A marine mammal park (also known as marine animal park and sometimes oceanarium) is a commercial theme park or aquarium where marine mammals such as dolphins, beluga whales and sea lions are kept within water tanks and displayed to the public in special shows. A marine mammal park is more elaborate than a dolphinarium, because it also features other marine mammals and offers additional entertainment attractions. It is thus seen as a combination of a public aquarium and an amusement park. Marine mammal parks are different from marine parks, which include natural reserves and marine wildlife sanctuaries such as coral reefs, particularly in Australia.
The second marine mammal park, then called an oceanarium, was established in St. Augustine, Florida in 1938. It was initially a large water tank used to exhibit marine mammals for filming underwater movies, and only became later a public attraction. Today Marineland of Florida claims to be "the world's first oceanarium".
In November 1961, Marineland of the Pacific on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, near Los Angeles in California was the first park to display an orca in captivity, although the orca died after two days. The Vancouver Aquarium was responsible for the second orca ever held alive in captivity, Moby Doll, for 3 months in 1964.
Between the 1970s and the 1990s, technical advances and the public's increasing interest in aquatic environments prompted a shift to large marine mammal parks with cetaceans (mostly orcas and other species of dolphin) as attractions. Within this time
List of parks
|Ocean Park Hong Kong||Wong Chuk Hang (Hong Kong)|
|Dolphin Marine Conservation Park||Coffs Harbour (Australia)|
|Sea World||Gold Coast, Queensland (Australia)|
|Sea Life Sunshine Coast|
|Dolfinarium Harderwijk||Harderwijk (Netherlands)|
|Mediterraneo Marine Park||Malta|
|Loro Parque||Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife (Spain)|
|Onmega Dolphintherapy Center|
|Delphinus Dreams Cancún|
Cancun, Q.Roo (Mexico)
|Delphinus Riviera Maya||Riviera Maya, Q.Roo (Mexico)|
|Delphinus Xcaret||Riviera Maya, Q.Roo (Mexico)|
|Delphinus Xel-Ha||Riviera Maya, Q.Roo (Mexico)|
|Delphinus Costa Maya||Costa Maya, Q.Roo (Mexico)|
|Dolphin Discovery||Isla Mujeres, Q. Roo (Mexico)|
|Dolphin Discovery||Cozumel, Q. Roo (Mexico)|
|Dolphin Discovery||Riviera Maya, Q. Roo (Mexico)|
|Dolphin Research Center|
San Diego, California(United States)
|SeaWorld||Orlando, Florida (United States)|
San Antonio, Texas(United States)
|Sea Life Park Hawaii|
|Sea Life Park Vallarta||Nuevo Vallarta, Nayarit (Mexico)|
|Marineland of Florida||St. Augustine, Florida (United States)|
|Marineland of Canada||Niagara Falls, Ontario (Canada)|
|Six Flags Discovery Kingdom||Vallejo, California (USA)|
|Theater of the Sea|
|Mundo Marino||San Clemente del Tuyu (Argentina)|
Criticism and animal welfare
| ||Nationwide ban on dolphinariums/marine mammal captivity|| ||De facto nationwide ban on dolphinariums/marine mammal captivity due to strict regulations|
| ||Some subnational bans on dolphinariums/marine mammal captivity|| ||Dolphinariums/marine mammal captivity are currently being phased out ahead of a nationwide ban|
| ||Dolphinariums/marine mammal captivity legal|| ||No data|
Although sizable pools for whales and dolphins require an extraordinarily technical and financial expenditure and are usually nearly impossible to provide and maintain, many marine mammal parks endeavour to improve the conditions of captivity and attempt to engage in public education as well as scientific studies. For that purpose many marine mammal parks joined together in the "Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums", an international association dedicated to high standard of care of marine mammals. It was founded in 1987 and established offices near
In 2010, the practice of keeping animals in captivity as trained show performers was heavily criticized when a trainer was killed by an
- Lou Jacobs, Wonders of an oceanarium: The story of marine life in captivity. Golden Gate Junior Books, 1965.
- Joanne F. Oppenheim, Oceanarium. Bantam Books, 1994. ISBN 0-553-09520-X
- Reed M. Swim with Dolphins Guide: A Guide to Wild Dolphin Swims, Dolphin Swim Resorts and Dolphin Assisted Therapy 2012.
- "Eye to Eye with Orky and Corky". Marinelandofthepacific.org. Archived from the original on 2014-04-07. Retrieved 2014-04-29.
- The Capture of Orcas. Archived October 13, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
- "The Case Against MARINE MAMMALS IN CAPTIVITY" (PDF).
- Talk of the Nation (2010-03-01). "Limited Understanding Of Animals In Theme Parks". NPR. Retrieved 2014-04-29.
- "California bans captive breeding of SeaWorld killer whales". The Guardian. 9 October 2015. Retrieved 19 February 2016.