TripAdvisor Names SeaWorld San Diego No. 17 in List of Nation's Top Amusement Parks as Blackfish Fallout Continues to Spread in San Diego

July 23, 2014

The world’s largest travel site recently released the winners in its Travelers’ Choice awards for amusement parks and waterparks, and out of millions of consumer reviews, SeaWorld San Diego was ranked No. 17 in the U.S. in the TripAdvisor rankings. At about the same time as the TripAdvisor awards were published, PETA continued its anti-SeaWorld campaign with a $24,000 poster at Lindbergh Field to be seen by thousands - a 20-foot graphic of a captive orca with a man (supposed to be SeaWorld’s CEO) in his mouth. The display is allegedly aimed at Comic-Con attendees, hoping the ad will convince convention-goers to avoid SeaWorld in protest of marine-mammal confinement.

Since the Seaworld-scathing documentary Blackfish was released last year, SeaWorld has been inundated with backlash, including many protests at each location, another negative Lindbergh ad featuring actress and San Diego native Kathy Najimy telling visitors to avoid the park, an anti-Seaworld video featuring actor Jason Biggs, push for a bill in California to effectually outlaw capturing and confining orcas, and even vandals defacing a sign off of the I-5 to change Sea World Drive to Sea World Sucks.

In response to the most recent PETA poster, SeaWorld said in a statement:

"Even by PETA’s standards, this ad is as offensive as it is tasteless. PETA isn’t concerned with actually helping animals. They are a radical organization that continues to spend its money on publicity stunts like the profane Jason Biggs video and advertising campaigns like this for the sole purpose of promoting their agenda. The truth is that our killer whales are healthy and happy, and thrive in our care. The real animal welfare organization is SeaWorld, not PETA, and our trainers, aviculturists, animal-care staff and veterinarians are the true advocates for animals. We encourage people to get the facts on our commitment to the animals in our care at and"

SeaWorld San Diego opened on March 21, 1964,  and is currently commemorating its 50th Celebration.  SeaWorld is one of the leading tourist attractions in San Diego, with more than 155 million visitors over the last five decades. Despite the Blackfish-spawned protests, SeaWorld is reportedly doing better than ever.

In addition to SeaWorld San Diego, five other SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment properties ranked in the top 25 amusement parks list, including Orlando’s Discovery Cove at No. 1 (also ranked No. 1 in the world); SeaWorld Orlando, No. 7; Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, No. 10; Busch Gardens Williamsburg, No. 13; and SeaWorld San Antonio, No. 21. In the waterpark category, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment also ranked high - Aquatica Orlando was No. 3 (also No. 9 in the world); Water Country USA,  No. 5; and Adventure Island, No. 13.

Travelers' Choice awards honor top travel spots worldwide based on the millions of valuable reviews and opinions from TripAdvisor travelers. Award winners were reportedly determined using an algorithm that took into account the quantity and quality of reviews for amusement parks and waterparks worldwide, gathered over a 12-month period. The complete list can be found at