworld bought by Village Warner 1991-1992
Seaworld Property trust was born, capital becomes avalible for major expansion. 1984
Seaworld continues to grow
Bermuda Triangle breaks drought in Seaworld attractions.  1994
Dolphin Cove and Quest for the Golden Seal replaces the dolphin and sea lion Celebration.  1997
Pirates 3D adventure comes to Sea World 1998
Cartoon Network Cartoon Beach opens 1999
Ping Ping and Kanook becomes Australia's only Polar Bears 2000
The Greatest attractions that never were
War of the Worlds -
Seaworld V Dreamworld
Seaworld Australia Resource home                                 Seaworld's Official Site
The Polar Bears have landed - Click here to visit Polar Bear Resource
E-mail me for corrections or to see a new section added.
The World's only unofficial guide to Seaworld, Gold Coast, Australia
From swamps to Seaworld -
Now and then.
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